The Seven Key Steps to Obtain Planning Approval


Do your research first

In the early stages of your design process, we encourage you to:

  • Review the zone and code provisions, and any site specific requirements, that apply to the property via planbuild;
  • Familiarise yourself with the planning requirements and consider if your aims are consistent with the planning requirements;
  • Discuss the proposal with your neighbours – this can simplify the process and avoid future issues;
  • Consider getting professional advice from a town planner, building designer, architect or other relevant professionals as early as possible;
  • Review the application requirements section of the planning scheme – if overlays apply independent expert report are usually required to address the overlay;
  • Contact Council with any pre-application queries via email or our online form.


Prepare and lodge your application

Engage a building designer or architect to prepare drawings.  This person should be familiar with the planning scheme and the level of documentation and reports needed and may also be able to engage any necessary independent expert on your behalf.

Once you have all plans and supporting information, you can lodge an application in person or via email, which is the most common method.

Your application will include the application form, a current copy of the title(s), proposed plans, and any necessary supporting information.  It can also be useful to include a cover letter to explain the proposal, what you are hoping to achieve and the considerations taken into account in the design.  In some cases, a written statement justifying how the proposal satisfies the performance criteria is necessary.

Within five days, we will determine if the application is No Permit Required, Permitted or Discretionary and invoice you for the prescribed fees.

You must pay the fee before we take any further action.


Preliminary assessment and additional information requests

Once the prescribed fees are paid, we undertake a preliminary assessment to determine if the application contains all the necessary information to make a complete assessment against all applicable use and development Standards.

We may refer your application externally to TasWater, TasNetwork, Department of State Growth or others.  Internal referrals will be made to development engineering, natural resource management, environmental health and plumbing.

If additional information is required, we will stop the assessment clock, and provide you with a written request.  For discretionary applications, we have up to 21 days to request additional information and 14 days for permitted applications.

Common reasons for requiring additional information include:

  • Missing details from the site plan, such as details of the existing or proposed vehicle access or how stormwater is managed;
  • The plans and supporting reports, such as bushfire or wastewater, being inconsistent;
  • Supporting reports required for wastewater, landslide, bushfire, biodiversity or other overlays; and
  • Supporting reports required for codes such as traffic impact assessments.

When you submit the additional information, we will determine if the additional information is satisfactory or not.  If satisfactory, the assessment will continue.  If not satisfactory, a further request will be issued.


Public notification

Discretionary applications require public exhibition for 14 days.

We will arrange for a site notice to be placed on the front boundary, advertising in the Mercury newspaper, letters to adjoining properties and display the application online and in our office.

Any person can make a representation in support or opposition.  A representation can raise any issue and while all issues raised in a representation must be considered in the assessment, only those issues that relate to a provision in the planning scheme can influence the decision.

If a representation is received, the application may need to be considered at a Sorell Planning Authority (SPA) meeting.

A person who makes a representation has a right to appeal the future decision.


Final Planning Authority Assessment

Once all information is provided, and following public exhibition where required, your application will proceed to final assessment.

Most applications are assessed by planning staff under delegation.  If several representations are received, or if planning staff have concerns with the proposal, the application will be referred to a SPA for a decision to be made.

The assessment must take place within specified timeframes, which are 42 days for discretionary applications and 28 days for permitted applications, excluding any stopped clocked days.  No permit required assessments do not have a specified time however we aim to complete these within seven days.

If approved, we will provide you with a permit or letter or approval and an endorsed set of plans and supporting information within seven days.

The final assessment will consider:

  • The applicable sections of the planning scheme;
  • Any representations received;
  • Comments from external or internal referral agencies; and
  • Any conditions set by TasWater or the Tasmanian Heritage Council.


Condition Compliance

Once you have received approval, you should review any conditions imposed.

Some conditions may require changes to the proposal, such as how stormwater is managed, whether landscaping should be required or whether some other modification is needed.

Other conditions will relate to the standard on construction, limitations on the use of the land or specify how construction should occur to protect the surrounding environment or amenity.

It is important that you understand these conditions and comply with these conditions.  If you are unhappy with any conditions you can discuss these with planning staff or lodge an appeal to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT).


Building, Plumbing, Wastewater and Infrastructure Approvals

Planning approval is often the first of several approvals required.

Building and plumbing approvals may be required.

If your property is unserviced and you are construction a new habitable building or adding to the number of bedrooms, wastewater approval will be required.

If you need to build or upgrade a driveway or do any other work outside your property and within the road reservation, a Notice of Intention to Carry Out Work (development works) form must be first completed and approved.