Development Decision Process
When you lodge an application for Development Planning Consent a Planning Officer will assess it against the Development Act and Mitcham's Development Plan to determine the category of development. These categories will be Schedule 1A - Building Only, Complying, Consent, and Non-complying Development.
Schedule 1A - Building Only Development
Proposals that fit the criteria of Schedule 1A of Development Regulations do not require planning approval. They automatically qualify for building assessment.
Schedule 4 - Residential Code Complying
Proposals that fit the criteria of Schedule 4 automatically receive Planning Consent.
In some cases Development applications can be 'complying' under the Development Plan. Although in these cases Planning Consent is automatic you will still need to lodge an application with Council and generally you will need Building Rules Consent.
The Development Plan lists what types of development are allowed in each planning zone and what types of development are not allowed. If your proposal is not included on either list it means that the type of development is subject to the 'consent' of Council. Sometimes neighbours will need to be notified (Category 2), or in the case of more complex developments, the application will be advertised in a local newspaper (Category 3).
If an application is received for a type of development which the Development Plan lists as inappropriate in a planning zone, the proposal is categorised as 'non-complying' for that zone. The applicant must show good reason why the application should go ahead and even if the Development Assessment Panel approves the proposal, the State Government must give its concurrence.
Who makes the decision and when?
Either Council or the Development Assessment Commission is the relevant authority responsible for assessing your application and issuing an approval.
Schedule 1A Building Only applications can be assessed by Private Certifiers for Building Rules Approval and then lodged with Council for Development Approval.
In the case of Crown development, the Minister or, when an Environmental Impact Statement or a major project is declared under the Act, the Governor are also 'authorities' but their involvement is the exception rather than the rule. Mostly it is Council that is responsible for making decisions.
There are set time limits specified in the legislation depending on the nature of the development. Within these time limits decisions must be made. Applications for routine developments that require an assessment can generally be dealt with quickly - within 8 weeks of lodgement, and within 2 weeks for complying developments. Where an application has to be referred to a government agency, the time limit is extended to 14 weeks; for land division proposals, 12 weeks. Where possible, the City of Mitcham will assess applications in less time than allowed, depending largely on the complexity of the proposal and the issues it may raise.
If the relevant authority does not make a decision within the prescribed time lines, you can apply for an order from the Environment, Resources and Development Court requiring a decision to be made, as set out in the Development Act.
How will a decision be made?
Council decides whether proposals are suitable in terms of the Development Plan. The assessment of any application must be made on the basis of the planning policies contained in the plan. The assessment process is guided by the content and substance of the planning policies.
However, a Development Plan Consent cannot be granted if the authority believes that the proposal is 'seriously at variance' with the plan's policies.
Development Division Administrative Processing and Approval
The Planning and Development Department, in particular the Planning Development Officer, is responsible for ensuring a prompt decision on Development Applications, and is available to assist and advise with the following:
an assessment of preliminary proposals and explanation of the approval process to avoid later problems;
whether the Council will notify your neighbours and ask for their comments about your application (for developments which may have an impact on others);
the best way to shape your application for a positive outcome.
Delegated approval by officers can occur upon satisfactorily meeting policy criteria and not receiving any objections as a result of public notification.
Development Assessment Panel (DAP) Approval
Applications will be referred to the Development Assessment Panel for a decision if policy criteria are not satisfied and/or objections have been received.
How Are Elected Members Involved In Decisions?
If policy is not met, or objection(s) are received, then the Development Assessment Panel decides the application. The Development Assessment Panel is the ultimate decision maker with the power of discretion, and accordingly you should take the opportunity to make a personal presentation of your arguments at the Development Assessment Panel meeting.
Development Assessment Panel
The City of Mitcham's Development Assessment Panel:
- comprises of three Elected Members and four Independent Members who sit as the Panel;
- is a public forum and has the role of hearing representations from the community, assessing and determining development applications;
- meets at 6.30 pm on the 1st Thursday of each month.
Hearing of Submissions By The Panel
- those items/reports for which there are members of the public wishing to speak will be dealt with and heard by the Panel in the order of the agenda;
- objectors will be heard first with the applicant (or their representative) heard last;
- each person has three (3) minutes to make their presentation to the Panel;
- at the conclusion of a presentation questions may be asked by the Panel members; the presenter is then asked to rejoin the Public Gallery;
- after all the presentations for the particular item are heard, the Panel will debate that item to enable those in the Public Gallery to know what the decision is.
Regarding the Building Rules assessment, the requirements of the Building Code and/or SA Housing Code must be met.
What if I don't like the decision?
Sometimes applicants don't agree with the decision, such as if the proposal was refused outright or conditions attached to a consent are unacceptable to the applicant. If the type of development has been assessed as Category 2, only the applicant has a right of appeal against the DAP determination. If the application is Category 3, objectors can also appeal. If you don't agree with the decision or conditions you can lodge an appeal with the Environment.Resources and Development Court. You only have 2 months to do this - it is not openended.
Please note: no appeal rights are available for decisions made on non-complying developments.