Development Application Guide

Step 1 – Check if Council approval is required

Before you undertake any development or building works, you will need to determine what approvals are required.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 defines development as:

  • the use of land, and
  • the subdivision of land, and
  • the erection of a building, and
  • the carrying out of a work, and
  • the demolition of a building or work
  • any other act, matter or thing controlled by an environmental planning instrument.

Certain types of minor development may be carried out as Exempt or Complying Development. All other development will require a Development Application to be submitted to Council.

Exempt Development

Exempt development is development that complies with specified criteria. It is of a minor nature and may be carried out without Council consent subject to compliance with specific requirements and limitations.

For this type of development to be carried out without consent, all of the criteria and requirements specified in the relevant planning instrument must be met, including compliance with the Building Code of Australia. If any of the criteria cannot be fully met, a complying certificate or development approval must be obtained before carrying out the work or development.

Complying Development

Complying development is development that has a greater impact than the exempt development types, but is still considered to have minor environmental impact on neighbourhood amenity which can be addressed by predetermined development criteria.

Complying development is a combined planning and construction approval for straightforward development that can be determined by Council or a private accredited certifier.

Exempt and Complying Development is specified under:

If proposal meets the Exempt Development criteria, Council approval is not required, however it is suggested that you inform Council in writing of your proposal.

If proposal meets the Complying Development criteria, then approval is required. Approval can be issued by an Accredited Certifier or Council. If approval is sought from Council the following application form should be used:

If proposal does not meet Exempt or Complying Development criteria, then proceed to the next step.

Step 2 – Consult Mosman LEP and DCPs

If the proposal does not meet Exempt or Complying Development criteria, then you need to consult the following Mosman Council documents:

Local Environmental Plan
Development Control Plans

These documents contain planning controls and requirements for development in Mosman.

Step 3 – Consult Neighbours and Meet with Council Staff

Council encourages you to consult with neighbours to provide an opportunity to accommodate any reasonable concerns. Consulting neighbours can improve the development application process if neighbours have an understanding of the proposal before the Development Application is lodged.

It is recommended that before submitting the Development Application you meet with Council staff and discuss the proposal. This will provide opportunity to seek input from council staff about your proposal before preparing detailed plans. Meetings with Council staff can take one of two forms:

Informal meeting

Informal meetings can provide a general indication as to whether the proposal meets the objectives of the planning controls in Mosman, and can identify issues that need to be addressed in the Development Application. No written feedback will be provided.

Formal prelodgement meeting

Council offers a formal prelodgement meeting service for a fee.

Advantages of a formal prelodgement meeting

Mosman Council provides a formal prelodgement meeting service to potential applicants to ensure they are aware of the relevant standards, codes and policies against which a proposal will be assessed. The discussion held with council staff at the prelodgement meeting will be documented and written feedback will be provided. The amount of input given by staff depends on the amount and quality of information that you are able to provide. If you decide to go ahead and lodge your application, staff will refer to the prelodgement meeting minutes as part of the assessment process.

What can I expect from a formal prelodgement meeting?

A prelodgement meeting gives you:

  • an understanding of issues that might cause delay, need further consideration, have some sensitivity or cause concern;
  • knowledge about what information, plans, drawings or technical reports you need to lodge with your development application;
  • an understanding of the permissibility of your proposal and the relevant development standards, controls and policies;
  • a meeting with at least two assessment staff;
  • a meeting date arranged within ten (10) days after lodgement; and
  • written feedback outlining the description of site and proposal discussed as well as an outline of any issues or concerns raised by the proposal.

Important note: Attending a prelodgement meeting and addressing concerns and comments made does not imply that the development will gain development consent. The views of the community, internal specialists and other government authorities are not able to be taken into account in the prelodgement process.

How do I arrange a formal prelodgement meeting?

Complete the prelodgement application form. Lodge the form with the applicable fee and any plans and supporting documentation you have prepared.

The prelodgement application will be allocated to an officer who will call you to arrange a site inspection and meeting time.

What do I supply with a prelodgement meeting?

It is important to be prepared for the prelodgement meeting. You will need to have an outline of what is being proposed. The amount of input given by staff depends on the amount and quality of information that you are able to provide. Useful material includes:

  • concept plans and survey plan;
  • general information covering what you hope to achieve on the site and how you propose to address any likely impacts on the local area; and
  • details about the site and adjoining development.
Prelodgement meeting fee schedule
The following charges apply to formal prelodgement meetings:
Cost of WorkFee
Up to $1,200,000 $1,200
$1,200,001 to $2,500,000 $2,000
$2,500,001 to $5,000,000$3,000

Step 4 – What to submit with an Application

  • See also Section 2 of the RDCP or BCDCP

Development Applications must contain all necessary information as described in Section 2 of the DCPs.

