Blue Mountains City Council



What is a LEP?
A Local Environmental Plan (LEP) is a legal document prepared by Council and approved by the State Government to regulate land use and development. LEPs guide planning decisions for local governments by allocating land use zones (e.g. where residential, rural, environmental, commercial, and industrial land is located) and development controls (e.g. subdivision, minimum lot sizes, building heights, heritage conservation and environmental controls) that apply to land.
How was LEP 2015 prepared?
A Planning Proposal for the new LEP was first submitted to the Department of Planning in August 2013. The new LEP was prepared in accordance with a set of guiding principles including:
  • applying the same planning approach across the Blue Mountains;
  • using the format set by the State Government for a new LEP as much as possible;
  • using a ‘best-fit’ approach to achieving the same planning outcomes from current LEPs; and
  • introducing new policy only in support of other established policy positions of Council, or to update policy for current best practice.
A draft version of the LEP was publicly exhibited from December 2013 to March 2014. During that time 595 submissions were received, between them raising over 5,000 matters. A series of Extraordinary Council meetings were held between June and November 2014 where issues raised in submissions were reviewed. At the end of this time a Post Exhibition version of the Planning Proposal for a new LEP was re-submitted to the Department for their consideration.
Negotiations with the Department of Planning took place over the next 12 months before a final version of the LEP was achieved.
When will LEP 2015 start?
LEP 2015 was made on 21 December 2015 and will come into effect on 15 February 2016.
This means that any development applications lodged before 15 February 2016 will be assessed against the current relevant LEPs for a property (LEP 2005, LEP 1991 or LEP 4) and the current relevant DCPs will also apply.
However, from 15 February 2016, if LEP 2015 applies to your land, then that is the LEP that will be used for assessment, together with Blue Mountains DCP 2015.
Where can I find LEP 2015?
A copy of the LEP can be found here
Hardcopies of LEP 2015 will be available for viewing during normal business hours at Council’s offices at Springwood and Katoomba from 15 February 2016 for a limited time. This is because LEP 2015 (particularly the maps) has been designed to be viewed digitally, consistent with the requirements of the State Government.
Changes to LEP 2015 after exhibition?
LEP 2015 remains similar to the exhibited version of the LEP. Some changes have been made however as a result of standardisation in drafting which has led to additional clauses and/or rewording of clauses. Such changes were generally a result of negotiations with Parliamentary Counsel Office, who are responsible for the drafting of all NSW Government legislation.
LEP 2015 is nonetheless expected to largely deliver the same policy outcomes as the exhibited document. A list of changes, and what they mean, is being prepared. This will be available by 15 February 2016 (the commencement date for the LEP).
What does it mean if my land is deferred?
Development on land deferred out of LEP 2015 will continue to be controlled and guided by the current relevant LEPs and DCPs that apply to your land. This will continue to be case until identified mapping anomalies and required reviews have been addressed; and in the case of land zoned Living – Conservation, until a decision is made on the future zoning of that land. Council will provide additional notification to affected properties as each of these processes occur. More information on Deferred Matters can be found here.
What is happening with the R6 zone?
A new character zone, the R6 Residential Character Conservation Zone, was proposed by Council to the Department of Planning in the new LEP to be equivalent to the Living Conservation zone under LEP 2005. All land zoned Living Conservation under LEP 2005 was publicly exhibited as this new R6 Residential Character Conservation Zone.
However, after the close of public exhibition, the Department of Planning advised Council that a decision on this new zone would not be made as part of the process of preparing the new LEP. This meant all land zoned Living Conservation under LEP 2005 would be deferred from the new LEP.
The Council has had constructive discussions with the State Government regarding the case for the R6 Residential Character Conservation zone. Once a resolution on the matter has been determined by the Department, Council will be in a position to formally advise all stakeholders, including property owners, as to a way forward. It is not anticipated that an outcome will be known for some time.