New Regulations push local contributions and leave DA’s in limbo

Key Points
  • New EP&A Reg 270A requires a Contributions Plan before DA’s in the Growth Centres can be approved or refused.
  • This will put some DA’s into limbo until either a Contributions Plan is adopted or a VPA is agreed to.

A new regulation which commenced on Friday 25 January 2019 bolsters the control of Local Contributions (once called s.94’s but now known as s.7.11’s) in the Growth Centres, and places DA’s in some areas in limbo.

The new Reg 270A in the EP&A regs has the effect that in most Growth Centre development zones (residential, industrial etc), a development application must not be determined unless:
  • a Contributions Plan is in place;
  • a VPA has been entered into; or
  • the matter is so trivial as not to incur a contribution.
This has arisen partly as a result of the early rezoning of land in the Growth Areas before Contributions Plans have been reviewed by IPART and adopted by Council.

In the absence of a Contributions Plan Council cannot impose a s.7.11 condition. Ostensibly, those areas where IPART was still reviewing the draft Contributions Plans could have seen DA’s approved without public contributions. But this loophole has been closed.

It does mean however that a DA in such a situation cannot be “determined” – either approved or refused. Council cannot refuse it, but nor can it approve it.

This will drive the parties to negotiations towards voluntary planning agreements, rendering them less than voluntary, but necessary to overcome the deadlock.

The new Reg 270A is similar to Reg 270, which likewise prevents a DA from being determined in the Western Sydney Employment Area unless a Contributions Plan or VPA is in place.

Post by Robert Wilcher

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