To establish if your proposal requires approval you will need to determine the type of development that you propose. Some development requires an application to Council while other development may be undertaken without any planning approval. This part of Council's website provides information on how to establish your type of development, your zone and any relevant approval requirements.
The following steps will help establish what approvals may be required:
- Determine the zone that applies to the development site under the Mid-Western Regional Local Environmental 2012.
- Establish the type of development you propose and check whether your type of proposed development is permitted with or without consent, or if prohibited in your zone.
- Check if there are any other site attributes such as Bushfire or Heritage that may trigger other approval requirements.
- Confirm that the site is suitable for the proposed development.
- Check how Council's adopted guidelines, plans, codes and policies affect the proposed development.
Sometimes it is not clear whether something requires a Development Application as it often depends on the size and location of the works. If you are unsure it is advisable to check with Council before proceeding.
Council holds pre-lodgement meetings to discuss proposed developments. Click here for more information.
Once you have development consent you will most likely need a construction certificate. Click here to find out more on construction certificates.
Types of Approvals
There are eight different planning approval pathways in NSW, relevant to the Mid-Western Regional Local Government Area. The size and scale of the development will determine which of the assessment pathways is appropriate.
Many types of minor home renovations and small building projects such as the erection of a carport, balcony, deck or garden shed don't need a planning or building approval. These types of projects are called exempt development. If the building project meets specific development standards and land requirements, no planning or building approval is needed.
Other straightforward, low impact residential, commercial and industrial developments that do require planning approval may qualify for a fast track approval process known as complying development. If the application meets specific standards and land requirements a complying development certificate (CDC) can be obtained through Council or an accredited certifier without the need for a full development application.
Find out more about all eight planning approval pathways in NSW here:
Exempt development has minimal impact on the local environment and may not need approval from Council if it meets specific standards under State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. Examples of exempt development under this policy include decks, garden sheds, carports, fences, repair of a window or painting your house.
Exempt development may also be considered under State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007. This policy nominates exempt development requirements to facilitate the effective delivery of infrastructure and services. Exempt development under this policy must be carried out by or on behalf of a public authority and meet the relevant development standards. Examples of exempt development under the policy include access ramps for persons with a disability, air conditioning units, awnings, pergolas, external and internal building alterations, car park and signs.
Please contact Council if you require assistance determining if your proposal is exempt development.
Complying development is a fast-track approval process for straightforward development proposals such as home renovations or a new home up to two storeys. Other development such as a home business, strata subdivision, change of use of an existing shop, office or warehouse, industrial buildings or demolition of a building may also be classified as complying development.
The standards are identified in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. Providing the proposal meets the standards within this policy, it can be determined by Council or private certifier without needing a full development application.
Complying development applications can be lodged directly to Council. Your development will be subject to conditions of approval to protect surrounding uses during the construction period and life of the development.
Please contact Council if you require assistance determining if your proposal is complying development.
Local development is the most common type of development in NSW, with projects ranging from home extensions to medium sized commercial, retail and industrial developments.
A development is considered local development if a local environmental plan (LEP) or State environmental planning policy (SEPP) states that development consent is required before the development can take place.
The procedures for applying for development consent, the level of environmental assessment required, the notification required, and appeal rights will differ depending on how a development is categorised. These categories include designated development, integrated development and advertised development.
Developments may be designated development if the development is listed in Schedule 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 or another environmental planning instrument. Only a small percentage of applications constitute designated development. This list relates to large scale, potentially hazardous, noxious and offensive uses, such as waste management facilities, extractive industries, mining operations, marinas, aircraft facilities and chemical industries. This type of development requires a greater level of detail and you will need to provide an environmental impact statement (EIS) with a development application for designated development in accordance with the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirement (SEARS) issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
The Western Joint Regional Planning Panel is the determining authority for certain designated development types in the Mid-Western Regional Council Local Government Area. However, Council plays an important role in the assessment of such applications.