  • DA Fee Estimator – an Excel spreadsheet to help you calculate the fees payable

The following information MUST be provided with all development applications (further information is provided in Section 2 of the RDCP or BCDCP):

  • CD or USB with each plan and document required as a separate PDF in Adobe format;
  • scaled architectural plans including site plan, elevations and sectional details;
  • site analysis plan;
  • survey plan;
  • reduced A4 plans for notification (10 copies);
  • landscape plans and calculations;
  • concept drainage plans (which may require installation of an on-* site detention system and/or the creation of an easement through adjoining property/ies); and
  • shadow diagrams.

The following information is to be provided with Development Applications if applicable:

  • Architectural model – mandatory if the value of the work is above $1.3 million;
  • Statement of Heritage Impact – if the property is heritage affected;
  • Traffic and Parking Impact Study – commercial and multi-residential development;
  • Building Code of Australia (BCA) – particularly for development where BCA requirements may affect the design of the building;
  • Acoustic report – where the proposal has the potential to generate a noise impact and residential development on Spit and Military Roads;
  • Where works are classified as Integrated Development additional documentation and fees are required to forward the proposal to the relevant Government authorities, such as NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service – contact Council for more information about Integrated Development;
  • Arborist report;
  • Schedule of finishes for new buildings;
  • Geotechnical report; and
  • BASIX Certificate – for further information visit the BASIX website

Within 14 days of receipt, Council staff will check the application for completeness.

If any information required in the checklist is missing, the application will be rejected and returned, accompanied by a letter outlining the information required.

Otherwise, the application will be officially lodged and the assessment process will begin.

Step 5 – Lodging an Application

Council has established a Development Application lodgement process aimed at reducing waiting times and assisting applicants with the submission of their applications. This process is applicable to all Development Applications and Section 96 Applications.

Applicant submissions are lodged directly with the Development Services team for review. On provision of the documents, the applicant will receive an acknowledge email and reference number. Staff will then undertake a pre-lodgement review of the documents submitted within 14 days.

If the documentation is found to be in order, Council will calculate and advise the applicant via email of the required fee and the application reference number. The fee can be paid in person at Council, by mail or by online payment. On payment of the fee the application will be formally lodged, a tax invoice/receipt will be sent to the applicant, and the assessment of the application will commence. Once payment is received the applicant can be tracked on Council’s DA Tracker, where the name and phone number of the assessment officer will be available.

Where the documentation is found to be deficient and it can’t be readily remedied, the submission will be returned to the applicant to address the identified shortcomings.

Step 6 – Public Notification and Submissions

Applications are notified in accordance with the relevant Development Control Plan. Notification of proposals runs for 14 days:

  • a notice is erected on the site;
  • a letter describing the proposal is sent to affected neighbours;
  • the proposal is listed in Council’s Column in the Mosman Daily and the Public Notices page on this website; and
  • subject to privacy requirements, copies of plans associated documents are made publicly available in hard copy and on the DA Tracker.

During the notification period the following is available to assist you in making a submission:

  • The DA Tracker contains all relevant details of the proposal, including plans.
  • Hard copies of the documents lodged with the application can be viewed at the Civic Centre and Mosman Library during normal business hours (Public Holidays excepted).

If you make a submission please remember:

  • You should inspect the plans and read the accompanying information so you are clear on the details. Mostly, the applicant will be your neighbour or their architect so you may be able to clarify detail or resolve any concerns by discussing it with them.
  • Development assessment involves a process of mutual adjustment between your legitimate concerns and the reasonable development rights of the applicant. Council has to evaluate both within a statutory planning framework and in many cases no party will be totally satisfied. This is the nature of the process.
  • Council is interested in what your issues are with the DA. These are best expressed in your own words and need not rely on lengthy references to provisions of planning instruments (LEPs and DCPs) – references which may obscure real issues.
  • Council staff are available to assist you with interpretation of DA documents and general enquiries during the notification period; however, detailed explanation of the applicant’s intent can best be obtained from the applicant direct.
  • Staff do not reply to questions posed in written submissions but cover issues as part of the DA assessment.

