Development Assessment Panel (DAP)
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The Development Assessment Panel (DAP) or Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) is an independent decision-making body which determines certain development applications in the place of the original decision maker, being the local government authority and/or the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). DAP's are comprised of independent technical experts and elected local government representatives.
Joint development assessment panels were established to service two or more local governments and the City of Stirling is part of the Metro Inner-North Joint Development Assessment Panel.
Effective 1 July 2011, under the Development Assessment Panel (DAP) Regulations, each DAP will determine development applications which meet set type and value thresholds, as if it were the responsible authority under the relevant planning instrument, such as the local planning scheme or regional planning scheme.
The following questions provide information regarding the City's involvement within the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) process.
What is a Development Assessment Panel?
Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) are decision making bodies which comprise a mixture of technical experts and local government representatives with the ability to determine applications for development approval in place of the relevant decision-making authority.
DAPs are independent decision-making bodies and do not form part of the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) or the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).
What are DAPs also known as JDAPs?
Joint Development Assessment Panels (JDAPs) service two or more local governments. Four of the five Panels are JDAPs.
How many DAPs are there in Western Australia?
There are currently five DAP regions across Western Australia. These areas include:
- City of Perth
- Metro Inner-North JDAP
- Metro Inner-South JDAP
- Metro Outer JDAP
- Regional JDAP
What JDAP is the City of Stirling covered by?
The City of Stirling is located within the Metro Inner-North JDAP area. This Panel covers the local government areas of Bassendean, Bayswater, Cambridge, Claremont, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Nedlands, Peppermint Grove, Stirling, Subiaco and Vincent.
A map of the Metro Inner-North JDAP can be found here.
Who sits on a Development Assessment Panel?
Each Panel comprises five members; three specialist members, one of which is the presiding member, and two local members (Elected Members), nominated by the local government.
At a meeting of a DAP, a quorum is constituted by three members of the DAP, including the Presiding Member.
There are alternate (deputy) members for both local members and specialist members. Alternate (deputy) members are used when an issue of quorum arises or when a DAP member is unable to act because of illness, absence, or other causes. Deputy local members cannot sit in the place of specialist members, just as deputy specialist members cannot sit in the place of local members.
Who are the members of the Metro Inner-North JDAP?
The current JDAP specialist members for the Metro Inner-North JDAP (until 1 January 2024) are:
- Presiding Member – Francesca Lefante
- Deputy Presiding Member – Lee O’Donoghue
- Third Specialist – John Syme.
Other specialist members can be drawn from a pool as alternate members if required. The list can be found here.
The current City of Stirling Elected Members that sit on the Metro Inner-North JDAP (until 26 January 2024) are:
- Cr Suzanne Migdale
- Cr Felicity Farrelly.
Alternate Elected Members can also sit on the panel when required. These Elected Members are:
- Cr Elizabeth Re
- Cr Bianca Sandri
Who appoints members to a JDAP?
All JDAP members are appointed by the Minister for Planning.
The current Minister is Hon John Carey BA MLA - Minister for Planning; Lands; Housing; Homelessness.
What types of development applications are considered by the JDAP?
Applicants can opt to have their application determined by the JDAP if the estimated cost of construction is between $2 -10 million.
It is mandatory for the DAP to determine all proposed development applications that have an estimated construction cost of $10 million or more (excluding certain development types below). Irrespective of the construction values specified above, the following types of applications cannot be referred to the DAP for determination:
- A single house and any associated carport, patio, outbuilding and incidental development
- Applications for less than 10 grouped or multiple dwellings and any associated carport, patio, outbuilding and incidental development
- Developments being undertaken by a local government or the Western Australian Planning Commission.
What is the role of the City of Stirling in the JDAP process?
Development applications requiring JDAP determination are lodged with the City of Stirling. The City then notifies the JDAP that a development application has been received and will undertake an assessment in accordance with the relevant planning legislation.
The assessment may include advertising of the application if required by the City’s Local Planning Policy 6.18 – Public Consultation. This policy can be found here.
After the City has finalised its assessment of the application, the City’s Planning Officers will prepare a report known as a Responsible Authority Report (RAR), including a recommendation on how the application should be determined.
What information is contained within a Responsible Authority Report (RAR)?
A RAR contains a detailed planning assessment of a proposal against the City’s planning framework including the City of Stirling Local Planning Scheme No.3, applicable Structure Plans, Local Development Plans and Local Planning Polices. The RAR will also contain an assessment against the State Planning Framework including State Planning Policy 7.0 – Design for the Built Environment and the Residential Design Codes (R-Codes), if applicable.
