Local Environmental Plan

The Port Stephens Local Environmental Plan 2013 (LEP) guides planning decisions for our local government area. It does this through zoning, development standards and assessment requirements, which provide a framework for the way land can be used.

LEPs are the main planning tool to shape the future of communities and also ensure local development is done appropriately.

The latest LEP is available on the NSW legislation website:

Community information on rezoning requests

  1. A rezoning request submitted by a landowner is received and an assessment by Council staff against relevant adopted plans commences.
  2. Adjoining and adjacent neighbours of the proposed rezoning are notified in writing.
  3. Council considers if the request warrants further investigation in accordance with the Rezoning Request Policy.
  4. If the rezoning has sufficient merit to proceed to community exhibition, a planning proposal is referred to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for Gateway assessment.
  5. If DPIE issues a Gateway determination, Council will consult with relevant agencies, and the proponent will be required to undertake further studies and prepare a rezoning proposal for community consultation.
  6. The rezoning proposal is placed on public exhibition. The community and neighbours are notified and invited to make submissions.
  7. Council considers the rezoning and community feedback. The community has an opportunity to address Councillors prior to the Council meeting.
  8. If supported, the planning proposal can be made.
  9. The amendment to the LEP is drafted, gazetted and becomes law.

  • Adjoining and adjacent neighbours will be notified of site specific rezoning requests on lodgement.
  • There are no statutory exhibition or notification requirements for rezoning requests before Gateway certification.
  • For rezoning requests being reported to council prior to a Gateway determination – a Public notice will be published on our website 10 days before the council meeting. It will include information about the proposed rezoning and the date of the Council meeting. This will be updated if the date of the Council meeting changes.
  • Community consultation is required after a Gateway determination is issued and all relevant studies and reports have been completed. This ensure the community has clear, evidence-based information available to help make informed submissions on the proposal.
  • Rezonings will continue to be exhibited publicly in accordance with legislative requirements after a Gateway certificate is issued.

Request to amend the LEP — rezoning request

To amend the LEP, a rezoning request is required. A rezoning request follows a statutory process under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).

Rezoning requests should be consistent with strategic plans prepared by the NSW Government and Council, including:

Rezoning requests must be consistent with Council's Rezoning Request Policy (PDF 586 KB) and Rezoning Request Guide (PDF 2MB).

Note: Requests to amend the LEP that are inconsistent with adopted strategic plans will require further detailed justification.

The rezoning request process for developers

The process involves a number of steps outlined below:

Fill out the Rezoning Request Meeting Form (PDF 940KB). Make sure to:

  • provide details of the proposal
  • describe the benefits of the proposal
  • outline alternative options.

Discuss your request with Council officers to:

  • access to professional advice
  • discuss with relevant consultants
  • identify key issues
  • identify lodgement requirements.

Prepare a draft Planning Proposal. Make sure to:

Submit a draft planning proposal for review:

  • check for completeness
  • legislation check
  • clarification of any issues
  • amendment of planning proposal to address any identified gaps
  • determine fees for lodgement

Submit a completed Rezoning Request Form (PDF 783KB) with supporting planning proposal:

  • submit electronically, in person or via mail
  • check for completeness
  • adequacy check

Council issues invoice for Stage 1 fees in accordance with Schedule of Fees and Charges.

  • pay by card over the phone, cheque by mail or in person

Council staff will:

  • review proposal
  • report to Council for adoption
  • prepare Gateway determination request.

Note: rezoning requests which are consistent with adopted local or State strategies are not required to be reported to Council.

Gateway determination issued by Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

  • respond to any gateway conditions

Council issues invoice for Stage 2 fees in accordance with Schedule of Fees and Charges.

  • pay by card over the phone, cheque by mail or in person

Exhibition of planning proposal:

  • public authorities and State agencies provide comments
  • respond to community submissions and agency comments.

Dollar sign

Council issues invoice for Stage 3 fees in accordance with Schedule of Fees and Charges.

  • pay by card over the phone, cheque by mail or in person

Council makes the plan. This includes:

  • reporting planning proposal to Council
  • preparing draft local environmental plan
  • plan notified and comes into effect.