Assessment of Development Applications

The path that your application follows will not be immediately known, as it will depend on the extent that your application complies with the State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), Council's Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP) controls, the number of submissions received and the complexity of the proposal. You can track your applications progress via the Development Application Tracker.

The majority of applications are determined by our Development Assessment Department under staff delegation. More complex and/or contentious applications must be referred under legislation to the Waverley Local Planning Panel (WLPP) or the Sydney Planning Panel and can take a longer time to assess.

Once you lodge a Development Application, the process to determination is as follows:

  1. Documentation submitted through the NSW Planning Portal.
  2. Application checked for completeness by the Duty Planner (who may issue a ‘Request for Information’ if incomplete or return the application if there is insufficient information for assessment).
  3. Fees paid and lodgement accepted.
  4. Application reviewed by the relevant Area Manager and allocated to a Development Assessment Officer in the Development Assessment Department.
  5. The Development Assessment Officer reviews the application and may issue a ‘Request for Information’ if additional documentation is deemed necessary.
  6. Referrals are sent to various technical experts for review depending on what is relevant to the application. This may include commentary regarding trees, landscaping, public domain, heritage, traffic and carparking, stormwater, Design Excellence Advisory Panel, urban design, environmental health, fire safety, building compliance etc
  7. Community consultation occurs in accordance with the Community Engagement Strategy (CES).
  8. The Development Assessment Officer undertakes a preliminary assessment, which includes reviewing the documentation submitted with the application, submissions received from the community consultation process, technical expertise comments from referral agencies and the relevant controls and legislation applicable to the proposal.
  9. The application may be deferred for amendments to be sought from the applicant. This will depend on the proposal and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In circumstances where an application is deferred, the applicant is provided an opportunity to amend their proposal to address the issues raised by Council. The applicant is provided a set timeframe and upon lodgement of additional/amended information, re-notification may occur (see Community Engagement Strategy for re-notification triggers). Further assessment and review of the documentation occurs upon receipt of additional/amended information.
  10. The Development Assessment Officer prepares an assessment report and a recommendation for determination.
  11. The path to a decision will vary depending on the proposal.  Approximately 85% of DAs are determined under staff delegation.
  12. For more complex or contentious applications, the application may be referred to the Waverley Local Planning Panel (LPP) or the Sydney Planning Panel (SPP) for determination. In those instances, the staff will make a recommendation to the Panel who will review and make a final determination.

The above pathway is indicative of the Development Assessment process. Additional stages may be required where an applicant seeks to Review a Determination, amend an application or files an appeal in the Land and Environment Court.

Community Consultation

We notify owners and residents of properties in the vicinity of your proposal so they have an opportunity to provide comment. We also notify local Precinct Committees of all applications received within their area.

Generally, the time allowed for feedback is either 14 or 30 days (depending on the type of DA). Our customer service staff will be able to advise you of the length of the notification period. To view any comments made about your application you must make a request from Council's Customer Service Centre, via email at attentioned to Planning Counter.

Specific details of our policy on advertising and notification provisions are contained in the Waverley Community Engagement Strategy.

Any person can make a submission whilst an application is on notification and all submissions will be considered by the Development Assessment Officer as part of the assessment process for the application.

More information on the public submission process is outlined here.

The Development Assessment Officer

All applications are first allocated to a Development Assessment Officer who is a Council staff member (with expertise in town planning or a related discipline) within the Development Assessment Department.

DAs are allocated in chronological order and as a Development Assessment Officer becomes available to assess the application. This may occur before, during or after the notification period is over and is dependent on the workload of Development Assessment Officers and the number of applications that Council must assess.

The Development Assessment Officer undertakes a detailed assessment of the application in accordance with Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. This involves considering all relevant environmental planning instruments, development control plans, council policies, the likely impacts of the development, the suitability of the site for the proposed development and any submissions received during the public notification period.

Additional expert advice from internal Council departments may also be required where matters such as stormwater, tree removal, parking and traffic, noise, heritage etc. need to be considered.

Aside from reviewing the DA materials, the assessment process may include a site inspection and we may need to gain access to your property. You can help this process by providing a daytime telephone contact number in your application. The Development Assessment Officer may also need to undertake a view of your property from nearby properties to determine the impact of your proposal on these properties.

