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  • Writer's pictureDavid

Designated development under the NSW Planning system

Designated development has been a feature of the NSW planning system since the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 came into effect. Originally, there were only two forms of development under the Act, being "designated development" and "development". The system has become more complicated since the original Act was introduced, however designated development is a feature of the system that has persisted since 1979.

Put simply, designated developments are types of development where the environmental impact is considered to be potentially high and therefore there is a greater level of scrutiny as part of the assessment process than would normally be the case.

When the Act was originally introduced, there was not a separate assessment process for state significant development. Many proposals that would in the past have been designated development now fall within the state significant development category, although designated development is still important for some intermediate level developments that are assessed by local Councils.

A full list of development types that qualify for designated development can be found in Schedule 3 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. A development may also be nominated as designated development in a SEPP or LEP. Some of the types of designated development include:

- Bitumen plants

- Cement and concrete plants

- Railway freight terminals

- Waste management facilities

- Marinas

- Chemical facilities

- Mineral processing facilities

- Shipping facilities

There are size thresholds for all of the above, so they need to be relatively large developments to qualify for designated development. If a proposal also meets the requirements for state significant development, then that would take precedence over designated development.

Differences in the assessment process for designated development compared to standard Development Applications include:

- An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required. The information required to be included in the EIS is outlined in Schedule 2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. The person preparing the EIS must consult with relevant authorities including the Department of Planning & Environment, local Council and relevant state agencies. The EIS must describe the environmental impact of the development, feasible alternatives to the development and justification for the proposed development. Council may sell copies of the EIS to members of the public for not more than $25 and must pay any proceeds of the sale to the responsible person who prepared the EIS.

- The notification of a designated development is made by the Council, although a copy of all documentation is also made available at the Department of Planning & Environment office. There is a minimum notification period of 28 days. Once the notification period has closed, the Council must forward a copy of all submissions to the Department of Planning and Environment and cannot determine the application until 21 days after the submissions are forwarded. The state government does have the power to "call in" applications made to local Councils if it sees fit and considers that the matter is of state or regional planning significance.

- Unlike other forms of development. A person who objects to a designated development and is dissatisfied with the decision of the consent authority has the option of mounting a third-party appeal to the Land and Environment Court over the decision. A person who wishes to appeal against such a decision only has 28 days to do this after the decision is made.

A designated development can also be "integrated development", which I described in another post.

For any further enquiries regarding designated development, feel free to get in contact.

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