Frequently asked questions

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By default, your submission will be published on Council’s application tracking system and be used in assessing the application.

In making your submission, you may choose to remain anonymous, however this needs to be clearly stated in bold at the beginning of your submission (or at the top of the front page) that you request Council to have all personal information redacted from your submission before it is made public or provided to any third party.

Please note that, should there be a need to substantiate matters contained in a submission made by you, anonymous submissions may be given less weight (or no weight) in the consideration of the matter.

You should also be aware concerns raised in your submission will not be responded to individually but will be considered as part of the assessment. Council takes no responsibility for comments of a personal or defamatory nature contained in submissions.

Prior to making a submission, please read the Privacy Notification disclaimer available on application tracking system webpage or as quoted below:

Privacy Notification - Information provided to Council in correspondence, submissions or requests (verbal, electronic or written), including personal information such as your name and address, may be made publicly available, including via Council website, in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPA Act) 2009. Council reserves the right to reproduce in whole or in part any correspondence or submission.

Only the applicant can appeal against a Council decision on a DA. Appeals can be made when:

  • the application is refused;
  • the conditions of consent are disputed; or
  • the application is not determined within 40 days from the date it was lodged with Council.

For a more detailed description of the appeals process, please read the DA Appeals section in the Land and Environment Court Guide.

Appeals should be lodged with the Land and Environment Court. You can visit their website to download the correct forms to lodge an appeal. You will also need to provide them with originals and copies of your development application form, plans and copies of Willoughby’s Notice of Determination if required. There will be a filing fee.

Once your paperwork is processed you must send a copy of the sealed documents provided to you by Willoughby City Council. The applicant is generally known as the appellant while Council is known as the respondent. Once the appeal is lodged, Council’s decision is set aside and the Court becomes the approval body unless you and Council reach an agreement and settle.

When a DA is submitted to Council, the owners of properties likely to be affected by the development are notified by Council and invited to come and inspect the detailed plans and documents at Council’s Customer Service Centre or on this website under Development, DA Online Enquiry. The letter contains details needed in order to comment on the development, including the name and contact details of the responsible Council Officer and the application number.

A sign is also placed at the front of the land subject to the DA. Applications are also advertised in the local newspaper and are listed on Council’s website.

After inspecting the application you can make a submission setting out any concerns you may have, or indicating why you believe the application should be approved or refused by Council. You do not have to make a submission, it’s entirely optional.

Submissions must be made in writing, addressed to:
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Willoughby City Council
P.O. Box 57
Chatswood NSW 2057

Or emailed to

All submissions will be published on Council's Application Tracking System.

Quote the application number and address of the proposed development. You may wish to provide a telephone number so Council can contact you about your submission if necessary. You can use photos or sketches to make your concerns clearer.

If you make a submission and have made a reportable political donation or gift to a Councillor or Council Officer within 2 years before making the submission, you must attach a completed disclosure statement. Read more about political donations.

Some matters that often come up in submissions include; views, overshadowing, privacy, streetscape, size of the proposed structure, landscaping, car parking, noise, drainage and heritage. This is not an exhaustive list and not every matter is relevant to every application.

Council will acknowledge it has received your submission in the DA report. If you have specific questions or concerns you want to discuss, please contact the Council Officer responsible for the DA. Council staff will inspect the site, consider received submissions and assess the development proposal in relation to Council’s policies and other statutory requirements.

Contact the responsible Officer if you want to know what is happening with an application.

Please remember that all submissions received, including the names and addresses of the persons making submissions, can be accessed by any person.

The supply of personal information is entirely voluntary; however, if matters raised in an anonymous submission need to be substantiated, these submissions may be given less or no weight when considering the application.

Under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, you may access or amend your personal information.

Please note: No 10.7 certificates will be issued from Friday 30 June 2023 until further notice to enable updating of council systems following the making of the new LEP.

Firstly, you need to find out which zoning applies to your property. This can be determined by reviewing the Willoughby Local Environment Plan 2012 (WLEP 2012).

You can find out zoning through the following:

  • maps attached to Willoughby Local Environment Plan 2012
  • relevant planning maps at Council’s Customer Service Centre
  • a current 10.7 Certificate

Zonings are broken up into the different prefixes, for example Residential is R and Business is B. Within each of these types there is a hierarchy of intensity which can be located in the WLEP 2012.

You will also need to determine whether your property is located within a bushfire prone area or whether the site is affected by heritage controls or flooding. There are also a number of other controls that may apply. This information can be found through the following:

  • a current 10.7 certificate (zoning certificates)
  • maps attached to Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012.
  • the relevant planning maps at Council’s Customer Service Centre
  • Floodplain management details on Councils website.

The next step is to determine if your development is permissible and find out what approvals are necessary.

Works approved as part of a development consent must be commenced within five years from the date shown as the commencement date, unless otherwise stated. The lapse date will also be printed on the consent. Even if you choose to modify your Development Consent, the commencement and lapse dates do not change.

The same period of five years applies to works approved in a Complying Development Certificate.

