Types of development and applications

Local development

Local Development is the most common type of development in Lake Macquarie. A development is considered to be local development if:

  • Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014 or a State Environmental Planning Policy states that development consent is required before the development can occur
  • it is not considered to be either a regionally or state-signficant development

If the development if not exempt or complying, then development consent will be required. To obtain development consent, you will need to lodge a Development Application (DA). If construction works are proposed as part of the development, you can apply for a Construction Certificate at the same time as your DA or once the DA has been approved.

Lodge a DA

Complying development

Certain residential, commercial and industrial development may be constructed as complying development, as long as all relevant development standards are met and the development complies with the Building Code of Australia. 

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) identifies the types of development that are classified as complying development.

For your development to be considered to be complying development, your land must not have the characteristics described in Clause 1.17A, Clause 1.18 and Clause 1.19 of the Codes SEPP. Council can issue a Planning Certificate - Section 10.7(2) and (5) to show whether complying development under the Codes SEPP can be carried out on a particularly piece of land.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the proposed development meets all the complying development requirements. Council and accredited private certifiers cannot issue a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) if the development does not strictly meet these requirements. Our Duty Building Officer can assist you with any questions you may have regarding the CDC process. Alternatively, you can visit the NSW Planning Portal for further information on complying development.

Apply for a CDC

Exempt development

Exempt development is minor work that has low environmental impact and can be carried out without approval, as long as it meets predetermined development standards.

Within Lake Macquarie City, exempt development is identified in:

Exempt development cannot be carried out in some circumstances. For example, if it is in an environmentally sensitive area, on bush fire prone land or within a heritage area. It is the landowner's responsibility to check all the provisions relating to exempt development and meet the specified development standards and land requirements.

The proposed development may still require an approval, licence, permit or authority under other legislation. Refer to the NSW Planning Portal for further information.

Other types of development

Integrated development

Some development proposals require approval from another public authority before development consent can be granted by Council. Integrated development proposals require development consent and one or more of the approvals listed in Section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Council must not approve the Development Application (DA) if the agency recommends refusal. If the advice is not received within a specific time period, Council can determine the DA.

Visit the NSW Planning Portal for further information on integrated development.

Nominated integrated development

Nominated integrated development is integrated development that requires an approval under separate legislation as referenced in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Nominated integrated development has additional implication due to the public exhibition process. Additional fees will apply for advertising the application, which may be up to 30 days.

Regionally significant development

Regionally-significant development is defined under Schedule 7 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011. It must be assessed and notified by Council, then determined by the relevant Joint Regional Planning Panel.

Designated development

Designated development are generally development that are likely to have a high impact or are located in or near environmentally sensitive areas. A development can be categorised as designated development by:

A development application for a designated development must:

  • be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
  • be publicly advertised for a specific period of time
  • can be the subject of an appeal to the Land and Environment Court by objectors

State significant development

Developments that are deemed to have state significance due to their size, economic value or potential impacts are identified in State Environment Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011.

State-significant developments are determined by either the Minister for Planning or the Independent Planning Commission. For further information on state-significant development, refer to the NSW Planning Portal.

 

Secondary dwellings

A secondary dwelling or granny flat is self-contained accommodation within, attached to, or separate from the principal dwelling. A secondary dwelling must be:

  • established in conjunction with a principal dwelling
  • on the same lot of land (not being a lot in a strata plan or community title scheme) as the principal dwelling
  • within, attached to, or separate from the principal dwelling
  • have a maximum floor area of 60m2 or 25 per cent of the principal dwelling (whichever is greater).

What is the approval process?

You need to obtain approval before building a secondary dwelling via a Complying Development Certificate Application or Development Application.

Complying Development Certificate

Secondary dwellings that meet the specific development standards set out in State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 can be certified as complying development by Council or an accredited private certifier. This approval pathway combines approval for the use of the land and the building construction and allows for the secondary dwelling to be approved within 20 days.

All Complying Development Certificate applications must be lodged via the NSW Planning Portal.

