Exempt and complying development

Under the planning system, certain low impact or routine development can be classified as exempt or complying development and not require development consent. These terms are defined as follows: 

Exempt development is development that has minimal environmental impacts which, if it complies with the relevant provisions in a planning instrument, can be carried out without the need for development consent. 

Complying development is development that, if it meets pre-determined development standards, can be quickly approved. A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) application needs to be lodged with a certifying authority (Council officer or a private certifier). These applications are to be determined within 10 days (unless both parties agree to an extension).

Under the council's LEP, uses undertaken as part of an Empty Space Project may be listed as exempt or complying development.  

In addition, under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP), these projects (in part or whole) may also fall under exempt or complying development.  

The Codes SEPP ensures that certain changes of use or internal fit outs applying to retail, business or light industry premises, can be considered as either exempt or complying development provided the current use is a lawful use or the use is permissible in the relevant land use zone under the LEP.  This information is available from the relevant local council.   

Where the change of use is exempt development, no approval is required.  Where the change of use is complying development, this will be assessed by a certifying authority (council officer or private certifier), with a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) issued in 10 days. In addition to change of use considerations and basic development exemptions, it is important to note that if a proposal is intending to sell and handle food the appropriate food safety license must be obtained.