Under the Queensland Planning Act 2016 there are two ways a development approval can be amended or changed. The processes are either a “Minor Change” or an “Other Change”.
There has been a trend that matters which councils would previously have dealt with through written advice, or as being generally in accordance with a development approval, are now typically required to be dealt with as a Minor Change. As the test for “substantially different development” is subjective, there has also been a trend that with lots of matters now being assessed as an Other Change rather than a minor one.
A “Minor Change” must not result in “substantially different development”. The key issues the Act considers, which would not make it a Minor Change, are:
the inclusion of prohibited development in the application
referral to a referral agency (other than SARA) if there were no referral agencies originally
referral to extra referral agencies (other than SARA) than originally required
a referral agency to assess the application against, or have regard to, matters prescribed by regulation under section 55(2), other than matters the referral agency must have assessed the application against, or have had regard to, when the application was made
public notification if public notification was not required for the development application.
What is substantially different development?
Schedule 1 of the Development Assessment (DA) Rules outlines it as follows:
An assessment manager or responsible entity may determine that the change is a minor change to a development application or development approval, where – amongst other criteria – a minor change is a change that would not result in ‘substantially different’ development.
An assessment manager or responsible entity must determine if the proposed change would result in substantially different development for a change—
(a) made to a proposed development application the subject of a response given under section 57(3) of the Act (response before application) and a properly made application;
(b) made to a development application in accordance with part 6;
(c) made to a development approval after the appeal period.
In determining whether the proposed change would result in substantially different development, the assessment manager or referral agency must consider the individual circumstances of the development, in the context of the change proposed.
A change may be considered to result in a substantially different development if any of the following apply to the proposed change:
(a) involves a new use; or
(b) results in the application applying to a new parcel of land; or
(c) dramatically changes the built form in terms of scale, bulk and appearance; or
(d) changes the ability of the proposed development to operate as intended;29 or
(e) removes a component that is integral to the operation of the development; or
(f) significantly impacts on traffic flow and the transport network, such as increasing traffic to the site; or
(g) introduces new impacts or increase the severity of known impacts; or
(h) removes an incentive or offset component that would have balanced a negative impact of the development; or
(i) impacts on infrastructure provisions.
How long does changing a development approval take?
A Minor Change application takes 20 business days to be assessed by council or the referral agency whereas an Other Change takes the usual development application processing time.
An Other Change can deal with a wide range of alterations to a development approval including adding or removing approved land uses and even adding additional land to the area which the development approval covers. An Other Change application follows the same development assessment process that a new development application would follow, including public notification where applicable. The only difference is that the applicant would receive a changed development approval instead of a new development approval.
When is public notification required?
Public notification does not apply to a minor change application as it is deemed to not result in substantially different development with the assumption that a third party would not have any input. Minor Change applications can also relate to code assessable development so public notification would not apply in any case if a new development application were to be submitted to deal with the changed development.
Public notification is required if the development proposed – including the changes – would require impact assessment if it were to be considered as a new development application at the time of lodgement. However, if the other change would have been considered a Minor Change other than by virtue of there being additional referral agencies, public notification is not required
If you are considering changing a development approval and would like to discuss further please contact our Director, Aaron Sweet via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 017 540.