What can change your need for planning approval
A few factors can change whether you need planning approval for your proposed development.
This includes if:
- the land is not covered by a zoned (unzoned land)
- the use or development is:
- exempt from the NT Planning Scheme
- ancillary to another use or development on the land
- involves a listed heritage place
- you have existing use rights
- an interim development control order is in place that overrides:
- the usual requirements or
- assessment category.
Land not covered by a zone is known as unzoned land.
Planning controls only apply to unzoned land if any of the following apply:
- you want to:
- an overlay applies
- the development is located in some Aboriginal communities.
Even if your land is unzoned, you may still need a building permit if your land is within a building control area.
Some uses and developments are exempt from the planning scheme rules under certain circumstances.
They don't need planning approval.
These relate to:
- a specific response to COVID-19
- minor development types such as small shade sails
- temporary use of land such as for:
- community events
- emergency accommodation after a natural disaster
- the construction and maintenance of vital infrastructure such as:
- main roads
- the provision of electricity, water, sewerage, gas or telecommunications
- some types of subdivision such as in remote towns.
Exempt uses are listed as exceptions in schedule 3 of the NT Planning Scheme .
If a use, building or works was lawful under previous planning rules, you don't need planning approval to continue as long as:
- the nature or scale stays the same
- the use does not stop for more than 12 months.
A use that was permitted but would now be prohibited may have existing use rights.
A use that was permitted but would now need approval is considered to have a “deemed permit”.
Application types and services that relate to existing use rights and deemed permits include:
Ancillary uses are those that support the main use of the land and don't operate separately.
- an office and canteen are ancillary to a school
- a convenience shop is ancillary to a service station.
They are usually smaller in scale and suitable to a zone if the main use is suitable.
An ancillary use is permitted even if it would normally be merit assessable, impact assessable or prohibited if:
- it is listed as ancillary within the definition of the primary use
- it meets relevant development requirements and
- the land and use are not subject to an overlay.
If the ancillary use doesn't meet any of the above criteria and would normally be:
- prohibited in a zone - it becomes impact assessable
- merit or impact assessable in a zone - it remains merit or impact assessable.
Read more about assessment categories.
Last updated: 17 November 2022
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