Information on Development Application Assessment

Access Council's Development Application Tracking Portal here

Information on the Development Application Assessment Process

How does Council Communicate with you during the Development Process?

There are a number of ways Council keeps you informed when considering development applications.

Council offers online access to development applications to track the progress of applications from lodgement through to determination.

Council publishes a list of development and subdivision applications received and approved in the local newspapers each week.

Actions are key steps in the development application process. Each action involves direct communication from Council depending on the type of development application being considered.

Communication Protocol - Key Actions List.png


In addition to the minimum statutory requirements it is Council’s policy to undertake additional forms of communication and provide opportunities for discussion about all issues which may be raised with an application.

These include pre-lodgement meetings with developers and Conciliation Conferences for residents.

The following table (click to enlarge) sets out the actions and the form of communication provided by Council during the process.

Development Application Communication Protocol Brochure(PDF, 1MB)


Who Decides?

The elected Council (Councillors) do not determine any development applications.

There are four levels of decision making. These are:

  • Delegated Authority - specified staff can make decisions on behalf on Council, subject to specific requirements.
  • Development Assessment Unit (DAU) - this is a staff committee to deal with applications. The meeting is not a public meeting.
  • Local Planning Panel (LPP) made up of an independent chairperson, two industry experts and one community  representative.
  • Sydney Central City Planning Panel (SCCPP) - A Regional Panel established by the State Government to determine regionally significant Development Applications.


How is a decision made?

A range of matters are considered in the determination of a development application. These are outlined in Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment Act 1979.

Council’s Local Environmental Plan 2019 (THLEP 2019) establishes what uses are permissible in all the zones of The Hills Shire. The Development Control Plan (DCP) provides specific detail and controls on how a development should occur.  These controls can be varied, however, any variations must be justified. These documents are also subject to public comment prior to adoption by the Council.

It is important to note that state planning legislation and controls override local planning controls through the use of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs).

Development Application Communication Protocol Brochure(PDF, 1MB)


After my application is determined, how will I be advised?

You will be advised in writing of the determination of your application.  Should there be any outstanding fees, these fees will need to be paid prior to release of approval.

If however, your application is granted consent and there are no outstanding matters, then you will be sent a copy of the Development Consent including Conditions of Consent and Approved Plans.

Please note that if prior to release of Development Consent you are providing Home Warranty Insurance and the value of the insurance differs by more than $25,000 from what was nominated on the application form, you are required to complete Home Warranty Insurance - Statement of Inclusions(PDF, 94KB) and return to Council with the Home Warranty Insurance Certificate.

Should your application be refused, a refusal notice will be sent advising of the grounds of refusal.


What does 'Stop the Clock' mean?

“Stop the Clock” is a time period after a Development Application (DA) is lodged where Council staff await applicants to provide sufficient information to enable an informed decision to be made on a DA. This period of time is not included in calculating the overall time taken to assess the DA.