Development Application

If the secondary dwelling does not meet the requirements for complying development, a development application will need to be lodged with Council via the NSW Planning Portal.

Construction of the secondary dwelling cannot commence until a Construction Certificate has been issued. A combined Development Application and Construction Certificate Application can be lodged or the Construction Certificate can be obtained once the Development Application is approved.

Occupation Certificate

After approval is received and the secondary dwelling is constructed, an Occupation Certificate must be obtained before you can reside in the secondary dwelling. The Occupation Certificate certifies compliance with relevant building codes and legislation and indicates the building is in a condition suitable for occupancy.

What if my land is bushfire prone?

If the property is identified as bushfire prone land, a bushfire hazard assessment will be required to be submitted with your application.

What if my land is flood prone?

If the property is identified as flood prone land, the floor will need to meet the floor height planning level for the property.

Zoning

A secondary dwelling may be permissible with consent in the following zones under the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014:

  • R1 General Residential
  • R2 Low Density Residential
  • R3 Medium Density Residential

Dual occupancy

A dual occupancy is two dwellings on one lot of land that are either attached or detached, but this does not include a secondary dwelling.

What is the approval process?

You need to obtain approval before building a dual occupancy via a Complying Development Certificate Application or Development Application.

Complying Development Certificate

Dual occupancies that meet the relevant requirements of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Codes 2008 can be certified as complying development by Council or an accredited private certifier.  This approval pathway combines approval for the use of the land and the building construction and allows for the secondary dwelling to be approved within 20 days.

All Complying Development Certificate applications must be lodged via the NSW Planning Portal.

Development Application

If the dual occupancy does not meet the requirements for complying development, a development application will need to be lodged with Council via the NSW Planning Portal.

Construction of the dual occupancy cannot commence until a Construction Certificate has been issued. A combined Development Application and Construction Certificate can be lodged or the Construction Certificate can be obtained once the Development Application is approved.

Occupation Certificate

After approval is received and the dual occupancy is constructed, an Occupation Certificate must be obtained before you can reside in the dual occupancy. The Occupation Certificate certifies the building’s compliance with relevant building codes and other laws and indicates the building is in a condition suitable for occupancy.

What are the lot requirements?

The minimum lot size for dual occupancy development varies depending on the zone of the land, whether the site is within a specific precinct and the type of lot. Refer to clauses 4.1A and 4.2A of Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014 and Part 9.6 and the applicable Area Plans of Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan 2014. The physical characteristics of the property will also affect its suitability for a dual occupancy development.

Dual occupancies are not permitted on battle-axe lots.

 

Can I subdivide my dual occupancy?

Torrens Title subdivision of land is allowed within General Residential (R1) and Low Density Residential (R2) zones when it is for the erection of a dual occupancy, and the resulting lot size is at least 250m2.

If the application does not meet the above requirements, strata subdivision of the dwellings may be allowed.

Note: Subdivision of the land may not occur until the dual occupancy is constructed.

How do I design a dual occupancy?

It is recommended you engage a suitably qualified consultant.

Developments must be designed in accordance with the controls contained in Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan 2014 (DCP 2014).

You are advised to discuss your proposal with your neighbours and consider their concerns to avoid delay in the application process.

Zoning

Dual occupancies may be permissible with consent in the following zones under Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014:

Zone Dual occupancy (detached) Dual occupancy (attached)
RU2 - Rural landscape No Yes
RU4 - Primary production small lots No Yes
R1 - General residential Yes Yes
R2 - Low density residential Yes Yes
E2 - Environmental conservation No Yes
E3 - Environmental management No Yes
E4 - Environmental living No Yes

Subdivision

Subdivision of land creates new lots of land or changes the size of the existing lot or the location of the property boundaries. This process creates a new Title for each new lot that can then be registered with NSW Land Registry Services.

What are the different types of subdivision?

