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Pre DA Consultation Guidelines released

Effective -Wednesday 8 November 2017

Pre DA community consultation is an opportunity for developers of significant developments to involve the community in the early stages of a proposal.

The ACT Government understands that early and effective community engagement can significantly benefit the planning and development outcome of a project and allows for genuine feedback to be incorporated into the design of a proposal prior to lodging a DA.

Pre DA community consultation guidelines provide both the community and developers with greater certainty as to what the community and Government considers and expects as good engagement practice.

Pre DA community consultation guidelines set out the minimum engagement requirements for developers where the proposal is for developments that meet one of these triggers:

  • building for residential use with 3 or more storeys and 15 or more dwellings
  • a building with a gross floor area of more than 5000 m²
  • if the development proposal is for more than 1 building—the buildings have a total gross floor area of more than 7000 m²
  • a building or structure more than 25 metres above finished ground level
  • a variation of a lease to remove its concessional status.

The guidelines require the developer to make a site plan, indicative floor plans, elevations, perspectives, landscaping plans and the proposed materials and finishes to be made available for the public to view online on the proponent’s website or another appropriate location.

The guidelines also require the developer to conduct face-to-face engagement sessions that are accessible by a diverse cross-section of the community. Check out current Pre DA community engagements.

Snapshot of the guidelines

The planning and land authority requires, at a minimum, the developer undertake the following:

  1. Ensure the community is informed about the consultation process and consulted on the proposal.
  2. Target a diverse demographic (age, gender, race, religion, physical abilities)
  3. Make available to the community conceptual drawings
  4. Make available all relevant documentation online
  5. Conduct face-to-face engagement sessions that are accessible by a diverse cross-section of the community.

What’s happening now?

The Pre DA consultation Guidelines came into effect on Wednesday 8 November 2017.

What happens next?

The ACT Government will undertake a 12-24 month implementation review.

Guidelines

The planning and land authority requires, at a minimum, the developer to:

  1. ensure the community is informed about the consultation process and consulted on the proposal
  2. engage with a diverse demographic (age, gender, race, religion, physical abilities)
  3. make available to the community conceptual drawings
  4. make available online all relevant documentation
  5. conduct face-to-face engagement sessions with a diverse cross-section of the community.

Benefits

Effective community engagement at the initial stage of a proposal can help identify potential issues before they arise, build community partnerships and support for the project, encourage innovation and will help the final assessment process knowing that potential issues have been identified and addressed. All this said, effective community engagement can bring about greater community/developer unity, greater time efficiencies and cost savings in the long run.

Requirements?

Yes, currently developers must engage the community on significant developments when:

  • building for residential use with 3 or more storeys and 15 or more dwellings
  • a building with a gross floor area of more than 5000m²
  • if the development proposal is for more than 1 building—the buildings have a total gross floor area of more than 7 000m²
  • a building or structure more than 25m above finished ground level
  • a variation of a lease to remove its concessional status.

As part of their development application submission, they must demonstrate to what extent they have engaged the community and the methods they have undertaken. This has been largely unguided, to the discretion of the proponent and required limited evidence.

The guidelines provide the community and developers greater clarity of what constitutes effective community engagement, what is best practice methodology and how to achieve shared outcomes. More information is available on the fact sheet.

Legal requirement

No...Pre DA community consultation does not form part of the statutory public notification process that is undertaken by the planning and land authority in accordance with the Planning and Development Act 2007.

However Pre DA consultation by the developer is required under Section 138AE of the Planning and Development Act 2007 (the Act) for significant developments. Section 20A of the Planning and Development Regulations 2008 outlines what is considered a prescribed development (see above).

For proposals that generate significant community interest, the Planning Minister can reject the proposal and request a comprehensive community engagement be undertaken.