Development Applications are assessed against the provisions contained in Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.
A very simplified version of the assessment process is that upon receipt of an application an initial review is made to ensure that all the required information is included before being allocated to an assessment officer.
The proposal is then advertised and/or notified in accordance with Council policy. During this time anyone can make comment or object to the proposal. At the same time the proposal undergoes a more in depth review where comments from experts internal and external to Council are sought.
When the comments are received a detailed assessment is able to be undertaken. In assessing an application for development Council takes into consideration such matters as:
The provisions of the relevant planning legislation, instruments and codes;
The likely impacts of the development;
The suitability of the site;
The public interest.
When the assessment is complete, a determination (either by way of approval or refusal) is issued.
However in reality, assessment and determination of development proposals is far more complex and when making or objecting to a proposal it must be understood that the only relevant matters for Council consideration are those contained within Section 4.15 of the Act. It is unlawful for Council to give weight to irrelevant matters or fail to consider relevant matters.
Assessments are undertaken by professional staff taking account of planning principles and other judgments made by the NSW Land and Environment Court and assessed in accordance with legislation but assessment can only be made on the information provided.
Numeric and prescriptive development standards and controls are provided as an indicator of general acceptability; however, this does not mean that development will be approved “as a right”.
Consideration will be given to whether the objectives of the controls will be met if approval is given and approval may be granted where compliance with numeric standards is not achieved.
All development applications are assessed in accordance with the relevant considerations, and are ultimately balanced against the public interest in determining whether or not to grant consent.