Please note that only the nominated Applicant (i.e. one person) can contact the Assessment Officer to enquire about the status of their submitted application. This is to ensure communications between Assessment Officer and Applicant are streamlined, consistent and certain. This also avoids unnecessary delays to the timing of assessments caused by enquiries made by multiple contacts on behalf of the Applicant. Please carefully choose the nominated contact for the Applicant on the Application Form and when asked by the NSW Planning Portal during the lodgement process.

The Determination

Once your application has been determined (ie. approval, deferred commencement or refusal), the applicant will be emailed and sent a link to download an electronic copy of the Notice of Determination and associated stamped plans/documents. All development consents (approvals) come with Conditions of Consent.

Councillors are no longer involved in the decision-making process of Development Applications, and this is uniform across Sydney.

A Development Application will be determined by one of the following:

  • The Development Assessment Officer via delegated authority

The Development Assessment Officer who has been allocated the application prepares a report and has the authority (delegation) to make a decision about the application. Delegation is restricted to applications where no submissions have been received and/or where applications do not depart (other than in a minor degree) from statutory provisions and Council controls.

  • The Manager, Development Assessment via delegated authority

Applications that receive a submission/s or seek to depart from statutory provisions, or Council controls may be referred to the relevant Area Manager in the Development Assessment Department for determination. In these instances, the Development Assessment Officer will prepare a report for review by the Area Manager, who has the authority (delegation) to make a decision about the application.

  • Council’s Managers of Development Assessment (MODA)

Council has an internal panel of Managers of Development Assessment (MODA) who review contentious and/or complex applications.

The MODA will also review matters to be referred to the Waverley Local Planning Panel or Sydney Planning Panel for determination.  As part of their review, a recommendation will be formed and presented in the assessment report presented to the Panel. The MODA also refers applications to the Waverley Local Planning Panel where there are significant public interest or policy issues.

  • Waverley Local Planning Panel (WLPP)

This is a panel of expert planning professionals, industry specialists and community representatives who have delegation to determine significant DAs in the Waverley area. The Panel generally meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Prior to the meeting, the Panel members will undertake an inspection of the sites to be considered at the meeting.

The agenda for the Waverley Local Planning Panel contains reports about a number of DAs. Each report contains an assessment, recommendation and accompanying plans or documentation about the Development Application to assist panellists to make a determination on a proposal.

Meeting agendas, including assessment reports, can be viewed on the Council website from the Wednesday afternoon prior to the meeting. Those that lodged a submission to an application that is referred to the Waverley Local Planning Panel for determination will be invited to attend the meeting and may request to register to address the Panel. Invitations are generally sent out 5 days before the meeting.

For more information, please visit the Waverley Local Planning Panel page.

  • Sydney Planning Panel (Sydney Eastern City)

Sydney Planning Panels (SPPs) were established on 21 November 2016, to determine ‘regionally significant’ development applications (DAs), generally development with a capital investment value (CIV) over $30 million and significant Council DAs within the Greater Sydney Region, other than City of Sydney.

Councils determine, in accordance with the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 if an application needs to be determined by a Sydney or Regional Planning Panel. For more information, visit the Sydney and Regional Planning Panel website. 

Although they do not have determination authority, other experts may be called upon during an assessment process including:

  • Waverley Design Excellence Advisory Panel

When requested by Council, the Waverley Design Excellence Advisory Panel undertakes reviews of Development Applications and Pre- DAs and provides advice to Council staff regarding the design quality and excellence of a proposal. Additional fees apply to those applications which require review by this Panel. Please refer to the Design Excellence Advisory Panel page.

Post Determination Applications

Approved applications are always subject to conditions of consent. Click to read more about what you can expect to be included in conditions of consent, what to do next and how to apply to modify your conditions of consent (where amendments are sought).

Application Appeals or Reviews

You can appeal against Council’s decision in two ways:

You can read more about post determination applications and associated reviews here.

Duty Planner

Council has a Duty Planner available for general enquiries relating to the planning process, policies and lodgement requirements. The Duty Officer is not able to provide detailed planning advice or high level planning information.

Make an appointment to speak to a duty planner