How Council assesses development applications | Redland City Council

How Council assesses development applications

Council assesses development applications under the Planning Act 2016, which provides the overarching framework for planning and development in Queensland and provides details of relevant planning instruments that Council must consider.

This includes the Redland City Plan, which shows the types of development intended for areas of Redlands Coast and the criteria that development is assessed against.

Categories of development and assessment

The Planning Act 2016 defines three categories of development being: 

  • Accepted - a development approval is not required (in some instances this is subject to relevant criteria)
  • Assessable - a development approval is required
  • Prohibited - a development application cannot be made.

Assessable development will be assessed by Council and the City Plan will determine the category of development. There are two categories of development being:

  • Code - assessment is carried out against the codes (or assessment benchmarks) in the planning scheme
  • Impact - assessment is carried out against the codes in the planning scheme and other relevant matters including identified planning need.

Read about the development application types.

Council’s assessment criteria

The planning scheme contains various codes that make up the assessment criteria for development applications. Not all codes are applicable to all development. The codes include:

  • Zone codes - these identify the preferred land use intent for an area
  • Overlay codes - these identify constraints, such as hazards (for example bushfire, flooding, landslide) and values, such as environmental significance (for example bushland habitat)
  • Use codes and other development codes - these identify outcomes sought for certain types, or particular aspects, of development (for example home business use code, multiple dwelling use code, reconfiguration code)
  • General codes - these outline specific design criteria for development, such as stormwater management, landscape design, access and parking requirements and the like.

In assessing a development application, Council must consider the outcomes identified in the planning scheme codes relevant to the proposal as well as State government planning policies and instruments, such as the South East Queensland Regional Plan, and any development approvals or lawful uses of neighbouring properties.

Note: With regard to design and siting, most residential development must comply with the Queensland Development Code administered by the Queensland Government. Development not complying will require an approval from Council as a referral agency. Council may specify alternative provisions in its planning scheme that must also be considered.

What Council cannot do

  • Prohibit development - the policy framework for development assessment establishes the right of any person to propose development and have it considered within the bounds of that framework. Only the State has the power to prohibit development.  Council cannot prohibit development in the City Plan unless the prohibition has been established by the State under the Planning Act 2016 and Planning Regulation 2017.  Through the planning scheme, Council may establish preferred land uses for certain areas and discourage others, but this does not prohibit development, nor does it prevent you from making an application.  The only instance Council cannot accept a development application is when that application proposes prohibited development.  Under the State planning framework, no one can apply for approval to undertake prohibited development and Council cannot accept any such development application.  For further information, you can find the current prohibitions in Schedule 10 of the Planning Regulation 2017.
  • Completely control whether an application is approved – Council must follow State government rules and regulations when making planning decisions. If an application meets the requirements of the planning scheme and other relevant planning instruments, Council's decision must reflect this.  If Council were to refuse a development application that complies with all relevant planning instruments, Council's decision could be challenged and appealed in the Planning and Environment Court.  This could result in considerable costs to the community and often limits Council's ability to achieve, or influence, preferred design outcomes.

Development conditions

Most development approvals include conditions.  The conditions essentially establish the circumstances in which the approved development may proceed and are imposed to ensure the proposal complies with Council requirements and other relevant standards.  All conditions of a development approval must be relevant to the development and be reasonably required as a consequence of the development.  Usually conditions are applied to ensure the proposed development is provided with adequate services and infrastructure, and to protect or reduce impacts on the environment, amenity and adjoining sites.

Generally, development approval conditions issued by Council have two parts:

  • condition - this details the specific requirements of the condition (for example undertake the development in accordance with the approved plan)
  • timing - this sets the timeframe for the condition to be complied with (for example prior to the use commencing).

Development conditions bind each individual and company who undertake any work, or carry out any use, under the development approval.  It is also important to note that development conditions attach to the land, regardless of any change in ownership.  It is an offence under the Planning Act 2016 to breach a development condition or to fail to comply with a condition.  Failure to meet development conditions may result in unlawful development and compliance action, which can involve fines and court action, and may require further approvals or the use of the site to cease entirely.

Following receipt of a decision notice, the Planning Act 2016 allows an applicant to negotiate conditions of development approval.  The applicant has a 20 business day appeal period to lodge written representations (i.e. change representations).  If Council agrees with any of the representations, a negotiated decision notice will be issued.  If Council does not agree with any of the representations, a notice stating the decision about the change representations will be issued.  Further information on negotiating a decision of a development approval can be found in the Planning Act 2016 Part 5 Division 2.