Integrated development is development that requires development consent and at least one approval, permit, licence, authority or consent from another government body under Section 4.46 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
Some examples include certain developments that involve works located on land identified as bushfire prone or works within a public road. Council must refer an application which is integrated development to the relevant approval body that will, if appropriate, issue general terms of approval (GTA). Council would not normally determine the application until it has received the concurrence with GTAs.
An integrated development administration fee is required for each agency of $320 in addition to an administration fee of $140 payable to Council for each referral to an approval body. These fees are in addition to the normal development application fees. Cheques for each agency should be made payable to the relevant approval body and not to Mid-Western Regional Council.
Advertised Development is a form of local development where adjoining neighbours are notified of the development application through a letter, and the public through a notice published in the local newspaper. The types of development requiring "advertising" are specified in Council's Development Control Plan, Section 1.12 Community Consultation. Some types of integrated development also require advertising.
The notification period for advertised development is 14 days, or 28 days for integrated developent.
A regional development needs to be notified and assessed by Council and then determined by the Western Joint Regional Planning Panel.
Regional development is defined in Schedule 4A of the EP&A Act and includes:
- development with a capital investment value (CIV) over $20 million,
- development with a CIV over $5 million that is council related, lodged by or on behalf of the Crown (State of NSW), private infrastructure and community facilities, or eco-tourist facilities,
- extractive industries, waste facilities and marinas that are designated development,
- certain coastal subdivisions,
- development with a CIV between $10 million and $20 million that is referred to the regional panel by the applicant after 120 days, and
- Crown development applications (with a CIV under $5 million) referred to the regional panel by the applicant or council after 70 days from lodgement as undetermined. This includes development applications where recommended conditions are in dispute.
How do I apply?
Applications are made to Council and it is Council’s responsibility to carry out a proper and professional assessment of a proposal for the regional panel’s determination of the development application. Depending on Council policy, this will include the public exhibition of the application and assessment of submissions received.
State Significant Development
Some types of development are deemed to have State significance due to the size, economic value or potential impacts that a development may have.
Development that is State significant development (SSD) is identified in the State and Regional Development State Environmental Planning Policy.
The Minister for Planning may also 'call in' development proposals if a proposal is considered to be of State significance. To find out more about the Ministerial 'call in' process, view the Policy Statement and Guideline prepared by the Department.
Types of State significant development
The Government has identified certain types of development that are SSD, for example:
- new educational establishments, hospitals and correctional centres,
- chemical and other manufacturing,
- mining and extraction operations,
- tourist and recreation facilities,
- some port facilities,
- waste management facilities, and
- energy generating facilities.
- A development proposal for any of the identified development types is SSD if it:
- is over a certain size,
- is located in a sensitive environmental area, or
- will exceed a specific capital investment value.
The full list of SSD development types and identified sites can be viewed in Schedules 1 and 2 of the State and Regional Development State Environmental Planning Policy.
How do I apply?
Once you have determined that your proposal is SSD, you can lodge your application online with the Department of Planning and Environment.
The Minister for Planning is the consent authority for SSD applications. SSD applications are assessed by the Department of Planning and Environment. In some cases, the Minister may delegate the decision making function to Department staff.
In addition, if an SSD proposal is not supported by Council, or the Department has received more than 25 public objections, the Department's recommendation is referred to the independent Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) for determination.
State Significant Infrastructure
Some types of infrastructure are deemed to have State significance due to the size, economic value or potential impacts that it may have.
Infrastructure that is State Significant is identified in the State and Regional Development State Environmental Planning Policy.
Types of State significant infrastructure
State significant infrastructure (SSI) includes major transport and services development that have a wider significance and impact than on just the local area.
The Government has identified certain types of development that are SSI, for example:
- Rail infrastructure,
- Road infrastructure,
- Water storage and treatment plants,
- Wharf and boating facilities,
- Pipelines, and
- Certain development in National Parks.
A development proposal for any of the identified development types is SSI if it:
- is over a certain size,
- is located in a sensitive environmental area, or
- would exceed a specific capital investment value.
The full list of SSI development types can be viewed in Schedules 3 and 4 to the State and Regional Development State Environmental Planning Policy.
How do I apply?