JDAP applications may propose variations to the deemed-to-comply requirements or provisions of either the R-Codes or other applicable planning documents. In these cases, the JDAP is required to make a discretionary decision about whether the proposal meets the broader performance-based design principles or objectives of the planning framework.
When the JDAP must make a discretionary decision, the City’s RAR will include a detailed design principle and/or objective based assessment for consideration. For example, if an application proposes a variation to policy provisions for building height, the report will comment on whether the design meets performance criteria including impact on the streetscape and amenity of any adjoining residents.
A RAR also includes referral comments from internal and external parties such as the City’s Engineering and Parks and Sustainability Teams as well as external agencies such as Main Roads Western Australia.
The above assessment enables City Planning Officers to include a recommendation to JDAP within the RAR on whether the application should be approved, refused, or deferred for the applicant to provide further information.
Can the City's RAR be considered by Council prior to a JDAP meeting?
Yes. Council can review the City’s RAR prior to consideration by the JDAP. Council can resolve to support the Planning Officer’s recommendation or alternatively provide a different recommendation.
Where Council’s resolution is different to the Officer’s original recommendation both are contained in the RAR that is sent to the JDAP for determination. However, it is the Council’s recommendation that will act as the primary recommendation to JDAP.
For example, if the City’s Planning Officer prepares an RAR recommending the application be refused, and Council resolve to recommend approval, then the RAR presented to the JDAP will be for a recommendation of approval.
Can Council alter the RAR as prepared by the City’s Planning Officers?
No. The content of the Report is not able to be altered but Council’s resolution forms part of the RAR that is sent to the JDAP.
As stated in the DAP publication Making Good Planning Decisions at clause 5.3.2 (p66):
"It is improper for Councillors of a local government to influence the planning officer’s professional opinion on the assessment of the application in any way. If the local government also wishes to make a statement regarding an application before a DAP, it may do so by making a submission.”
The DAP Standing Orders 2017 also outline the role of City Officers at a JDAP meeting:
"A DAP is to invite the responsible authority officer preparing a responsible authority’s report for a development application to attend, or to send a representative to, a DAP meeting at which the application is to be determined.” Therefore, it is likely that the author of the report or responsible authority representative will attend the DAP meeting and be required to explain the … report, including if any comments or additions are included by Council”.
If the Council and City Officer recommendations differ, is one given more weight than the other by the JDAP?
The JDAP is required to consider both the Planning Officer’s recommendation (based on their professional report) and Council’s resolution when considering and determining a JDAP application.
Ultimately, the JDAP is the decision maker and will consider all the information provided and decide to approve, refuse, or defer the application.
If the Council and City Officer recommendations differ, are the officers obliged to defend the Councils resolution?
No. The DAP practices notes outline that it is not appropriate for City Officers to speak at the JDAP meeting in support of a Council recommendation, where it differs from their recommendation.
Yes. The City will give written notice of the scheduled meeting (via email or post) to community members who had provided written submissions during any formal advertising period for a JDAP application.
JDAP meetings are open to the public and any interested person can attend. Community members are also able to make a deputation at the JDAP meeting if they notify the DAP Secretariat at least three days prior to the meeting. Further information about how DAP meetings operate and how to make a deputation is available on the DAP website here.
Can the JDAP request further information from the City prior to the JDAP meeting?
Yes. For example, the Presiding Member may request the City draft an alternate recommendation for consideration at the meeting (known as a Regulation 13 request), including either conditions of approval or reasons for refusal.
The City is required to comply with these requests in accordance with the provisions of the Planning and Development (Development Assessment Panels) Regulations.
Can the JDAP decide not to accept either the City's or Council’s recommendation?
Yes. The City's RAR and Council’s resolution only provide a recommendation for the JDAP as to how the application should proceed. As the decision maker, the JDAP can make an alternative determination to the City's and Council’s recommendation.
Can a local government or the Western Australian Planning Commission contest a decision made by a JDAP?
Can a third party request a review of a JDAP determination through the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT)?
No. A person who is not an applicant or a respondent is known as a 'third party' and there are generally no third-party appeal rights for planning decisions in Western Australia in accordance with section 243 of the Planning and Development Act 2005.
Who will be responsible for administering any conditions of approval on an application approved by JDAP?
The local government is responsible for administering any conditions of approval on a conditional approval given by a JDAP.