Property, development and planning
Commonly asked questions and answers.
Building, development and compliance can be a difficult and daunting process to navigate if you're not sure what's required of you, which is why we're here to help.
Whether you've bought land in Maitland to build your dream home or are moving into a new or existing house which needs landscaping, renovating or just general improvements, check out the points below. They cover some of the most asked after topics when it comes to planning and development.
The exempt complying code lists typical things that can be built without council approval, like car port, deck or cubby house. It outlines the criteria and specifications under which a proposal can be classified as exempt. If your project is not listed under the exempt list it could be complying, meaning your proposal is in line with pre-determined development standards and can be certified without the need for a DA. For example a swimming pool. This 'fast tracked' process combines planning and construction approval, and requires you to lodge an application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) via the Planning Portal. If neither of these apply to your building or development plan than it is more than likely going to be classified as local, where your proposal doesn’t fit either exempt or complying criteria and generally you will need to lodge a Development Application via the Planning Portal.
The planning instruments Council utilise
It is important to understand the planning instruments in place that plays a significant part in your development application and what may or may not be permitted.
The Local Environmental Plan 2011 (LEP) is Council's primary land use planning tool. It is a legal instrument approved by the State Government detailing what you can and can't do on your land.
Whilst the Development Control Plan 2011 (DCP) is a policy document that provides information and controls relating to the design and planning of developments in conjunction with the LEP. All development applications will be assessed under the DCP.
Whilst there is a wealth of information available out there on building and development it can sometimes be a mind field, so we encourage you to talk to us especially if you are unsure about what is required for your building or development plans. Call our Duty Desk on 02 4934 9700 (available 8.30am to 12.30pm Monday to Friday at Council's Administration Building) who will provide advice and help you with what to do next.
Yet, you can always find information on our website about the steps involved when lodging an application, applying for property certificates online, development contributions, Council's online mapping tool and access to application forms and certificates.
Council performs swimming pool inspections in accordance with State legislation and the relevant Australian Standard.
- At least once every three years for any property providing tourist or visitor accommodation, or more than two dwellings.
- Where a property owner makes an application for an inspection.
- Where a property containing a swimming pool is being sold or leased (leased properties must reapply for a Certificate of Compliance every three years).
- Where Council has received a complaint about a swimming pool barrier.
You can arrange a pool inspection by submitting the completed swimming pool/spa barrier certificate of compliance form and paying the required fee to Council.
- Inspection fee is $145
- Re-inspection (one-off) fee is $100
- Application for exemption under Section 22 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 is $70.
Where an application for inspection (and any subsequent re-inspection) has been made and found to comply, then a Certificate of Compliance will be issued for the pool barrier, which is valid for three years.
Are you a pool owner? Find out more information regarding pool owner responsibilities or what you need to know if you are renting or leasing a property with a pool or spa? or selling a property with a pool or spa? Or perhaps you are wanting to put in a pool? Find out more on development consent for pools.
Trees within Maitland are protected under the Maitland Local Environmental Plan, 2011 and a formal tree removal application is required to remove or lop a tree if your
- Land is zoned R5 Large Lot Residential
RE1 Public Recreation
RE2 Private Recreation
E4 Environmental Living
E3 Environmental Management,
- Land is zoned R1 General Residential, and is located within an Urban Release Area (Info on Urban Release Areas can be found within the DCP - Part F), and has an area greater than 1000m2,
- Clause 5.10 – Heritage Conservation in the Maitland LEP 2011 is applicable (Heritage Conservation Area or Heritage item),
- The tree is to be retained as a condition of development consent to the land, 88B Restriction or landscape buffer or the like,
- The tree is listed on the Development Control Plan - Table 1 (Significant Tree Register), which can be found under Part B.5 - Tree Management. If consent is required, applications must address all relevant provisions under Part B5 of the Maitland Development Control Plan (DCP) 2011.
Maitland has over 200 heritage items and six conservation areas. You can find information in regards to what legislative requirements are in place in the Maitland Local Environment Plan (2011), under Schedule 5 Environmental Heritage. There is also a detailed policy for the management of heritage items and conservations areas in the Development Control Plan (DCP).
When engaging with this type of expertise and skilled work area, an experienced trades person can be a vital investment. If you're not sure where to start, accessing the Heritage Trades Directory could set you on your way. We have also developed the Residential Colour Scheme Guidelines to provide some context to choosing appropriate heritage colour schemes.
You can view more on heritage conservation matters and the local heritage fund, which offers annual dollar for dollar grants to assist in the conservation of heritage buildings and places in Maitland.
If you can not find the information you are after and are unsure what can and can't be done where a heritage listed property is concerned it is always best to first speak with Council's Town Planner for advice on 02 4934 9700 (available 8:30am to 12:30pm Monday to Friday).
Most boundary fences can be built without Council approval providing they comply with the conditions of the State Governments exempt development code and provided the lot is not identified as subject to flood controls, or heritage restrictions. View our fences page for further details and specifications.
When it comes to the replacement of fences, it is a shared cost between neighbours, as set out in the Dividing Fences Act, 1991.
Information about the law on dividing fences and boundary disputes can be found at the NSW Government LawAssist website. LawAssist can help you if:
- you want to build, fix or replace a dividing fence
- you have a disagreement with your neighbour about a dividing fence
- you have a disagreement with your neighbour about where the common boundary between your properties is.
LawAssist has a free call number for legal help 1300 888 529.