Once you have determined that your proposal is SSI, you can lodge your application online with the Department of Planning and Environment.
The Minister for Planning is the consent authority for SSI applications. SSI applications are assessed by the Department of Planning and Environment. In some cases, the Minister may delegate the decision making function to Department staff.
Part 3A Development
In 2011, the NSW Government repealed Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and announced that it will no longer accept any new projects in the Part 3A assessment system.
This system has been replaced by the State significant development and State significant infrastructure assessment systems, which commenced on 1 October 2011. The Department continues to accept modifications to applications previously approved under Part 3A of the EP&A Act.
How do I apply?
Applications to modify approved Part 3A projects or concept plans can be lodged online.
Development without Consent
What is development without consent?
Not all development requires consent before work can start. This includes some low-impact or routine activities such as home businesses in a residential zone, environmental protection works in an environmental conservation zone, or markets in a public recreation zone. The Local Environmental Plan and/or State Environmental Planning Policies that apply to the area or activity will list all developments that are "permitted without consent".
However, some of these developments (or activities) may still need a licence, permit or other approval from a public authority and may need to undergo an environmental assessment before approval can be given.
If it is Local Development, Council will be the best source of information about what does not require consent or other permits that may be required.
Part 5 approvals for public authorities
Development without consent can also apply to activities undertaken by government departments or agencies as part of their everyday responsibilities (e.g. water supply infrastructure being constructed by a water utility). Many of these activities are allowed to be carried out under State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 (ISEPP).
Environmental assessment of these activities is undertaken under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).
How do I apply?
The process for gaining approval of your activity will vary according to the nature of your activity and the licence, permit or approval needed to carry out the activity.
The purpose of the Part 5 assessment system is to ensure public authorities fully consider environmental issues before they undertake or approve activities that do not require development consent from a council or the Minister.
If an activity is judged by the relevant public authority to 'significantly affect the environment', then an environmental impact statement will need to be prepared and considered by the public authority.
Frequently asked Planning Questions
How long does a development application (DA) take to be processed?
Legislation enables an applicant to appeal to the Land and Environment Court if the application is not determined in 40 days. Council endeavours to determine applications within this 40 day timeframe, however timeframes may increase depending on the complexity of the application, objections and the completeness of information submitted with the original application.
What do I do if my DA is about to expire and I haven't started to build yet?
Contact Council to determine whether there is any other means of commencing your approval so that it will not expire. It is not possible for Council to extend development consents as it is regulated by state legislation.
I want to set up a business in the business area of town. What do I need to do?
There are provisions within the legislation that allow for the continued operation of a business as well as a change of business use without the need for further Council approval.
Changing the use of a building may not need planning permission if the proposed change meets the requirements set out in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy). This is known as exempt development.
No planning or building approval is required if the proposal is changing from an existing use specified to a new use, as laid out in the table below.
EXISTING USE NEW USE Category One
Landscaping material supplies
Hardware and building supplies
Vehicle sales or hire premises
Landscaping material supplies
Hardware and building supplies
Warehouse or distribution centre
Warehouse or distribution centre
Please refer to these provisions of the State Policy for a full list of development standards under exempt development relating to changing the use of a premises.
- A change from one type of retail shop to another type of retail shop is not a change of use - it is considered a change of tenant.
- Minor building work can be undertaken in conjunction with the change of use, if the work is considered exempt development. For example, if a shop were changing to an office, minor internal work that may not require approval includes the installation of work stations, recarpeting the floor, repainting the premises, changing light fittings and upgrading existing sanitary fittings.
- Any structures that would be located on public land, or on or over a public road (including temporary structures), must have separate approval from the relevant council, or Roads and Maritime Services under the Roads Act 1993 and the Local Government Act 1993.
- Generally, exempt development cannot be carried out on land that is, or on which there is, an item that is listed on the State Heritage Register.
Where do I get soil assessments for my DA?
A soil assessment is required to determine the classification of the soil where a slab is to be poured. Depending on the classification, you may be required to pier deeper if fill is found or use stronger cement in the concrete slab if the soil is more reactive. There are consultants locally based that can carry out assessments of this nature and we refer you to the Yellow Pages for these contact details.
