A merit track development application is assessed against the rules or criteria in the applicable assessment code of the Territory Plan.

Examples are:

  • development in a residential zone
  • indoor recreation facility in a commercial zone
  • apartment in a commercial zone
  • multi-unit residential in a residential zone.

This is not a complete list of all possible merit track developments.

Development assessment process

The following diagram outlines the development assessment process for merit track development applications.

Merit track flowchart

Entity referrals

An entity may be a government department, statutory body or utility that provides advice to assist with assessing development applications, for example ACTEWAGL or TAMS. Entity advice may be supplied with the development application at the time it is lodged, or plans or other information as required by the entity may be submitted with the development application for us to refer to the entity.

If entity advice is provided in writing at the time the development application is lodged:

  • it must have been given less than six months before the lodgement date and
  • the application does not need to be referred if we are satisfied the applicant has adequately consulted with the entity.

Public notification

Merit track development applications must be publicly notified. The Planning and Development Act Regulation determines whether a development application undergoes major or minor notification.

Further information requests

We may ask an applicant at any time for further information that is essential to assess a development application. The request must:

  • be in writing
  • advise the applicant by when the information must be provided – 20 working days unless otherwise prescribed.

If we request further information within 10 working days from the lodgement date, the deadline for making a decision on the development application can be extended by the number of days it takes the applicant to provide the information.

What is considered during assessment

The following is a summary of what a decision-maker must consider when assessing a merit track development application:

  • objectives for the zone
  • suitability of the land for the development
  • probable impact of the development, including environmental impact.

When a merit track cannot be approved

A merit track development application must not be approved if the proposal is inconsistent with:

  • the relevant code of the Territory Plan
  • any land management agreement for the land, if it is in a rural lease
  • the related advice of the Conservator of Flora and Fauna, if the proposal will affect a registered tree or declared site or
  • any advice given by an entity, unless the decision-maker is satisfied that any applicable guidelines and any realistic alternative to the proposed development has been considered and the decision is consistent with the objects of the Territory Plan.

Assessment timeframes

The statutory time period for making a decision on a merit track development application is:

  • 30 working days after the lodgement date if no representations are made or
  • 45 working days after the lodgement date if representations are made.

A development application is not considered lodged until full payment of fees is made.