Unauthorised Land Use

Council relies on the community to make complaints about unauthorised use or activity.

Providing Council with evidence to assist in enforcing action is appreciated. 

An unauthorised development use or activity is one that has been or is being carried out:

  • Without a required development consent, approval, permission or license.
  • Not following the terms or conditions of a development consent, approval, permission or license – for example, operating outside of approved hours, inadequate off-street car parking, inadequate landscaping etc. 
  • Contrary to an environmental planning instrument that regulates the developments or activities that can be carried out on particular land – for example, doing industrial activity from home, heavy industry in a light industrial area. 
  • Contrary to a legislative provision regulating a particular development or activity.

Council’s compliance action in the case of unauthorised developments or activities will involve one or more of the following types of response:

  • No action – for activity that is a technical breach only, when there is a lack of evidence, when no action is justified by the public interest or some other appropriate reason.
  • Education – educating people on Council requirements where the unauthorised activity or development will cease immediately without any likelihood of reoccurrence. For example, noise complaints are easily resolved more informally through education. 
  • Negotiation - advising the person responsible as to the nature of the breach and Council requirements, followed up by a letter with expectations and responsibilities reinforced.
  • Await Determination of Approval - This option is particularly relevant where it is likely that the development or activity could gain consent (approval). 
  • Infringement Notice - Council may issue of a Penalty Notice. There are a number of Penalty Notice offences under NSW Planning Law for development or activity carried out without development consent. 
  • Notices/Orders - Council may issue a “Notice of Intention to Serve an Order” or notice under the relevant legislation followed by, subject to the outcome of any representations made, service of an appropriate Order or Notice.
  • Injunction - Council may start court action seeking injunctive relief to prevent a breach from continuing or occurring. This is generally an action of last resort or considered to be sufficiently serious usually and will generally be preceded by at least a letter of warning that Council intends to take the action.