Where do I get an aboriginal cultural heritage assessment for my DA?
Council often requires these types of heritage assessments where it has been identified that the landscape has been identified as sensitive and these include drainage channels/water courses and elevated areas. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether the proposal will impact on any indigenous artefacts. You should contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to determine the process for getting such an assessment. The NPWS also administer the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) and you can request a search of your property from this database to determine whether there are any registered artefacts on your property.
Where do I get bushfire assessments done for my DA?
You can search for environmental consultants on the internet or in the Yellow Pages and ask whether they have experience in preparing such assessments. Alternatively, contact the NSW Rural Fire Service to see if they have a register of experienced consultants.
My neighbour has commenced building works, why wasn't it notified?
Many types of development do not require Council approval and therefore would not be notified to the neighbours. Council's notification policy is set out in Council’s Development Control Plan and does not require all development applications to be notified. It may also be the case that the work is proceeding unlawfully.
When buying a property, especially a vacant site, a very important question is "can I build a dwelling on the land?". You may have seen or heard this referred to as a dwelling entitlement. A dwelling entitlement refers to the ability of Council to approve a dwelling on a certain property. In this regard advice pertaining to dwelling entitlements within the Mid-Western will detail if a dwelling is permissible within the subject zone and if the subject property meets the minimum development standards (such as minimum lot size) established in the relevant Local Environmental Plan.
Advice given regarding a dwelling entitlement does not confer any reasonable expectation that a dwelling will be approved on the site. In this regard the merit of any proposal must still be considered, and unacceptable impacts on the natural and built environments are not likely to be supported.
It is noted that the planning regulations that control the erection of dwellings do change over time and it is imperative that you ensure you have the most up to date advice available. Council has a number of factsheets that may help you to establish if your property complies with the relevant standards for dwellings.
If you wish Council to undertake the necessary investigations of its available records to determine if a property benefits from a dwelling entitlement, then please click on the link below.
What is my Zone?
A Local Environmental Plan is a legal document called a Planning Instrument. It provides the rules and guidelines which control the use of private and public land through zoning. It aims to reduce possible conflict between adjoining land uses, and aims to ensure there is adequate land to meet the diverse needs of our region.
To ascertain the zone and other controls that apply to your land it will be necessary to refer to the Mid-Western Regional Local Environmental Plan 2012.
Zoning Information can not be provided over the phone.
To ensure the integrity of Council's advice is maintained, all zoning requests must be made in writing. Alternatively a S149 Planning Certificate may be obtained or the zone maps downloaded.
You can find out how land is zoned by viewing the maps of the Local Environmental Plans at the Customer Services Centre between 8:30am and 4:30pm from Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.
I want to cut down a tree in my backyard. Do I need approval?
The cutting down of a tree may require approval from Council depending on where you live. Consent from Council is required for the removal of a tree in heritage conservation areas (these areas exist in Gulgong, Hargraves, Mudgee and Rylstone) as well as trees identified in a tree preservation order (set out under 4.7 of Council’s Development Control Plan). It is recommended that you consult with Council to determine whether you need approval before doing any work.
Do I need approval to remove a tree on my rural property?
Council generally does not regulate the removal of trees in rural areas (that is, on land zoned RU1 Primary Production and RU4 Primary Production Small lots). Removal of vegetation in these areas is managed by the Local Land Services.
If your land is zoned R5 Large Lot Residential or E3 Environmental Management, approvals may be required for the removal of vegetation under the SEPP (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas). It is recommended that you consult with Council to determine whether you need approval before doing any work.
My neighbour's tree is overhanging my fence, can I remove this branch?
Council recommends that you discuss the matter with your neighbour before carrying out any work. Approval may also be required by Council where the tree is protected by a Tree preservation Order or within a Heritage Conservation Area.
What are the regulations on chimney smoke?
The protection of the Environment Operations Act provides regulations regarding air pollution. Council may conduct a 'smoky chimneys survey' and where there is excessive smoke, Council can issue smoke abatement notices.
