Planning Approval

Before you begin development, it's important to find out whether you need approval, and what information is available on your property that will help you. We've detailed the process for you below, but if you have any questions at all, please contact Council.

Types of development that need planning approval

There are several different types of development, each with their own application process. All types of development require you to consult the Townsville City Plan (planning scheme) in order to identify applicable codes and overlays. The Townsville City Plan also details the supporting information needed as part of an application, which will depend on the type of proposed development.

Development that may require planning approval includes:

  • carrying out building work (e.g. renovating a house located within the Character Residential Zone)
  • carrying out operational work (e.g. placing an advertising device on a premises, or excavating or filling that materially affects premises or their use)
  • reconfiguring a lot (e.g. a subdivision, or the amalgamation of lots)
  • making a material change of use of premises (e.g. starting a new use, re-establishing a use that has been abandoned or changing the intensity or scale of the use).

You will need to find out what type of development your proposal is categorised as, before you make your development application. We recommended that you contact Council to help determine if you need planning approval for your development proposal.

Getting information on your property

What planning approvals you may need is also determined by what the local planning scheme (City Plan 2014) has zoned your property and any applicable precincts or overlays.

You can find this information by accessing ePlanning, Council's online planning service, and selecting 'Find a Property.' You can also use our Townsville City Plan interactive mapping service. Council also provides Limited and Full Planning and Development Certificates, information for which can be found on the Property Searches page, planning certificates can outline any existing approvals that are still in effect over your property. You can also contact Council directly for information on your property.

The level of assessment your development may require

Council assesses development under several levels of assessment as prescribed by the Planning Act 2016. The assessment level of your development is dependent upon the type of development, zoning, overlays, precincts and site area. The different assessment levels are listed below.

Other  types of Council approvals

Outdoor Dining

Council regulates outdoor dining to ensure that activities are carried out in a safe manner for diners, pedestrians and road-users. Council is required to monitor the standard of operations in food premises that provide outdoor dining. Compliance with requirements of the Outdoor Dining Policy and associated Guidelines will assist you in providing a safe outdoor dining environment.

Exemption certificate

An exemption certificate is a type of approval issued by Council under the Planning Act 2016. Exemption certificates are for particular circumstances where you believe your development should not require assessment. You can apply for an exemption certificate from Council if:

  • the effects of the development would be minor or inconsequential (as determined by the relevant legislation)
  • the development has been categorised as assessable development only because of particular circumstances that no longer apply
  • the development was categorised as assessable development because of an error.

To find out more, read the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Exemption certificates information sheet. Fill out Council's Exemption certificate application form to apply.

Other approvals you may require

If your development includes building works, you may require a building approval. Building approvals can be obtained from a private building certifier.