Variations to Development Standards
Development standards may be contained in State Environmental Planning Policies or Local Environmental Plans. Development standards exist to provide a framework of limitations for anticipated development in an area.
Council is required to keep a register of instances in which development applications have been determined that resulted in a variation to a development standard. The variation of a development standard may occur via an assessment of an application, under either:
- Clause 4.6 of the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan (NLEP), or
- State Environmental Planning Policy No.1(SEPP1).
Monitoring of variations to development standards is important in that it enables the Department of Planning and Council to determine whether development standards are appropriate, or whether changes are required to the development standards. The consideration of variations enables flexibility to achieve better outcomes for and from development.
Variations are only considered in circumstances where strict compliance would be unreasonable or unnecessary and there are sufficient environmental planning grounds to justify contravening the development standard.
Where an application proposes a variation to a standard, the application must be supported by a document meeting the requirements of SEPP1 or Clause 4.6 of the NLEP. A standard document Application form to vary a development standard is available from Council's web site, to assist applicants to address the matters for consideration. This form should be completed and submitted with the development application.
The Register is referred to by the Department of Planning as a SEPP 1 Report. However, the report is also required to contain any variations approved under Clause 4.6 of the NLEP 2012. The anomaly with the naming is a result of the transition of Council's within the State of NSW to the 'Standard LEP'. The standard LEP introduces a number of development standards into local planning instruments. The City of Newcastle adopted a new LEP, consistent with the 'standard LEP' template on the 15 June 2012.