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Local Environment 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 is received and assessed by Council staff.
  2. Council considers if the request warrants further investigation.
  3. If supported, a planning proposal is submitted to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for assessment.
  4. If supported, DPIE issues a Gateway determination to undertake further investigations and community consultation.
  5. Following further investigations, the planning proposal is placed on public exhibition for community consultation.
  6. Council considers the planning proposal including all community feedback.
  7. If supported, the planning proposal can be made.

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.

There are no statutory exhibition or notification requirements for rezoning requests before Gateway certification.

Community consultation is required after a Gateway determination is issued and all relevant studies and reports have been completed. This ensures 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 197 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 777KB) 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.
Reclassification of Land

The LEP process is also used for the reclassification of Council owned land. For information relating to reclassification of Council owned land, please discuss with Council's Property Services Section in the first instance. Please refer to the Acquisition and Divestment of Land Policy on our Policies page.

Planning Proposal Tracking System

The Department of Planning and Environment has an electronic system that allow users to track the progress of a planning proposal and view documents associated with its assessment.

Port Stephens Development Control Plan

The Port Stephens Development Control Plan 2014 (DCP) contains planning provisions, which provide further guidance to those provisions under the LEP. Both plans are key matters for consideration when Council is assessing development under s79C of the EP&A Act.