The Development Application Process

Find out more about the Development Application process in our updated 2023 Development Application Guide(PDF, 3MB)  which includes links to forms and websites such as the NSW Planning Portal, Quick Reference Guides and Council’s own planning policies.

This guide provides advice on how to prepare your documents in order to submit a development application to Council via the NSW Planning Portal.

For more information on the process, you can contact Council on (02) 6340 2040

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take for a DA to be determined?

Cowra Council takes an average of 4 weeks to process a Development Application, however this will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Whether Council requires additional information in order to complete an assessment.
  • Whether Council receives an objection from a neighbour in relation to the proposal.
  • The complexity of the development proposal.
  • Whether the application proposes a variance to a Council policy or control.
  • The requirement for the application to be reported to Council’s monthly committee meetings.

The Council officer assigned to assess your Development Application will be able to provide you with an indication on the likely timeframe for determining your application. 

How does Council assess a Development Application?

Who will assess my application?

 Council’s Environmental Services Department is responsible for the assessment and determination of Development Applications and Construction Certificates involving land in the Cowra Shire. You will be notified in writing of the assessment officer that has been assigned to your application once it has been lodged with Council.

The assessment of your application will often involve input from a number of officers within Council. Town Planners, Building Surveyors, Engineers and Heritage Advisors may all provide comments and recommendations which are taken into consideration by the assessing officer prior to your application being determined.

Certain applications may also need to be referred to other government agency departments for expert advice and comment as part of the assessment. This is sometimes a legislative requirement. For example, the NSW Rural Fire Service may need to be consulted for developments on bushfire prone land, or the NSW Roads and Maritime Services may need to be consulted for developments that front onto highways.

What matters are taken into account as part of Council’s assessment?

The NSW Planning system sets out the criteria for assessing your application. These criteria fall under a series of headings generally known as ‘matters for consideration’. If you are interested in reading the ‘matters for consideration’, these are contained in Section 4.15 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979.

What costs are involved in lodging a Development Application?

All development applications lodged with Council must be accompanied by a fee. This fee is calculated based on the estimated cost of your development. Many applications also require the payment of an advertising/neighbour notification fee. The required fees and charges are set out in Cowra Council’s Revenue Policy 2022-2023(PDF, 2MB). If you would like Council to prepare you a quote on the fees that will apply to your application, please call (02) 6340 2040 during the hours of 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Is there anybody that can help me with my application?

Preparing a development application can be a daunting task, particularly if you have not done this before. The first step recommended is to read Council’s Development Application Guide(PDF, 3MB). The Guide covers the following key steps:

Step 1 – Understanding Council controls and policies

Step 2 – Preparing plans and drawings

Step 3 – Preparing a Statement of Environmental Effects

Step 4 – Submitting the development application to the NSW Planning Portal

Step 5 – Lodging the application correctly

Please contact Council on (02) 6340 2040 if you require further guidance and assistance. An officer will be available to talk you through the requirements. Alternatively, you can request assistance by emailing