The NSW Government has made local planning panels mandatory for all Councils in the Greater Sydney region and Wollongong City Council. From 1 March 2018 these Panels will be now known as Local Planning Panels (LPP). The Panels have been put in place so that the process of assessment and determination of development applications is transparent and accountable.
Changes Effective 1 August 2020
As of August 2020, the NSW Government made changes to the way Local Planning Panels work to make them more efficient and to improve the assessment and determination times of development applications and maintain panel oversight of sensitive and contentious applications.
These changes were made as part of the Planning Acceleration Program to support the state’s immediate and long-term economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
The changes will speed up panel determinations by:
- reducing the need to conduct public panel meetings for non-contentious matters by applying a ‘10-or-more’ objection trigger for public meetings
- reducing the amount of modifications going to panels
- obliging panel chairs to more actively manage development applications (DAs) coming to the panels to reduce panel deferrals and assessment timeframes
- allowing chairs to bring forward determination on DAs that are experiencing unreasonable delays of over 180 days from lodgement
- introducing panel performance measures.
Refer to the NSW Planning Information Sheet for further details about the changes and Frequently Asked Questions.
The Panel consists of four members being:
- The Chair – with expertise in law,
- Two professionals with expertise in urban design, planning or other related field, and
- One community representative from the Local Government Area
Further information on the legislation and LPPs is outlined on the Department of Planning and Environment’s website which contains other useful fact sheets and FAQs
- View the Northern Beaches Local Planning Panel Members
- View the NSW Department of Planning Code of Conduct for LPP members
Agendas and Minutes
Agendas are available usually 7 days prior to the meeting with the minutes posted once confirmed by the Chair.
Panel Meeting Guidelines
- Panel meetings are usually held twice per month (excluding January). Agendas are available on Council’s website, usually seven days prior. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, public meetings are currently held via teleconferencing.
- The Panel is bound by the Code of Conduct for Local Planning Panel Members approved by the Minister for Planning. As required by the Code, Panel members must sign a declaration disclosing whether they have a conflict of interest in relation to any matter on the agenda for the meeting. After the meeting, the declarations will be published on Council’s website.
- Prior to the meeting the Panel will have been briefed with Council’s assessment report, submissions and other relevant documents relating to each agenda item. And the Panel usually will have carried out a site inspection in order to better understand the issues. Submissions generally are not received at site meetings. Council staff may be present as appropriate.
Any written submissions after publication of the agenda containing Council’s assessment report should be lodged by no later than 5pm two days before the Panel meeting. Any such written submissions should be limited to addressing any matter contained in the assessment report that there was no reasonable opportunity to address prior to publication of the assessment report.
- Public meetings provide an opportunity to make oral submissions. Speakers should register to speak via email. Written submissions and material are generally not accepted at the meeting since there will have been prior opportunity to provide them. However, if a legal representative seeks to make a new submission on a matter of law, it should be in writing. If written submissions or material are accepted, they will be published on Council’s website.
- Public meetings are video and audio recorded. The recordings are livestreamed and published on Council’s website.
- Objectors (and any submitters in support of the application) will be heard before the applicant.
- A speaker will have three minutes to speak (whereupon a bell will ring). An extension may be granted at the Chair’s discretion. In considering whether the applicant will be granted extra speaking time, the Chair will take into account the number and nature of objectors' submissions to which the applicant may need to respond. Where there are a large number of speakers with a common interest, the Panel may hear their representative (who may be subject to the same three minute time constraint) with a view to discharging the Panel’s responsibilities in a timely way.
- Speakers should be clear and concise. Repeating matters already raised by previous speakers is unnecessary: it is sufficient for a speaker to acknowledge that they hold similar views. Speakers should use respectful language: defamatory or rude language will not be tolerated. At the end of an oral submission the speaker should remain seated to give Panellists the opportunity to ask questions.
- Once all speakers in relation to all matters on the agenda have finished, the Chair will close the public meeting and the Panel will move into a closed session to deliberate and determine all matters on the agenda. The Chair has a casting vote in the event of a deadlock. A closed session will not be recorded. During a closed session the Panel may seek clarification or answers to questions from Council staff or applicants or others, but they are precluded from participating in the Panel’s deliberations and determinations.
- The Panel usually makes its reasoned determinations on the day. They will be published on Council’s website, normally within three working days.
Addressing the Panel
If you would like to address the Panel, you will need to register by 4.00pm on the day before the scheduled meeting by email and including the DA number, your name, address and if you are speaking for or against the application or by phoning 1300 434 434.
Speakers will be limited to three minutes with time extended at the discretion of the Chair. Where there are a number of objectors with a common interest, the panel may, in its absolute discretion, hear a representative of those persons.
Development Applications Determined by the Panel
1. Conflict of Interest
Development for which the applicant or land owner is:
- the council
- a councillor,
- a member of council staff who is principally involved in the exercise of council's functions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,
- a member of Parliament (either the Parliament of New South Wales or Parliament of the Commonwealth), or
- a relative (within the meaning of the Local Government Act 1993) of a person referred to in bullet points 2 - 4 above.
but not development for the following purposes:
- internal alterations and additions to any building that is not a heritage item,
- advertising signage,
- maintenance and restoration of a heritage item, or
- minor building structures projecting from the building facade over public land (such as awnings, verandas, bay windows, flagpoles, pipes and services, and sun shading devices).
2. Contentious development
- in the case of a council having an approved submissions policy - is the subject of the number of submissions set by that policy, or
- in any other case - is the subject of 10 or more unique submissions by way of objection.
3. Departure from development standards
- Development that contravenes a development standard imposed by an environmental planning instrument by more than 10% or non-numerical development standards. Council may assume the Secretary's concurrence to enable staff to determine development applications for Class 1 buildings (single dwelling houses) where the development contravenes a numerical standard by greater than 10% for height of buildings and floor space ratio.
4. Sensitive development
- Designated development.
- Development to which State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 - Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development applies and is 4 or more storeys in height.
- Development involving the demolition of a heritage item.
- Development for the purposes of new licensed premises, that will require one of the following liquor licences:
(i) a club licence under the Registered Clubs Act 1976,
(ii) a hotel (general bar) licence under the Liquor Act 2007, or
(iii) an on-premises licence for public entertainment venues under the Liquor Act 2007.
- Development for the purpose of sex services premises and restricted premises.
- Development applications for which the developer has offered to enter into a planning agreement.
5. Modification applications
Modification applications under section 4.55(2) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for the modification of development consents granted by the Panel that:
- propose amendments to a condition of development consent recommended in the council assessment report but which was amended by the Panel, or
- propose amendments to a condition of development consent that was not included in the council assessment report but which was added by the Panel, or
- meet the criteria for development applications with a conflict of interest, contentious development or departure from development standards as detailed in points 1-4 above.
Planning Proposals Evaluated by the Panel
Planning proposals prepared after 1 June 2018 are referred to the Panel for advice, unless Council’s General Manager determines the planning proposal relates to:
- the correction of an obvious error in a local environmental plan,
- matters that are of consequential, transitional, machinery or other minor nature, or
- matters that will not have any significant adverse impact on the environment or adjoining land.
The Panel must have given its advice on the proposal before Council considers whether or not to forward it to the Minister or the Greater Sydney Commission under Section 3.34 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.