Development and construction FAQs

Building a new house or renovating your property is always exciting. However, the Development Application process can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve collated answers to these frequently asked questions, so the pathway to building your home can be faster and easier.

What can I do with a property?  

A good place to start is with the e-Planning Spatial Viewer.

Search the property you are interested in and gain an understanding of what zoning and planning controls apply to the land. The Spatial Viewer includes links to relevant planning controls and outlines some of the constraints that apply (bushfire, flooding etc.) 

Types of development

Exempt development
Some development can be undertaken without approval. This is called ‘exempt development’. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (SEPP) outlines what development types are ‘exempt’ and what development types ‘complying development’.

Complying development
Complying development requires an approval from Council or a Private Certifier. Check whether the SEPP applies to your property via the Spatial Viewer and then determine whether your development proposal meets the exempt or complying criteria under the SEPP.

Development applications
If your development is not exempt or complying, check the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 to determine whether the development is permissible with consent and requires a Development Application.

Council has a Development Control Plan that outlines various controls that need to be considered when lodging a development application.

When preparing a development application it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements vary from site to site. Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

We provide advice on submitting an application. If you need further information, contact us on 6581 8111

Can I subdivide?

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what minimum lot size applies to the land. Each lot needs to meet the minimum lot size and satisfy the relevant standards in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP) and the Port Macquarie-Hastings Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP).  

When preparing a development application for subdivision it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site. Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Please note that development contributions apply to applications involving subdivision. 

What is the zoning of the property?

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what zone applies to your land. The Spatial View includes a link to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011, which includes information on each zone and various planning controls.

Other Environmental Planning Instruments may also be relevant to your planning. Environmental Planning Instruments is the collective name for Local Environmental Plans (LEPs), State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), and Regional Environmental Plans (REPs). The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation are also included in this classification.

What are the planning controls? (min lot size, height, setbacks, car parking etc)

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what planning controls apply. The Spatial View includes a link to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 and the Port Macquarie-Hastings Development Control plan 2013 which outline the various planning controls applying to the land and to the specific development type. 

Other Environmental Planning Instruments may also be relevant to your planning. Environmental Planning Instruments is the collective name for Local Environmental Plans (LEPs), State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), and Regional Environmental Plans (REPs). The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation are also included in this classification.

Can I build a granny flat?  

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what zone applies to your land.

The Spatial Viewer includes a link to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP), which outlines whether secondary dwellings (granny flats) are permissible in the zone. The Port Macquarie-Hastings Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP) includes specific controls applying to secondary dwellings.

Other Environmental Planning Instruments may also be relevant to your planning. Environmental Planning Instruments is the collective name for Local Environmental Plans (LEPs), State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), and Regional Environmental Plans (REPs). The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation are also included in this classification.

When preparing a development application for a secondary dwelling it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site.

Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Some secondary dwellings (granny flats) can be undertaken as ‘complying development’, which can be approved by Council or a Private Certifier under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

Can I put a tiny house on my block?

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what zone applies to your land.

The Spatial Viewer includes a link to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP), which outlines whether secondary dwellings (granny flats or tiny house) are permissible in the zone. 

The Port Macquarie-Hastings Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP) includes specific controls applying to secondary dwellings.  

When preparing a development application for a secondary dwelling it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site. Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Some secondary dwellings can be undertaken as ‘complying development’, which can be approved by Council or a Private Certifier under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008

Please note that development contributions may apply to secondary dwellings. Learn more about gaining approvals for tiny homes.

Can I build a dual occupancy?

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what zone applies to your land.

The Spatial Viewer includes a link to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP), which outlines whether a dual occupancy are permissible in the zone. 

The Port Macquarie-Hastings Development Control Plan 2013 (DCP) includes specific controls applying to secondary dwellings. 

When preparing a development application for a dual occupancy it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site. Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Please note that development contributions apply to applications involving dual occupancy. 

Can I build a manager's residence on rural land?

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what zone applies to your land.

The Spatial Viewer includes a link to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP), which outlines whether a managers residence are permissible in the zone. 

A rural workers dwelling is defined under the LEP as: 

rural worker’s dwelling means a building or place that is additional to a dwelling house on the same lot and that is used predominantly as a place of residence by persons employed, whether on a long-term or short-term basis, for the purpose of agriculture or a rural industry on that land

A key aspect of any application for a rural worker’s dwelling would need to demonstrate the scenario complies with the definition. 

When preparing a development application for a rural workers dwelling it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site. Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Please note that developer contributions apply to rural worker’s dwellings.