How to make a submission

Make a submission by email to or in writing to the General Manager, PO Box 211, Spit Junction NSW 2088.


Submissions will be acknowledged by email or letter by post.


The supply of personal contact information in a submission is voluntary pursuant to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. By including your contact information in a submission you are acknowledging that it will be made available for public view at Council offices and through the Council website.

Disclosure requirements

If you have given a gift or made a donation to a Councillor, an employee or an approved contractor of Mosman Council within the past two (2) years, by law you must include a disclosure statement with your submission.

Assessment and Decisions

When considering a DA the assessment officer will have regard to:

  • Statutory requirements under the Act;
  • Adopted policies of Council; and
  • Issues raised in written submissions.

Some applications are determined under delegated authority of Council whilst others are determined by the Mosman Development Assessment Panel (MDAP). The MDAP is an independent hearing and assessment panel with membership consisting of a lawyer, planner, environmental expert and community member. The panel meets at 10.30a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the Civic Centre and the public are welcome to attend the hearings.

If the application is to be referred to the MDAP for determination you will not be notified in writing. Instead, you are invited to either:

  • Register for Notify Me on the DA Tracker and receive emailed notification if an application is referred to MDAP for determination.
  • Check Council website’s Development Application page; or
  • Phone the agenda hotline on 9978 4122 to confirm what matters are listed on the MDAP Agenda.

When a final determination is made all people who made a submission are informed of the outcome. The Assessment Report and Notice of Determination are made available on the DA Tracker.

Note: any written submission made regarding a Development Application will be available for the public to access via the DA Tracker.

Step 7 – Determination: Decisions, Delegations and Meetings

Development Applications can be determined by planning staff under delegated authority.

Throughout the assessment process an Applicant may be asked for additional information to enable staff to make a determination on an application. This information must be provided as requested within the required timeframe, or the application may be refused.

Applications will be referred to Mosman Development Assessment Panel (MDAP) for determination if:

  1. unresolved objections from three or more properties are received;
  2. unresolved objections relating to view loss of the Harbour or scenic landmarks (i.e. the Heads, Opera House or Harbour Bridge) are received;
  3. the applicant or owner is Mosman Council, a Councillor or staff member of Mosman Council;
  4. the application involves a Clause 4.6 variation greater than 10 percent to a development standard contained in MLEP 2012;
  5. the application involves works between the foreshore and the foreshore building line;
  6. the application has at least one objection from a property owner that shares a side boundary and there is non-compliance with the minimum side setback requirement of the DCP and/or the development would extend beyond the rear alignment of that same adjoining neighbour’s building;
  7. the application is a review of determination under s.82A and 96AB;
  8. the application is a modification of development consent under S.96(2) and 96AA where the terms of (1) (2) (3) and (5) above apply;
  9. Council’s General Manager, Director Environment and Planning or Manager Development Services considers the application should be brought before the MDAP.

The determination of Applications for Development Consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that involve public land, Crown land where Mosman Council is the reserve trust manager, or an unmade road zoned RE1 or E2 under Mosman LEP2012, or land owned by a public authority as defined in the Local Government Act 1993 will be referred to Council for determination.

A Development Application will be referred to the Sydney North Planning Panel for determination if the application involves regionally significant development. Further information can be found on the Greater Sydney Commission website.

Mosman Development Assessment Panel (MDAP)

The MDAP is an independent hearing and assessment panel with a delegation to make final and independent determinations on development applications that are referred to it.

MDAP will meet at least 10 times each year on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 10.30am and minutes of meetings will be publicly available by 9.00am on the day immediately following the meeting.

A report is prepared by planning staff detailing all factors considered in the assessment of the application and containing a recommendation. This report is available two weeks before the meeting. You can also check the Meetings Infoline on 9978 4122 for a listing of items on the Agenda.

Further information regarding MDAP, including the agenda and decisions can be found .

Step 8 – Complying with Consent, Issue of Construction Certificate

Once a development consent is issued it must be complied with prior to the issue of a Construction Certificate. Construction Certificates must be issued by Council or an Accredited Certifier before construction commences. Refer to the Building Professionals Board for further detail in relation to the role of Accredited Certifiers.

Step 9 – Construction and the Principal Certifying Authority

A Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is required to inspect the building work during the course of construction to ensure compliance with the relevant standards. This PCA may be the Council or from private enterprise. Council must be notified who the PCA is at least 2 days before work commences.


For details of accreditation of appropriate professionals see the Building Professionals Board .