Amendments of development approvals (S197)

Many people may be aware of the need for a development approval before works commence however not everyone may be aware of the possibility that an approval could be amended. This could be part of the development such as design changes or an amendment to part of the notice of decision such as a condition of approval. The following advice is in regards to amendments of a development approval (also known as an S197 application).

This advice does not apply to amendments to development applications which are yet to be determined (also known as an S144).

Eligibility

Like development applications and approvals, amendment applications are governed by legislation primarily the Planning and Development Act 2007 (the Act).

The proposed amendment needs to be:

If applicable, the amendment must not:

How to lodge an application for amendment

An amendment is lodged in e-development similar to other development applications. It will need to be lodged as an S197 application.

The application will require:

The information required for an amendment will vary with each proposal however generally the more detailed and comprehensive the information, the less likely the authority will ask for further information and you should therefore receive a faster decision.

The planning and land authority will check the submitted application for completeness, including whether the application needs to be to notified to the public and/or referred to entities. Not all amendment applications are notified or referred to entities. The decision to notify (or not) rests with the authority based on Section 198B of the Act which generally asks whether the amendment will impact on anyone other than the lessee and only has minimal environmental impact.

Once considered suitable for lodgement, a fee advice is provided to the applicant and once paid for, the amendment application is considered lodged.

Assessment

Once assessed against the Territory Plan and legislation, the authority will determine the amendment which may be to approve or refuse the amendment. If the amendment is refused, the original development approval will still apply.

Amendment decisions are subject to review in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) although the circumstances in which a review can be made are not necessarily the same as the original DA. Refer to the Schedule 1 of the Planning and Development Act 2007.

FAQs

Does an amendment application extend any construction dates?

No. Timeline requirements for commencement and/or completion of works remain linked to the original decision. However, you may request an extension of time in accordance with section 298 of the Act. Requests must be submitted in writing to the authority.

Are multiple amendments possible?

Yes. The same considerations summarised above still apply in particular that the development remains substantially the same as the originally approved development.

Are reconsideration applications available for decisions of amendment applications?

Yes. Like development application decisions, the applicant can request a reconsideration of the decision including perhaps just part of the decision. Fees do apply to reconsideration applications too.

Can a lease variation be added to an existing approval?

No. Adding new development types is not generally possible under the amendment process. Typically any new development elements (such as adding a new crown lease variation) should be submitted as a new development application.

How fast will I receive my decision?

Unlike development applications, there are no legislated time frames for amendment applications. However, the authority aims to determine S197 applications within the same statutory timeframes as development applications.

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