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Development Application Objections

First and foremost, you should only consider objections to development applications if you genuinely believe the application does not comply with relevant standards or guidelines, fails to consider relevant matters, does not regard the local character and amenity and/or will result in an unreasonable impact on your property. 

Development within a reasonable context is beneficial for everyone; it creates jobs and growth, it creates value in a neighbourhood, and it allows land to reach the highest and best use. 

However, in some cases, developers or neighbours can attempt to get an unreasonable development approved. You might be concerned about sunlight, your view, your privacy, the character and amenity of the street or any number of other issues with the proposal. Precise Planning has a few recommendations to assist you:

  • Know thy enemy (and friends)
    The first thing to know is how to treat everyone. Remember the Council and the developer/your neighbour is not your enemy! When it comes to objecting to a development application, the Council can be your best ally. Developers and neighbours also tend to be responsive if they can see your point of view and are treated reasonably and professionally.
    Part of the Council’s job is to look after your interests; however, unilateral ‘not in my back yard’ thinking will not help you get your interests heard in the most effective way. What will go further is an articulate reason regarding why you feel the development should be modified or refused.
  • Understand Timing
    The next thing you need to do is get across when you need to respond. All development applications must notify neighbours in accordance with the local council’s policy, and generally, you have a designated time-frame to make a submission regarding the proposal.
    You are entitled to view all the documents provided to the Council regarding the application. The best objections to development applications make specific reference to issues within the plans/documents. Specific references to issues assist both the Council and the applicant to understand your concerns with the development application. 
  • Seek Professional Assistance
    If you can afford professional help, seek it. A town planner is the best person to engage in preparing an objection to a development application. At Precise Planning, our town planners are both capable of understanding specialist and planning reports and visualising the effect of some aspects on plans.
    Other than town planners, architects can sometimes assist you (however, you need to find an architect who has an understanding of planning issues). In some cases, environmental lawyers can help you; however, this will be the most costly option. 
    It may seem unfair that you have to pay a professional to object to something; however, you need to assess whether you believe you have the skills required to sustain an objection. 
  • How to object to a development application yourself
    Objecting to a development application can be an expensive undertaking, and you may not wish to invest this level of money – that’s fine, and we have some tips for you to fight a development application yourself!
    You need to start with the documents provided to the Council as described above. Call the Council to ensure you have access to everything you need. Then start reading all of the reports, we recommend you start with the Statement of Environmental Effects (sometimes called a Planning Report).
    You need to determine whether the application strictly complies quantitatively (all numeric development standards – including Heigh of Buildings, Floor Space Ratio, Minimum Lot Size). You can find information regarding the controls in your local councils Local Environmental Plan (LEP) which is available on the Legislation NSW website. The Statement of Environmental Effects should also summarise and discuss all non compliances.
    Complying with those standards alone is not a justification that a development application should gain approval. There are other issues to consider which may impact on you, including sunlight, privacy and local character and amenity. 
    If you are going to argue based on sunlight, you should review their solar access plan. Local character and amenity is a genuine issue and requires consideration from the local Council. 
    However, equally, non-compliance with these standards is not necessarily a justification for refusal. However, if you object to a development application on the grounds of non-compliance, the developer/neighbour will have to sustain a very good town planning argument to justify not complying.

How do I respond to objections to my development application?
Precise Planning generally does not assist with development application objections. However, if you are a developer or a neighbour who is concerned about development application objections, we can certainly help. 

The best way to manage development application objections is to avoid them in the first place. Development applications should be reasonable and supportable. Precise Planning can help you lodge a development application which will achieve your highest and best use without being an offensive application.

Precise Planning is well versed in community relations and stakeholder management, which is the next best method to manage objections.

If you need professional town planning advice or assistance in preparing a development application, please click here and an expert town planner will get in touch.

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