Building in restricted areas


When you are considering building, it is important to know if any restrictions apply to your land.

Restrictions can include planning controls or hazards such as bushfire, flood or acid sulfate soils.

To find out what zone applies to your land, you can apply for a Section 10.7 certificate, or look at the Local Environment Plan that applies. 

If you are considering purchasing land in North Arm Cove, please ensure you are familiar with the restrictions on non-urban land. Find out more information about non-urban land.

Bush fire prone land

You can find out whether a property is bush fire prone by:

  • Requesting a Section 149 Planning Certificate. This will provide written confirmation on whether a property is bush fire prone.
  • Using our online mapping tool with the Bush fire prone vegetation map. If any part of your land is bush fire prone, the whole property is considered bush fire prone.

If you want to develop, subdivide or build on land that’s bush fire prone your proposal has to comply with Planning for Bush Fire Protection legislation.

Flood prone land

You can use our online mapping service to see if your land is flood prone.

flood level certificate can be obtained that will provides data on a one in one-hundred-year flood event for your property.

Acid sulfate soils

What are acid sulfate soils?

Acid sulfate soils are soils that contain iron sulfides which, when exposed to oxygen, generate sulfuric acid.

Any lowering of the water table or physical disturbance of the soil in areas with acid sulfate soil areas creates an acid that can leak into drains, wetlands, creeks and estuaries causing severe environmental damage.

It can also affect industries such as fishing, tourism and oyster growing, and impact infrastructure by corroding steel and concrete structures such as the foundations of buildings or bridges.

Where are they found?

They are typically found in low-lying areas near the coast. Parts of the MidCoast are affected by acid sulfate soils.

A map identifying the likely occurrence of these areas can be accessed through our online mapping tool. This map identifies five classes of land (see below), with Class 1 having the highest risk.

What if I want to develop land that may be affected by acid sulfate soils?

If your land is identified as likely to have acid sulfate soil you may need our consent to carry out work such as:

  • Disturbing more than one tonne of soil
  • Lowering the water table for the construction and maintenance of drains
  • Carrying out dredging
  • Constructing artificial water bodies such as canals, dams, detention basis
  • Constructing building foundations
  • Undertaking flood mitigation works

The consent required depends on which class your land falls into.

Class 1 all works will require consent
Class 2 works below the natural ground surface and works that are likely to lower the water table
Class 3 works beyond one metre below natural ground surface, works that are likely to lower the water table beyond one metre below the natural ground surface
Class 4 works beyond two metres below natural ground surface,  works that are likely to lower the water table beyond two metres below the natural ground surface
Class 5 works within 500 metres of class 1,2,3,or 4 land, which are likely to lower the water table below one metre on the class 1,2,3 or 4 land

What if Council consent is required?

If your land is classed 1 – 5 and you are undertaking the works described you can either:

  • Accept that acid sulfate soils are likely present and prepare a development application and an acid sulphate soil management plan as set out in the NSW Acid Sulfate Soil Manual (LINK); or
  • Undertake a preliminary assessment as set out in the NSW Acid Sulfate Soil Manual, to determine whether acid sulfate soil is present and whether the proposed works are likely to disturb or oxidise these soils or lower the water table. 

If the preliminary assessment concludes that acid sulfate soil is not present and we agree with this, we will provide written advice confirming that you do not need to prepare a management plan and that development consent will not be required in relation to acid sulfate soils.

What must Council consider in relation to acid sulfate soils before granting approval?

If the preliminary assessment reveals acid sulfate soil is present, we must consider the following matters before we can grant consent:

  • the adequacy of any acid sulfate soil management plan prepared for the proposed development in accordance with the Assessment Guidelines
  • the likelihood of the proposed development resulting in the discharge of acid water. We may also refer a copy of the development application and the related management plan to the relevant NSW Government Department, and take into account any comments received. 

 Please note: Digging holes for fence posts and burying deceased livestock are not considered to be works that require consent.