Torrens Title

Torrens Title subdivision involves the creation of new allotments from an existing allotment. This may be achieved by:

  • Boundary adjustments - realignment of a lot boundary
  • Site consolidations - amalgamation of two or more lots into one lot
  • The subdivision of an existing lot into two or more lots.

Community Title

Community Title subdivision involves the subdivision of land so that each resultant lot has a separate title but also shares a common piece of land such as a pool, BBQ area, driveway, garden, etc. The Community Plan associated with the subdivision may also outline a number of development guidelines for the subdivision design and construction.

Strata Title

Strata subdivision gives ownership to individual portions of a larger property and a share of common property such as gardens and driveways. Owners become members of the body corporate and may share responsibility for the whole property. Strata subdivision is most commonly used with dual occupancies, multiple dwelling development, apartment buildings and commercial and industrial buildings.

Stratum Subdivision

Stratum subdivision is the horizontal subdivision of sections of a building into separate titles. An example is the subdivision of a ground floor retail or commercial area from the above residential floors. 

What is the subdivision approval process?

Most subdivisions of land are carried out under Torrens Title subdivision. There are three steps in the subdivision process for Torrens title subdivisions:

  1. Development Application (DA) - An approval granted to subdivide land subject to certain conditions.
  2. Subdivision Works Certificate (SWC) - An approval for works required to complete the subdivision.
  3. Subdivision Certificate (SC) - An approval certifying the plan of subdivision has been completed in accordance with the relevant development consent or complying development certificate and authorising the registration of the plan of subdivision with NSW Land Registry Services.

You can lodge a Development Application and apply for a Subdivision Works Certificate and Subdivision Certificate via the NSW Planning Portal.

What are the minimum lot sizes for subdivsion?

The Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014 Minimum Lot Size Map identifies the minimum lot sizes that apply for the subdivision of land within Lake Macquarie.

The minimum lot size varies based on the zoning of the land and other factors but for Torrens Title subdivisions is generally as follows:

Zone Minimum resultant lot size
RU2 Rural Landscape 20 hectares
RU3 Forestry No minimum lot size
RU4 Primary Production Small Lots 1 hectare
RU6 Transition Zone 200 hectares
R1 General Residential (North Wallarah) 750m2 to 1250m(dependent on location, contact Council for further details)
R2 Low Density Residential Standard lot - 450m2 and 14m minimum width
Corner lot - 500m2 and 18m minimum width
Battle-axe - 600m2 and 18m minimum width, access handle requirements also apply
Irregular lot - 450m2 and 12m minimum width, with minimum rectangular building area of 250m2
Dual occupancy - 250m2
Small lot - between 300m2 and 450m2
R3 Medium Density Residential Standard lot - 900m2 and 25m minimum width
Corner lot - 1200m2 and 25m minimum width
Battle-axe - 1500m2 and 25m minimum width, access handle requirements also apply
Irregular lot - 1200m2 and 23m minimum width, with minimum rectangular building area of 900m2
Small lot - between 200m2 and 450m2
 
No minimum lot size
B1 Neighbourhood Centre
B2 Local Centre
B3 Commercial Core
B4 Mixed Use
B7 Business Park Standard, irregular or battle-axe lots - 1500m2 and 25m minimum width, access handle requirements also apply
IN1 General Industrial Standard, irregular or battle-axe lots - 4000m2 and 40m minimum width, access handle requirements also apply
IN2 Light Industrial Standard, irregular or battle-axe lots - 1500m2 and 25m minimum width, access handle requirements also apply
SP1 Special Activities No minimum lot size
SP2 Special Infrastructure
SP3 Tourist
RE1 Public Recreation No minimum lot size
RE2 Private Recreation
E1 National Park and Nature Reserve No minimum lot size
E2 Environmental Conservation Zone

40 hectares
* 100 hectares for land within South Wallarah Peninsula and east of the Pacific Highway

E3 Environmental Management 40 hectares
E4 Environmental Living 2 hectares

What else do I need to consider?

