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What is a Development Plan?

The Development Plan is a document which provides planners with guidelines to follow during the development assessment process. Each Council area has a Development Plan that relates specifically to that area. The detail in Development Plans can differ greatly between Councils as it reflects the different types of areas such as coastal, suburbs, industry and so on.

The Development Plan separates land within each Council area into a number of different zones. For each of the particular zones (eg a Residential Zone or an Industrial Zone) the Development Plan will outline what sort of land uses are and are not envisaged for that zone. The Development Plan will also outline various objectives, principles and policies further controlling and affecting the design and other aspects of proposed developments. These policies can cover a range of social, environmental and economic matters. Development Plans can also spell out the desired character for different parts of the area they cover.

The basic structure of a Development Plan in South Australia is relatively consistent, but the policy content varies depending on local circumstances.

Development Plans 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 a residential zone or commercial zone.
  • Policy areas - Area with specific attributes, is usually a sub-area within a zone such as heritage.
  • Tables - Information that is usually of a technical nature and relates either to the whole Council area or may be land use or location specific, such as car park requirements, setbacks or heritage guidelines.

Zoning maps

As the Development Plan is an assessment tool it is recommended that applicants review the Development Plan section which relates to their development before preparing a Development Application. This is important as developments that are consistent with the Development Plan will generally have a shorter assessment timeframe, as Council is less likely to ask for changes to the proposal.

All Development Plan’s are available to be viewed or downloaded over the internet at and a hard copy is available for viewing at your Local Council.

Download Information Guide 2: What is a Development Plan?