What is a local environmental plan?

Local Environmental Plans guide planning decisions for local government areas. They do this through zoning and development controls, which provide a framework for the way land can be used. LEPs are the main planning tool to shape the future of communities and also ensure local development is done appropriately.

What is the process for local environmental plan amendments?

The five steps in the process are as follows, we are at step three :

1.  The planning proposal- the relevant authority prepares the planning proposal, which justifies the need for the development.  If started by the Minister (rather than the local council which is mostly the case), the Minister can appoint the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment or a joint regional planning panel to be the relevant planning authority. 

2.  Gateway- the Minister (or delegate) decides whether the planning proposal is justified to go ahead to the next stage. At this point further studies are done and resources are allocated to the preparation of a plan. Consultations occur with relevant public authorities and, if necessary, the proposal is changed. A decision on whether the relevant council is able to finalise particular types of LEPs is also determined at this stage.

3.  Community consultation- the proposal is publicly exhibited for a minimum of 14 days or 28 days. A person making a submission may also request a public hearing be held. 

4.  Assessment- the relevant planning authority reviews public submissions. Parliamentary Counsel then prepares a draft local environmental plan.

5.  Decision- with the Minister’s (or delegate’s) approval, the local environmental plan becomes law and is published on the NSW legislation website.