Planning approvals for businesses

1. Overview

Most businesses need to meet specific local and/or state requirements to operate, including meeting industry codes and standards, planning guidelines and/or a Development Application approval.

Business owners and operators are obligated to make sure they are aware of, and meet, the requirements of operating their business in the Shoalhaven region.

2. What type of businesses are allowed?


You will need to identify if your business type is permissible in your preferred location. Start by identifying the correct definition of your business type under the ‘Dictionary’ section of our:

Next check your zoning to see if the business type is Permitted with Consent in which case you can lodge a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) or Development Application (DA). You must have approval prior to commencing the business.

If the development type is Prohibited you cannot proceed with this business type.

There may be some instances, where a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) allows a development that is prohibited in the zone to occur with approval, i.e. a Medical Centre under the Infrastructure SEPP. It is recommended you speak to a Planning Professional for further advice

How do I know what zone I am in?

Across our Council area there are different land use zones including residential, commercial and industrial zones. These zones reflect the type of development that is expected to occur in the area.

Identify your zoning.


See the development types that can occur in each zone.


Jerberra Estate has its own LEP.


3. Registration and inspections

In addition to planning approval, various business types also require registration with Council and routine inspections.

Get more details:

4. Industry codes and standards

Along with planning controls there are numerous industry codes and standards that must be complied with. For more information contact your industry body. 

5. Change of use

Most existing retail and commercial spaces have some form of planning permission in place.

To identify if planning permission exists and to review the relevant conditions, you can request a records search by lodging an Application for Records Search

Once you have the record of consent, take careful note of the conditions of consent.

If you can’t follow the conditions, for example if the hours of operation are too limited, you may need to apply to vary the development consent.

If your proposed use is different to what is approved, you may not require approval if the new use is compatible with a current use under the Exempt development code.

Specific information about Changes of Use that are Exempt development can be accessed here:

If the current approved use is listed under one of the categories on the left column and is changing to a listed use on the right, it is exempt from requiring approval.

You can reference the dictionary in the Shoalhaven Local Environmental Plan to confirm the definition of your use.

Find out more about Exempt Development.

If the current consent does not cover the type of business that you wish to operate, or comply with the Exempt use criteria for a change of use, you will need to determine your zoning and identify if the type of proposed business is permissible in the zone. You may then be able to apply for approval through Complying Development or a Development Application.

6. I need approval. Do I qualify for a complying development certificate?

Complying Development Certificate may be issued for your First Use or Change of Use if the proposal meets all the relevant development standards. 

You can use the Commercial and Industrial Alterations Code to check whether your First Use is complying development (Part 5, Division 1, Subdivision 3) or if your Change of Use is complying development (Part 5, Division 1, Subdivision 2).  

If your proposal does not meet all the standards you must lodge a Development Application.

7. I need a Development Application. What do I do?

If your proposal does not qualify as Complying Development, you will need to lodge a Development Application with Council.

Certain types of land uses nearly always need development consent, including:

  • Food premises
  • Funeral home
  • Gun Shop
  • Sex services premises
  • Pub or hotel or bar

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has a useful guide to the DA process.

Find out more about lodging a Development Application.

9. Planning for the future

Planning documents are updated from time to time. View any documents on exhibition.