I am starting a business from home; do I need approval from Council?
Certain business and commercial enterprises may be undertaken as exempt development (does not need approval) or complying development (fast-track approval process) if the proposal meets relevant standards set out in in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy).Under the State Policy, a house may be used for a home business, home industry or home occupation as exempt development.
- The use of the premises cannot involve:
- the manufacture of food products
- skin penetration procedures.
The types of enterprises included under the State Policy are:
- home business;
- home industry;
- home occupation;
- home-based child care;
- bed and breakfast accommodation.
These can be carried out within the home or within attached or detached developments associated with the home, such as a garage or studio.
Please refer to the State Policy for a full list of development standards home businesses, home industries and home occupations must comply with to be exempt development.
A home business or home industry must also comply with the maximum floor area requirements specified in clause 5.4 of the relevant local environmental plan.
Taking over an existing business?
There are provisions within the legislation that allow for the continued operation of existing uses without further approval being required. It is recommended that you contact Council to establish if the business you wish to operate was lawfully established and if there are any conditions that govern the operation of the business you should be aware of.
Do I need approval for my footpath sign and why?
Approval from Council under the Local Government Act is required to display any sign or goods on public footpaths. Council has a specific policy that regulates the use of this land by private businesses. The primary function of a footpath is to facilitate pedestrian access and all signage, goods and street dining must adhere to Council's Policy, which can be found here.
Do I need Council consent to live in my shed?
Yes. Council and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) have requirements that must be met in order to use a structure as a dwelling. These standards are there to ensure that the minimum requirements are met for fire safety, ventilation, access and the protection of the environment.
I live near a coal mine, the noise is disturbing my sleep. Who do I contact?
If you know which coal mine is causing the noise then you should contact them direct. You should also ring the Department of Environment and Climate Change (EPA) as they are the appropriate regulatory authority under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act to deal with scheduled premises such as coal mines.
My neighbours continually ride motorbikes on weekends - can Council help me?
In the first instance, you should let your neighbour know that the noise is affecting you. If this fails to solve the issue you should contact Council or the NSW Police. It is not an easy matter to settle as all land owners have the right to enjoy their property so long as they are not creating a nuisance for a neighbour. Council would need to determine whether the activity is exceeding noise limits.
- 149 (2&5) certificate
- Amusement Device - Application for approval to install and operate
- Annual Fire Safety Statement
- Application for Review of Determination
- Application for Water/Sewer Connection
- Application for Works within the Road Reserve
- Application to Modify a Development Consent
- Approval to Operate a Caravan Park
- Building Information Certificate
- Building Search
- Certificate Application Form
- Checklist - Development Applications, Construction Certificates, Complying Development and S68
- Complying Development Certificate
- Construction Certificate
- Development Application
- Dwelling Entitlement Search Application
- Fast Track Dual Occupancy Checklist
- Fast Track Single Dwelling Checklist
- Fee Assessment Form
- Food Business Premises Registration Form
- Local Heritage Fund Project Application form 2018/19
- Occupation Certificate Application
- Outstanding Health and Building Notice
- Overflow Accomodation form
- PCA Signoff Certificate
- Plumbing and Drainage Works - Notice of Work and Certificate of Compliance
- Plumbing and Drainage Works - Sewer Service Diagram
- Political Disclosure Statement
- Prune or Remove Tree on Private Land Application
- Section 68 - Mobile Food Vending/Street Trader application
- Section 68 – On-site Sewerage Management Facility – Application to Inspect &/or register
- Section 68 - Sewerage Management Application
- Section 68 application to install a manufactured home, moveable dwelling or associated structure on land
- Section 94a - Developer Contributions
- Significant Tree Register - nomination form
- Skin Penetration, Hairdresser, Beautician registration form
- Statement of Environmental Effects
- Statement of Environmental Effects - Planning
- Subdivision Certificate Application
- Subdivision Construction Certificate Application
- Surrender of a consent
- Swimming Pool - Certificate of Compliance
- Swimming Pool - Home Swimming Pool Safety Checklist