Can I build a house on a rural property? (incl. dwelling entitlement)

Check the ePlanning Spatial Viewer to see what minimum lot size applies to the land.

Generally speaking, the lot needs to meet the minimum lot size and satisfy the relevant standards in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP). In some instances lots that do not meet the minimum lot size may have a ‘dwelling entitlement’. It is necessary to check the LEP, in particular Clause 4.2A, to determine whether a dwelling entitlement exists on an undersized lot.

Other Environmental Planning Instruments may also be relevant to your planning. Environmental Planning Instruments is the collective name for Local Environmental Plans (LEPs), State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), and Regional Environmental Plans (REPs). The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation are also included in this classification.

When preparing a development application for a rural dwelling it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site. Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Please note that developer contributions may apply to applications for rural dwellings.

How can I find out about approval for structures on the property?

The best place to start is by searching for the application on Application Tracker.

Search the property you are interested in to find out what recent approvals have been issued on the property. The development consent, supporting documentation and plans are all available to view. 

Some older development and structures are not available on Council’s Tracker. In these instances it would be necessary to submit a request for information. 

Can I get a copy of the plans for the house?

The best place to start is by searching for the application on Application Tracker.

Search the property you are interested in to find out what recent approvals have been issued on the property. The development consent, supporting documentation and plans are all available to view. 

Some older development and structures are not available on Council’s Tracker. In these instances it would be necessary to submit a request for information

What if the there are no records, or the structures are not approved?

It is necessary to apply for a Building information Certificate in these circumstances. Learn more about the process of submitting an application.

How can I find out about development in my area?

The best place to find out information on applications that have been approved is through Application Tracker.

Search the property you are interested in to find out what recent approvals have been issued on the property. The development consent, supporting documentation and plans are all available on the Tracker. 

Council provides a list view of recent development activity. Development notifications are published every Wednesday, and display the last 5 weeks of activity.

 

 

 

 

How can I find out about easements and restrictions on the property title?

Obtain the Deposited Plan for the property to find out what easements and restrictions apply.

How can I find out about underground services?

Council has an interactive mapping tool to identify water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure.

For information on the location of electricity and telecommunication services it is necessary to seek information directly from those responsible authorities. 

How can I find out about flooding?

The Port Macquarie-Hastings Flood Policy details floodplain management measures that are used to govern planning decisions in flood-prone areas.

We have six identified floodplain areas in our region:

  • Hastings River
  • Camden Haven
  • Lake Cathie
  • Wrights Creek
  • Hibbard Precinct
  • North Brother local catchment

We provide information on floodplain management and flood maps for floodplain areas.

 

I want to set up a home business, what approvals do I need?

A good place to start is the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s fact sheet

Home enterprises that do not meet the criteria for exempt and complying development would need to obtain development consent via a development application

For specific requirements pertaining to home enterprises, check Clause 5.4 of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Local Environmental Plan 2011.

When preparing a development application for a home enterprise it is recommended that you seek advice from industry professionals who are experienced in application requirements as there are often many factors that need to be taken into account and requirements can vary from site to site.

Industry professionals to consult may include building designers, architects, town planners, land surveyors, engineers, bushfire consultants, ecologists, flood consultants etc.

Please note that developer contributions may apply to applications for some home enterprises.

Do I need to register my hairdressing business?

How do I register my Short Term Rental Accomm?

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment manage registrations of Short Term Rental Accomodations (STRA). For information about the registration process or to apply, visit the Planning Portal.

 

Where can I find out more information about a property? 

A good place to start is with the e-Planning Spatial Viewer.

Search the property you are interested in and gain an understanding of what zoning and planning controls apply to the land. The Spatial Viewer includes links to relevant planning controls and outlines some of the constraints that apply (bushfire, flooding etc.) 

Can I use Council land, like a park, to run my business?

Operating a business on council-managed land, such as a beach, park or reserve requires a licence, view more information about the application process. These can be granted for 3, 6 and 12 months. Fees and regulations apply.

Our Commercial Activities on Council Managed Land Policy outlines the criteria for undertaking business in a public space. Approval of your application will be based on how your business meets these criteria.

The Parks and Reserves Use Policy also gives direction to the community about permissible activities within council controlled parks and reserves.

What are the rules around fencing?

Some fencing can be constructed without approval under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes 2008 (SEPP).

Fencing that doesn’t meet the criteria of the SEPP will need approval from Council via a Development Application. Council’s Development Control Plan includes specific rules for fencing that need to be addressed in your development application.

The NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal provide information neighbourly disputes regarding a dividing fence.