About development plans

A development plan is a statutory policy document which guides the type of development that can occur within a council area. Planners use development plans to assess development applications.

Every council in South Australia has a development plan that specifies the type of development that can occur in that council area. Those areas of the state which are not covered by a council area also have a designated development plan. Amendments to development plans are incorporated into the plans on a regular basis and recorded as the date of consolidation.

The detail in each development plans differs between councils to reflect local circumstances.

Role of the development plan

Development plans:

  • inform the community about how an area is expected to be developed
  • inform neighbours about the kinds of development they can expect in their neighbourhood
  • inform applicants about the type of development that is encouraged in an area, therefore the type of information that may be required in a development application
  • provide the basis against which development assessment decisions are made
  • provide the basis upon which any appeal decisions are made.

Development plans separate land within each council area into a number of different zones, including commercial zones, residential zones and industrial zones amongst a range of others. This aims to ensure that the lifestyle needs of residents and business can be achieved in the most beneficial manner. Development plans outline what land uses are envisaged in a zone and those uses which are not contemplated.

Development plans contain objectives, principles and policies that will control and affect the design and location of proposed land use activities. These policies cover a range of social, environmental and economic matters and have been established to support the longer term direction of the state's planning strategy. The plans can also spell out the desired character for a given area, zone, policy area or precinct.

Structure of the development plan

Development plans may contain:

  • an index
  • general provisions – council wide policies which apply across the entire council area
  • zone provisions – specific geographic area in which specific policy applies such as residential zone or commercial zone
  • policy area provisions – areas with specific attributes, usually a sub-area within a zone
  • precinct provisions - areas that tend to be smaller than policy areas with specific attributes, usually a sub-area within a zone or policy area
  • tables – information that is usually of a technical nature and relates to:
    • the whole council area
    • and use
    • location specific, such as car park requirements, setbacks or heritage guidelines
  • maps - including but not limited to preface maps, location maps, overlay maps (transport, heritage, development constraints, natural resources), bushfire protection areas maps, zone maps, policy area maps, precinct maps, structure plan maps and concept plan maps.

Accessing development plans

Download a development plan or view a hard copy at your local council.

Visit the SA Planning Portal to find out about the new planning system that is being phased in from 1 July 2019.

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Page last updated 18 August 2020

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Attorney-General's Department - PLUS
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