Exempt Development

Exempt development is development that has minimal impact on the local environment and does not require approval from Council. The below steps may assist you in determining whether your proposed development is exempt.

Step 1: Comply with development standards for specified development

Check Zoning

To assist you in determining if your development is exempt you will need to know the zoning of your land. You can obtain this information in a Planning Certificate or from the NSW Planning Portal.

The Department of Planning and Environment exhibited the translation of existing Business and Industrial zones into the new Employment zones from 31 May to 12 July 2022. To view the detail please visit the Department’s Planning Portal.​ Employment zones will be in place within individual LEPs by 1 December 2022 when the existing Business and Industrial zones will be repealed. Further information is available on the Department's website.

As of 1 December 2021, a reference to an Environment Protection zone E1, E2, E3 or E4 in a document should be taken to be a reference to a Conservation zone C1, C2, C3 or C4. For further information please see, Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Amendment (Land Use Zones) Order 2021.

Additional information and a 'Frequently Asked Questions' Fact Sheet is available on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

Review Development Schedules

There are several pieces of legislation that contain provisions that can enable exempt development. They include:

State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Codes
State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007
Newcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012

Step 2: Comply with general and land based criteria for exempt development

If the development is to be carried out under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development) Codes the relevant sections are:

  • Clause 1.15 What development is exempt development?
  • Clause 1.16 General requirements for exempt development.
  • Clause 1.19 Land on which exempt and complying development may not be carried out.

Step 3: Comply with common law and other legislative requirements

In addition to the requirements specified for development under this code, adjoining owners’ property rights, the applicable common law and other legislative requirements for approvals, licences, permits and authorities still apply. For example, requirements relevant to development in this code may be contained in the Act, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, various State environmental planning policies, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, the Roads Act 1993, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and Acts applying to various infrastructure authorities.

If the development is in proximity to infrastructure, including water, stormwater and sewer mains, electricity power lines and telecommunications facilities, the relevant infrastructure authority should be contacted before commencing the development.

It is recommended that you contact any relevant authority to determine any requirements. For example, if land on which you intend to develop is located in a Mine Subsidence District, you may need to have the plans stamped by the Subsidence Advisory NSW. A list of deemed approvals (i.e. that do not need referral to the Subsidence Advisory NSW) are available from the Subsidence Advisory NSW.

The legislative requirements specifically highlight the adjoining owners property rights and the need to comply with common law and other legislative requirements.

Please note: The information contained above is not legal advice. It is to assist you in planning decisions. City of Newcastle recommends you seek professional advice and refer to relevant legislation.

Further Information: Contact CN's Duty Officer on 02 4974 2000.