The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has enacted further emergency changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The changes recognise the difficulties and disruptions experienced by landowners to commence building works for existing development consents by extending lapsing periods for development consent, extending the period for existing land use rights and extending appeal periods on determinations.
DPIE advise the changes include:
- Consents granted before 25 March 2020 will be extended by 2 years and all consents granted since 25 March 2020 will have a lapsing period of 5 years (which cannot be varied during the pandemic period).
- Property owners relying on existing and continuing use rights who are forced to stop using their property during the pandemic will now have 3 years to resume, instead of 1 year
- Appeal periods for merit appeals to the courts have been doubled to provide more flexibility for applicants and the community.
- Investigation officers are now able to conduct interviews for compliance investigations using phone or video link to allow for social distancing.
The changes are temporary and expected to be repealed once economic conditions improve. Permanent changes were also made to clarify the meaning of commencement of works.
In addition, a separate round of amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 has removed the requirement for development applications to be notified in a local newspaper. Instead, Councils are required to notify development applications on their website, a practice which Mosman Council has undertaken for several years through our DA Tracker.