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Online forms: Planning –  New Development Applications (Exemptions - COVID 19)

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A Notice of Exemption was issued on 8 April 2020 to provide specific guidance to both proponents and local government on a range of temporary exemptions for certain approvals and requirements within the local planning framework. These exemptions remain in effect until 90 days after the end of the State of Emergency.

The exemptions remove barriers within the planning system to ensure flexible and speedy responses to a changing crisis environment, support business and guarantee the provision of essential community services. These exemptions previously included:

  • medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times;
  • businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use;
  • restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions;
  • people operating their businesses from residential zones;
  • parking commercial vehicles on residential properties;
  • a blanket two-year extension for all current development approvals;
  • businesses needing to change signs; and
  • temporary workers accommodation.

However, given the continually evolving nature of the current State of Emergency, the Notice of Exemption has been amended as of 4 March 2022.

As a result of these amendments, certain exemptions have been removed:

  • Removal of exemptions relating to certain land uses (listed below). 
  • Removal of exemptions relating to car-parking for non-residential development and the payment of cash-in-lieu.
  • Removal of the exemption to obtain approval for signage relating to hotel, tavern, restaurant/café (or similar land uses). 
  • Clarifying the exemptions to home businesses which now only apply during a Lockdown. 
  • Extending the applicability of the exemption for agricultural workers accommodation in the Shires of Manjimup and Harvey to all local government areas. 
  • Clarifying the exemptions applicable to non-conforming uses will expire on the day after the State of Emergency Declaration ends.  
  • Removal of exemptions relating to consultation, advertisement, applications and/or forms.

What does this mean for residents that have made use of the exemptions thus far?

The exemptions cease to have effect 90 days after the signing of the notice being Thursday, 2 June 2022.  Landowners who now fall outside the scope of the Notice must obtain development approval should they wish to continue operating the land use lawfully. More information about the planning process and how to apply can be found here.

The following land uses are no longer exempt under the Notice of Exemption:

  • Shop;
  • Restaurant/café;
  • Convenience store;
  • Consulting rooms;
  • Office;
  • Industry;
  • Industry-Light;
  • Trade Supplies;
  • Warehouse/Storage;
  • Transport Depot;
  • Home Business and Home Occupation (unless we are in a lock down in which case the business may operate from your place of residence until the lock down ends);
  • Any land use which used the exemption to provide for car parking facilities or to pay cash in lieu of providing car parking facilities; and
  • Any signage which has been erected without approval by using the exemption notice relating to hotel, tavern, restaurant/café (or similar land uses).

Therefore, the existing planning framework requirements, including existing conditions of approval, now apply. That means without a new or amended development approval:

  • The above uses and works that were exempt from planning approval requirements under the previous Notice will need to seek approval through the appropriate processes or cease operation if no similar exemption applies under the existing planning framework;
  • any exempt condition of approval will be reinstated;
  • any requirements that were exempt from applying, such as cash in lieu or the provision of car bays is now required; and
  • any temporary works associated with any exemption will need to seek approval through the appropriate processes or will need to be removed.

For further information please refer to the Notice of exemption from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for further information.

If you have any queries relating to the exemptions or if you have received correspondence from the City relating to this matter and you would like further clarification, please lodge your query here and mark it for the attention of Approval Services.