In New South Wales, property information such as land zoning is listed on a property’s section 149 certificate, which can be obtained from council for a fee. S149 certificates are usually included in the contract for sale, but should only be relied upon if recently dated, as zoning and planning controls can change. It is important to note that you will need a copy of your s149 certificate if you proceed with development. However, if you are a property developer investigating many sites or a landowner seeking quick answers outside of council office hours, obtaining a s149 certificate may not be practical for you in the first instance.
The planning professionals at The Design Partnership can quickly source information on any site within New South Wales, find out what uses are allowed on that site, and whether there are any potential problems such as flooding. Here we’ll share a few of our most commonly used free resources.
NSW Planning and Environment Property Enquiry
A good place to start is with this relatively new search tool by the NSW Department of Planning & Environment. It covers a large percentage of the state and provides property information such as Lot and Plan numbers, land size (which should be verified with a survey before a development proceeds), and the name of the local council. It also lists planning constraints such as land zoning, building height, flood prone land and heritage items, and provides links to relevant legislation.
Instructions: enter the property address in the search bar, wait a few seconds for suggested addresses to appear, then click the correct address.
Local Council Mapping Systems
Sometimes a property may not appear on the above search, perhaps if a site was a “deferred matter” when the local council created their Local Environmental Plan and is therefore covered by an older planning instrument. In cases like this, check the local council’s website for a mapping system. For example, Gosford Council’s mapping system is located here and includes both the current LEP and the older zones.
Instructions: each system is different but as a general rule, enter the property address in the search bar, wait a few seconds for suggested addresses to appear, then click the correct address.
NSW Legislation Maps
Some councils don’t have an online mapping system; in this case, you will need to refer to the planning maps published on the NSW Legislation website. You will need to know the name of the council area in which the land is located and look up that council’s Local Environmental Plan. This can be quite a time consuming process as you need to first work out which map tile your property is located on, and then find your property on the map.
Instructions: click ‘Browse’ on the top menu bar, then under EPIs (Environmental Planning Instruments) click the first letter of the council you’re looking for, then click the correct LEP in the list.
Example – Sydney Opera House
Begin typing ‘Sydney Opera House’ into the Property Enquiry above and click on it when it appears. You should see a page featuring the below map, which shows that the site is zoned B8 Metropolitan Centre. This page will also provide information on permitted uses, building heights, heritage and the like, and links to legislation.
City of Sydney doesn’t have it’s own standalone mapping system, but it does have this map, which directs users to the correct piece of legislation (there are many layers of planning controls in Sydney). Sydney Opera House is governed by Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012. You can find the LEP zoning maps on the NSW Legislation website as shown below.
The planning maps on the NSW Legislation website can be downloaded in PDF format. The site of the Sydney Opera House is shown below. As you can see, these maps are often clearer as they are not overlaid onto base maps such as Google Maps.
We hope that the above information helps you to carry out your own preliminary enquiries on development sites. Please note that this post was written in April 2016 and planning resources are subject to change. If you require assistance, contact your local council or click here to contact The Design Partnership.