Lodging an application
Once you have prepared your application and ensured it is well and properly made, the next step is to lodge it with council.
Please note: Council is now operating under the Planning Act 2016, which supersedes the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. For more information on the Act and how this may affect you, view council's Planning Reform page.
How to lodge
There are several ways to lodge your development application to council:
- Townsville Online Lodgement System (TOLS) - this is the recommended method if you regularly lodge applications with Development Services. If you are not a current TOLS user you will be required to register using the registration form.
- By email using firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post
- In person at the Customer Service Centre
How to pay
Application fees can be paid by:
- Direct deposit
- Over the phone
To calculate your application fee, refer to the Fees and Charges schedule.
What happens after I lodge?
After you lodge your application, your application's assessing officer will contact you. You will have the opportunity to communicate with them throughout the assessment of your application.
The first step in assessing an application is to check if the application is properly made. Properly made requirements are regulated by Section 51 Making development applications of the Planning Act 2016.
If the application is not properly made, you will receive an action notice identifying items to be addressed. If the application is properly made, the confirmation period ends and the next stage will commence. A confirmation notice may be sent at this stage to end Part 1: Application stage.
Where the state has legislative interest in the application, the state must assess the development application. State government referrals are assessed by the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA). This is Part 2: Referral stage.
Information request part
The assessment officer will then commence the assessment of the application against relevant legislation, planning scheme codes and policies and the State Planning Policy. You may have to provide further information if there is insufficient information to allow a decision to be made. This is Part 3: Information request stage.
Public notification part
If the application has the assessment level of Impact Assessable, at this point you will have to undertake public notification. In this instance, you can refer to Chapter 3, Section 53, Publicly notifying certain development applications of the Planning Act 2016 to identify the requirements for public notification.
Code assessable applications will generally be decided under delegated authority within the Planning Section. Impact assessable applications may require full council approval, otherwise they will be decided under delegated authority.
Once this is completed, a decision notice will be sent to you to let you know the outcome of your application.
Read the Development Assessment Process information sheet to find out more.
What to expect next
A decision notice may contain conditions requiring you to obtain further approvals or compliance assessment.
Infrastructure charges are levied against developers by council when a development assessment incurs trunk infrastructure costs. Trunk infrastructure is the key infrastructure that provides support to the Townsville area, including sewer, water supply, transport and parks. Your development application may trigger infrastructure charges, even if it is accepted development. For more information, visit our Infrastructure Charges page.
A successful application is approved subject to conditions. The more common conditions imposed by council have been standardised to provide the industry with consistent and acceptable outcomes. The following list of standard conditions is not exhaustive and development proposals may attract any number of non-standard conditions or requirements.
Ignoring the rules
Council takes a hard line against anyone ignoring planning and development rules by erecting or demolishing structures without the proper approval. Where the community suspects unauthorised building work, plumbing and drainage work or violations to acceptable land use is being carried out, the council is on hand to investigate. Through its compliance area, council officers will track reports of concern relating to:
- Unauthorised building work (where no permit has been obtained)
- Unauthorised plumbing work (where no permit has been obtained)
- Unfenced and unsafe swimming pool areas
- Land use violations such as operating a business from a residential premise without council authorisation.
Investigation officers will assess the situation and notify the owner is a violation has been detected. Owners risk being forced to remove unapproved structures - at their own expense - in extreme cases. In most cases council asks the owner respond to a show cause notice and obtain the appropriate approval in retrospect.
Where the violation presents an immediate threat to the health and safety of the community and where the response from the owner has been unacceptable, an enforcement notice will be issued.
It is therefore recommended that if an owner is unsure about whether a structure requires approval they should contact council.