Common Application Types

Below is a list of the most common Development Application types we receive. Click on the header bars to expand the information.


If you plan to build a dam, you may not need Council approval if your dam meets the requirements for exempt development under our Local Environmental Plan 2010 (LEP).

Whether you need approval or not depends on various factors such as:

  • zoning of your property

  • size of the dam

  • where you plan to locate the dam on the property

    If your proposed dam does not fit the requirements for Exempt Development you will need to lodge a Development Application (DA).

You may also need a license or approval from another agency. Find out more from the Department of Water and Energy.


A dividing fence can be made out of all sorts of materials, including bricks, metal or wood.  It may also be made from vegetation, for example, a hedge. 

In general, fences don’t need our approval if they meet standards for your property address.

You can find out about these standards by using the Interactive Building  website. You won’t need to contact us at all if your fence is within these standards.

Each owner is equally responsible unless a swimming pool is involved or the neighbouring land is owned by Council or the Crown.

If a swimming pool is erected on one property and the dividing fence is required to form part of swimming pool fencing then section 33 of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 overrides the Dividing Fences Act 1991.

If the neighbouring land is government owned then they are also exempt from the Dividing Fences Act 1991 with regard to sharing the cost.

Materials that are not acceptable?

Materials that are prohibited within non rural areas by State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 include:

  • Electrified fencing
  • Barbed wire
  • Highly reflective, uncoloured metal material

Talk to your neighbour

You and your neighbour must agree on the fencing proposal and cost if it is a shared fence (dividing fence).

Information about the law on dividing fences and boundary disputes can be found at the NSW Government LawAccess website. LawAssist can help you if;

  • you want to build, fix or replace a dividing fence

  • you have a disagreement with your neighbour about a dividing fence

  • you have a disagreement with your neighbour about where the common boundary between your properties is.   

  • Community Justice Centres can help you resolve any disputes without going to court.  To find out more, call 1800 990 777 or go to

Granny Flat

Granny flats are self-contained dwellings built as part of a house, as an addition to your existing building or a stand alone building. They are formally known as secondary dwellings.

Get more information about Granny Flat development from the NSW Planning Portal.

Do I need approval?

The Affordable Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (AHSEPP) allows some secondary dwellings in residential zones. You will need approval and there are two ways to apply for this:

  • Application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) - If your plans meet the requirements of the AHSEPP you can apply for a CDC. This provides a more streamlined approval process for straightforward development proposals.

  • Development Application (DA) - You'll need to lodge a DA if your property zoning is R5 - Large Lot Residential, or if you can't meet the requirements of the AHSEPP. If you can't meet the requirements, the secondary dwelling may be permissible under our Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP).

Home Business

If you want to operate a home business, you may be surprised to know that, unless it involves skin penetration (which includes waxing), it's likely to be classed as ‘exempt’ development and doesn't need you to lodge an application with us.                 

Home Business means a business that's carried on in a dwelling, or in an ancillary building, by one or more permanent residents of the dwelling. It must not involve:

  • The employment of more than 2 people other than the residents, or

  • Interference with the amenity of the neighbourhood eg. emission of noise, smell, smoke, dust, waste products, or excessive traffic generation, or

  • Exposure of any unsightly matter to adjacent premises or public places, or

  • Exhibition of any signage (other than a business identification sign), or

  • Selling goods or materials or offering them for sale, unless they're produced at the dwelling or building

    Home Business doesn't include bed and breakfast accommodation, or sex services premises.

    There are other criteria that must be met for a Home Business to be classed as ‘exempt’, including:

  • The floor area allocated to its operation must be no larger than 30m

  • It must be on land on which exempt development may be carried out under the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)

  • Or if a Heritage Item is registered on your land or the land is a critical habitat area you may need to lodge an application. This is not very common but it's always best to check with us If you’re unsure or need clarification on anything.

Living On Site Whilst Building

This process is currently being reviewed by MidCoast Council. Revised content will appear here soon. In the meantime, please use our planning and building enquiry form for assistance.

Rainwater Tanks

If you plan to install a rainwater tank, you may not need our approval if your plans fit in with the requirements for Exempt Development.

To find out more go to the Interactive Buildings website.

Whether you need approval or not depends on various factors such as:

  • zoning of your property

  • size of the tank/s

  • proposed location of  the tanks on the property

  • whether any cut or fill is needed

If your plans don't meet the criteria to make them exempt you'll need to apply for a Complying Development Certificate or a Development Application.

Relocated Dwelling

A relocated dwelling is a dwelling that has been previously constructed on another site, whether within the area or elsewhere, and is defined as a “building” under the Local Government Act 1993.

This is different to a moveable dwelling which requires approval under the Local Government Act 1993.

MidCoast Council is currently reviewing the procedures for relocated dwellings. In the meantime, please use our planning and building enquiry form for assistance.

Swimming Pools

A swimming pool is defined as anything that is:

  • capable of being filled with water to a depth of greater than 300mm,
  • and is used for swimming, wading, paddling or any other human aquatic activity.

Spa pools are classified as swimming pools.

For more complete definitions of swimming pools and spas see the Swimming Pools Act.

Do I need approval?

It depends whether or not your proposed swimming pool meets the Exempt or Complying Development standards of the State Environmental Planning Policy.

  • If the Exempt Development standards are met,approval is not required and you do not need to lodge an application with Council
  • If your pool is not Exempt, it may be classed as a Complying Development. You will need to lodge an application for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) 
  • If your pool is not classed as either Exempt or Complying, then a Development Application (DA) will need to be lodged

The NSW Planning Portal can help you work out if your proposed pool is exempt or complying. 

Other requirements

There are many other requirements that go with owning a pool. These include compliance and pool fencing requirements.

Under the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW), the owner of a swimming pool and/or spa has the responsibility to ensure that the pool and/or spa is at all times surrounded by a complying child-resistant pool safety barrier. Pool and spa safety barriers must be maintained in a good state of repair as an effective and safe barrier restricting access to the pool.

In 2012, a comprehensive review of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 was finalised. This review identified a number of amendments designed to enhance the safety of children under the age of five years around private swimming pools in NSW. As a result of these legislative changes, swimming pool owners and Council have certain responsibilities. These responsibilities are indicated below in more detail.

Swimming Pool Owners Responsibility

All swimming pool owners must register their swimming pool and/or spa on the NSW State-wide register by 29 October 2013.

Please click here to register your pool.

Self Assessment of Swimming Pool Barrier Fencing

Swimming pool owners are encouraged to undertake a self assessment of their swimming pool barrier fencing to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation.

Please click here to view the relevant self-assessment checklists. 

Selling or Leasing a Property with a Swimming Pool or Spa

From 29 April 2014, a swimming pool owner must obtain a swimming pool compliance certificate before they can sell or lease their property. The swimming compliance certificate certifies that the swimming pool barrier fencing complies with the relevant standard. The swimming pool compliance certificate is valid for a period of 3 years.

A swimming pool compliance certificate can be obtained from Council by completing the application form below.

Before you can apply for a swimming pool compliance certificate you must ensure that your pool is registered on the NSW State-wide register.

Once Council has received your application, a Council Officer will contact you to arrange a suitable time to undertake an inspection of your swimming pool barrier fencing.

Council's Responsibility

As a result of the recent changes to the Swimming Pools (Amendment) Act 2012 Council is required to implement a Swimming Pool Inspection Program. Council at it's April 2013 Council meeting adopted a Swimming Pool Inspection Program.