Council slashes residential DA processing time to help spur growth

Published on 29 April 2024

Aerial photo of Lismore

Lismore City Council has drastically slashed processing times for residential Development Application from around 40 days to between five and ten days.

Council’s Head of Planning and Environment Graham Snow said Council was dedicated to making Lismore easy to do business with and attract more investment in the city.

“We have adopted a Fast Track System this year that so far has supported the approval of $7.5 million worth of residential developments in the first three months of the year.

“It really is what is old is new again. This Council, and many Councils in NSW, years ago had a fast-track system which looked at low and medium-risk Development Applications and found pathways to get them progressed quicker,” he said.

“After the Minns Government challenged all councils to speed up the approval process, we reviewed the old fast track system and re-introduced with a more contemporary model.

“We are now seeing low-risk applications processed within five and ten working days, which is an incredible turnaround from about 40 days during the COVID-development boom.”

Mr Snow said under the previous system, DAs would be assessed as they were submitted. This meant if one DA required a more thorough assessment and additional reports, it would slow all other DAs in the queue behind it.

“Under the fast-track system, we are using a risk weighting to triage applications when they first come in so that we can identify the low-risk ones and excise them from the queue and assess them quicker.

“For example, if you are not getting rid of an environmental offset or there is no contamination on a property and there is no need for further information and other reports, then the application will be given to a dedicated resource to quickly approve the application.”

Lismore City Council General Manager Jon Gibbons said the successful implementation of the fast-track system was not just benefiting residents but benefiting the city.

“Our planning team should be congratulated for their commitment to improving the planning process and enhancing the customer experience, while ensuring a merit-based assessment that doesn’t compromise urban design excellence,” he said.

“The new system has significantly changed the way DAs are managed and that is not just important for locals but also places us in a good position of attracting new investment to the city.”

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg congratulated the planning team for the turnaround in assessment times.

“The previous long delays in assessing development applications were holding back investment in our city and villages,” he said.

“When this Council was elected, we were determined to speed up the process and drive investment through putting new management in place. The results speak for themselves.”


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