These are the steps that you should follow when preparing a DA:

  1. Find out what Local, State and Regional instruments, development control plans, policies, codes or guidelines that apply to your development and its site.
  2. Consider design issues, taking into account what surrounds the site. Review the objectives of controls and legislation and prepare a concept proposal.
  3. If applicable, contact the Customer Service Centre to organise a pre-DA meeting with a Development Assessment Officer to discuss your proposal and identify issues or areas of non-compliance.
  4. Talk with your neighbours to see if they have any issues with your proposal. If possible, amend your proposal to address their concerns.
  5. Prepare your DA plans, technical reports and Statement of Environmental Effects.
  6. Complete the appropriate DA application form and relevant Checklist, providing all required information. Lodge the application at the Customer Service Centre.

Please note: If you make an application and have made a reportable political donation or gift to a Councillor or Council Officer within 2 years before making the submission, you must attach a completed disclosure statement. Read more


WLEP 2012 allocates land for specific purposes, and lays out rules for things such as building height, floor space ratio and more. The controls must be complied with.

State Government planning instruments may also apply. These include Sydney Regional Environmental Plans (SREP) and State Environment Planning Policies (SEPP).

Council’s Willoughby Development Control Plan (WDCP) provides more detail on matters like access, car parking, setbacks and heritage. Council has the discretion to vary the controls under special circumstances because the WDCP cannot anticipate every possible situation and there may be cases where strict adherence to a control is unreasonable or unjustified.

Other Council codes and guidelines may be relevant depending on the type of activity being undertaken. If your DA doesn’t comply with a guideline, a variation may be considered if satisfactory justification is provided.

Incorporating sustainability in the design, deconstruction, building materials and resource use and ongoing operation of your development will add value to your property and create a better environment for its occupants. Benefits include a higher quality, healthier and more efficient and comfortable building. To find out more about incorporating sustainability into your development, particularly at the planning stage, please contact Council. The Sustainable Home Fact Sheet(PDF, 307KB)  has further information on designing and consructing an efficient and healthy building.

Most DAs follow similar steps during processing, so this guide applies to the majority of applications. Please note that these steps do not necessarily occur one after the other and usually overlap.

  1. The application is lodged and registered onto the computer system at Council’s Customer Service Centre if all documentation is considered adequate and complete.
  2. The application file is assembled and computer file created. A notification schedule is prepared, a yellow DA Notification sign is placed on site and the DA is included on the notification listing in the newspaper.
  3. The lodged documentation is checked by the Development Assessment Review Committee at their regular meeting. They may request more information, refer the DA to other officers and allocate a DA Assessment Officer. Each officer may have 20 to 30 applications at any one time. Details on which officer has been allocated your DA can be viewed in the DA Online enquiry in Councils website.
  4. The notification period of either 14 or 21 days begins. A preliminary assessment by the Assessment Officer, including a site inspection, is generally made within two to three weeks of lodgment. The applicant is advised of any issues and may be requested to consider amendments. (Please note, there is an extended notification period over the Christmas / New Year period.) If more information about your DA is needed you will be notified in writing and the assessment process is delayed until the additional information is received. This is known as “Stop the clock”.
  5. Those who are being notified receive a letter. Full supporting material is available for inspection at Council’s Customer Service Centre or on this website under Development/ Application Tracking
  6. The notified person decides whether or not to make a written submission. 
  7. The notification period closes and the Assessment Officer collects the advice of other officers, any submissions received and any extra information from the applicant. If  changes to the DA must be re-notified, then step 5 repeats.
    The Officer decides to either process the DA or to refer the application to the Willoughby Local Planning Panel. Officers have authority from Council to determine applications except when:
  8. The status of an application can be checked on Council’s website Application Tracking or contacting the Assessment Officer.
  9. The Assessment Officer discusses the proposal with the applicant to resolve any outstanding issues. They may request to visit the property to better understand a problem. The Officer may propose Conditions of Consent that require amendments to the proposal to address issues that the Officer feels must be dealt with before the proposal is approved (see Height Poles Policy(PDF, 186KB) ).
  10. The Assessment Officer finalises their assessment and prepares either a Delegated DA Report or a report to Willoughby Local Planning Panel (WLPP) or Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) - depending on the relevant determining authority based on legislative criteria. Reports will detail submissions received and any draft conditions of consent or reasons for refusal.

    Council will not contact individual correspondents to advise them when an application is to be determined. However, Council will inform via email to applicants and correspondents when the DA is for WLPP determination. WLPP meets on the last Tuesday of every month at 2pm. You can find out which applications are being considered at the next Panel meeting by ringing 9777 7675 after 12 noon the day before the meeting. A copy of the reports that go to WLPP meetings can be accessed the Tuesday before the meeting date.
  11. Delegated Decision: The Assessment Officer determines the application under delegated authority and issues a Notice of Determination to the applicant.

    WLPP Decision: The WLPP determines the application at the WLPP Meeting. Applicants can address the WLPP,

    A Notice of Determination is sent to the applicant. Your development consent is an important document and should be retained by you as the property owner.
  12. Correspondents are advised of the decision.
  13. The applicant can request a Review of the Determination (under section 8.2 of EPA Act), or apply for an amendment to the development consent under Section 4.55 of EPA Act 1979. A similar process to the DA process occurs for modification to a consent. The applicant can also appeal the decision to the Land and Environment Court. Correspondents have no general right of appeal.
  14. If the development consent is granted, the applicant applies to Council or a Certifier for a Construction Certificate in order to begin building.

Please note: If an application hasn’t been determined within 40 days of lodging, the applicant has the right of appeal to the Land and Environment Court. You are entitled to view the file under Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

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