COVID-19 buys time on DA process
Developers and landowners can breathe a sigh of relief as NSW Parliament introduces new amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (EPA Act) that aim to alleviate time pressures in the construction industry. The changes which came into effect on 14 May 2020 are part of a wider all-encompassing legislation that introduces emergency measures to help anticipate and/or recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For developers and landowners, there are 3 notable changes to the EPA Act:
- Existing Development Consents extended by 2 years
If a development consent or deferred commencement consent was issued before 25 March 2020 and did not lapse before or on 14 May 2020, it will be extended for a further 2 years from its original expiry date. This means that many development consents will now have a commencement period of 7 years. For development consents granted after 25 March 2020 and up until 25 March 2022, a minimum period of 5 years is now also applicable.
- Appeal Rights extended by 6 months
Any development application (DA) or modification that has been or will become subject to determination or refusal between 25 September 2019 and 25 March 2022 will have an additional 6 months from the determination or refusal to appeal it. This will give developers and landowners 12 months to revisit and resolve any issues with their DA application to increase the likelihood of its approval.
- Existing Use Rights extended by 2 years
Additionally, for the period between 25 March 2020 and 25 March 2022, an existing use right will only be considered abandoned after 3 years, an extension on the standard 12-month period.
How do these changes affect you?
The changes to the EPA Act should be a welcome financial relief for developers and landowners and with time now on your side, it’s important to weigh up your options, including making the decision to proceed with or appeal a development consent, or suspending your plans all together.