Town Planning Advice (Duty Planner)

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, Duty Town Planning Advice is only available by telephone enquiry until further notice. Pre-lodgement meetings will be conducted by teleconference.

Town planning advice

Whether renovating your kitchen or building a block of units, town planning can be a complex issue. Hornsby Shire Council’s staff are here to help.

Online Resources

There is a wide range of information available on Hornsby Shire Council’s website, providing answers on many aspects of town planning, including:

There is also a lot of relevant information on the NSW Department of Planning website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your development may not need to go through the entire development process.

Find out more

Check to see whether or not your proposed works are exempt development or require a development application. Common development types include carports, garden sheds, retaining walls.

Find out more

Can I operate a business from my dwelling?

Find out more

Can I build a secondary dwelling (granny flat)?

Find out more

Dual Occupancy is prohibited in the residential zones however attached dual occupancies are permitted in certain rural zones of Hornsby Shire.

Find out more

Check your minimum lot size to determine whether you can subdivide your property.

Find out more

Fences may not need planning approval (known as exempt development) if the proposal meets the relevant development standards set out in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008.

Find out more

Council has no authority to determine who should pay for a dividing fence. If you have problems regarding the construction or cost of a neighbouring fence, you should contact a Community Justice Centre.

Find out more

Check to see heritage items and heritage conservation areas as well as planning controls that protect them.

Find out more

Check if your property is located in a bushfire prone area

Land identified as being bush fire prone is not necessarily excluded from the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP). Under the Codes SEPP, some development can be undertaken on low risk bush fire prone land. You may wish to contact an Accredited Bush Fire Consultant to assist with advice.

Business identification signs may be able to be erected without consent as exempt development subject to meeting the development standards specified under SEPP Exempt and Complying Development. Community notice and public information signs may be erected as exempt development subject to meeting the development standards under the SEPP.

Council has a list of sites suitable for the erection of community banners.

Copies of plans from 2004 onwards can be found on Council’s DA Tracking system by entering the Development Application number or property address. To obtain plans for pre-2004 Development Applications and other types of applications an application will need to be made via Government Information Public Access (GIPA). If you have any questions please phone the GIPA Officer (02) 9847 6027.

General requirements for stormwater drainage of new development can be found in Section 1C.1.2 Stormwater Management of the Hornsby Development Control Plan.

Stormwater should be gravity drained to Council’s drainage system, which may require inter-allotment drainage, except for single dwellings on existing lots where inter-allotment drainage is not available.

Where an inter allotment drainage easement is required, proponents should negotiate the creation of easement/s over downstream properties for drainage purposes. A letter of consent from the owner/s of the downstream properties is to be submitted with the development application.

Carports may be erected as exempt development in accordance with Section 2.20 of SEPP Exempt and Complying Development.

Where submission of a Development Application is required car parking for dwelling houses should be provided behind the front building line. A paved driveway should be provided between the required on-site car parking area and a public road. A driveway should be setback a minimum 0.5 metres from side boundaries to provide for landscaping between the driveway and the side boundary. More information can be found in Part 3 Section 3.1.7 of the Residential section of the Hornsby DCP.

Find out more

Can be undertaken as exempt development subject to compliance with section 2.54B of SEPP Exempt and Complying Development.

Find out more


General town planning and development engineering advice over the telephone is available between 8.30am-12.30pm and 2pm-4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Council’s Customer Service Team can be contacted on 9847 6760.

Duty Officer

A Duty Officer is available between 8.30am-12.30pm, Monday to Friday to provide general town planning advice.

The Duty Planner's main function is to direct customers to relevant planning policies. The Duty Planner cannot provide zoning advice, review your plans or advise you of the approval process for exempt or complying development.

We offer a pre-lodgement meeting should you require more detailed advice.

We can assist you more efficiently if you provide:

  • Your name and contact details.
  • The address of the property.
  • Details about the nature of your enquiry and what you require from Council.

Pre-lodgement meeting

A pre-lodgement meeting gives you feedback from Council on the technical and merit aspects of a development proposal. Staff will look at your plans and documents, then give you advice on the best way forward.

These meetings are encouraged by Council because:

  • it's the best way to deal with complex or site-specific issues;
  • it's an opportunity for Council to advise the applicant of strategic objectives for the development of the area;
  • it allows for any potential issues to be dealt with prior to the formal lodgement of a DA;
  • it helps the applicant resolve any issues prior to lodging an application;
  • it may assist in reducing the assessment time of the DA.

Where possible Council officers will suggest alternative and acceptable solutions for the applicant to consider.

A pre-lodgement meeting is for discussion and clarification purposes only and may not identify all possible issues. It is not intended to pre-empt a final decision in relation to a development application.

Additional pre-lodgement meetings may be required at a later time, if considered necessary. This usually occurs with large, complex proposals and allows additional or revised information and documentation to be reviewed prior to submission of the DA.

There is a fee of $392.00 for a pre-lodgement meeting and administration fee. Click here to submit a Pre-Lodgement Meeting Request

Please note: Due to the ongoing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, pre-lodgement meetings will be conducted by teleconference.

Written Advice

If you require more detailed planning information you can write to Council and request a response in writing. Council will give you detailed information in respect to issues such as Exempt and Complying development, dwelling entitlement, historic or current development application information, etc.

The request must be clear and to the point. Within 21 days of receiving your request, the information will be researched and a letter of reply mailed to your address.

There is a fee of $196.00. Click here to submit a Written Advice Request.

Please note that Council cannot guarantee that the requested information is available. If your search is unsuccessful the application fee is non-refundable.