There are several important factors which must be considered when determining whether a site is suitable for subdivision. These are covered in Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan 2014 and include, but are not limited to:

  • Zoning and land use objectives
  • Physical constraints such as flooding, vegetation, watercourse, geotechnical issues, sea level rise, mine subsidence
  • Lot configuration
  • Access
  • Availability of public utilities, including water, sewer, electricity and roads
  • Restrictions on the use of land, such as easements
  • Heritage implications
  • Solar efficiency of proposed allotments
  • Development potential
  • Bushfire prone land.

 

Tiny houses

Tiny houses are growing in popularity in Australia as a more affordable and environmentally sustainable housing option.

There is no land use definition for a tiny house in Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014, however, they are generally considered to be a small dwelling house:

  • fixed to the land as a primary home, either a dwelling house or a manufactured home
  • fixed to the land as a secondary home, considered a secondary dwelling
  • fixed to a trailer with the capability of being registered under the Road Transport Act 2013, considered as a caravan

Tiny house as a primary home (dwelling house)

You need to obtain approval before building a tiny house as the primary home on your property via a Complying Development Certificate Application or Development Application.

Dwelling houses that meet the relevant requirements of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Codes 2008 can be certified as complying development by Council or an accredited private certifier. If the dwelling house does not meet the requirements for complying development, a development application will need to be lodged.

Both Complying Development Certificate Applications and Development Applications must be lodged via the NSW Planning Portal.

The dwelling house needs to meet the relevant requirements of Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014 and development controls for residential development contained in Lake Macquarie Development Control Plan 2014. These planning controls relate to the zoning of the land, site and building requirements, road access, and connections to power, water and sewer.

A Construction Certificate (if approved via a Development Application) and an Occupation Certificate are also required for the dwelling house.

Tiny house as a secondary home (secondary dwelling)

A tiny house that is fixed to the land as a secondary home is considered to be a secondary dwelling if it:

  • is established in conjunction with a principal dwelling;
  • on the same lot of land as the principal dwelling (and not on an individual lot in a strata plan or community title scheme);
  • within, attached to, or separate from the principal dwelling; and
  • has a maximum floor area (excluding any area used for parking) of 60m2 or 25% of the floor area of the principal dwelling (whichever is greater).

You need to obtain approval before building a secondary dwelling via a Complying Development Certificate or Development Application. For further information, refer to the secondary dwellings sections on this page.

Tiny house fixed to a trailer

If the tiny house is fixed to a trailer that is registered under the Road Transport Act 2013, in most cases no development approval is required to park it on your property, subject to certain exemptions under the Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds, Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2005. These exemptions allow you to:

  • have no more than 2 caravans, campervans or tents on a property if someone stays in them for a short term (up to 48 hours at a time) for no more than 60 days in a single 12 month period;
  • have no more than one caravan or campervan if there is an approved dwelling house on the property and the property owner’s household plans to live in it on a long term basis and it is maintained in a safe and healthy condition;
  • have no more than one caravan or campervan on pastoral or agricultural land if it is only occupied seasonally by people employed in pastoral or agricultural operations on the land;
  • have a moveable dwelling and associated structure on land for accommodating people who have been displaced because of a bush fire, but only if the moveable dwelling or associated structure is maintained in a healthy and safe condition and is removed within 2 years after it is installed.

A tiny house that does not meet any of the above exemptions will require a development application.

Demolition

Demolishing buildings and structures generally require some form of approval. The type of approval depends on the conditions and specific scenario associated with the property. We recommend you contact Council on 4921 0333 and request to speak with our Duty Building Officer prior to undertaking any demolition works.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the Codes SEPP) allows the demolition of certain types of buildings and structures as complying development, provided specific standards are met. In such cases, a Complying Development Certificate must be obtained prior to the demolition works.

Demolition that that does not meet the requirements of the Codes SEPP will require a development application to gain consent from Council. Demolition must not be carried out until this approval has been obtained.

If demolition requires the handling and removal of asbestos, this must be carried out by a licensed contractor and the asbestos must be disposed of at a licensed landfill site.

For further information, visit the NSW Planning Portal.