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Acceptable Outcome

The example given in a planning instrument that demonstrates one way a development could meet the corresponding performance outcome of a code. The alternative to performance outcome.


Accepted Development

Development which does not require approval, provided it meets certain requirements set by codes of the relevant planning scheme or other regulatory document.


Active Transport

Physical activity as a mode of transport. Examples include walking, cycling, scootering, skating.


Affordable Housing

Housing that is rented or sold at below market value (usually around 75% of market price). It can be subsidised publicly by Federal or State Governments, or privately by developers or not-for-profit community housing organisations.


Age In Place

The ability to live in one neighbourhood throughout all life stages, due a diverse housing mix within the neighbourhood.



1) A measure of a place’s pleasantness or attractiveness. 

2) A feature or facility of a place.



Court action by the applicant or a submitter who lodged a properly made submission if they are dissatisfied with the assessment manager’s decision whether to approve a development application, or the conditions of approval.



The person or company who lodges the development application.



Permission to proceed. Types of approval include preliminary approval, variation approval, and development permit.


Assessment Benchmarks

The codes, et cetera, that an application is assessed against. These are mostly found in the local government’s planning scheme, State Development Assessment Provisions, or the Building Act.


Assessment Manager

The entity that assesses and decides the outcome of the development application. This will usually be the local government but may also be the state government or a private certifier.



(acronym) Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody. An absolutist position against all development.



When the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning takes over responsibility a decision for an application that affects state interest, overruling local government.



The rules in planning schemes or other regulatory document outlining the intended outcomes for zones, overlays, neighbourhood plan areas, for specific uses, and for particular technical issues.


Code Assessment

A development application is assessed only against the relevant codes in the planning scheme or other regulatory document. Development applications that qualify for code assessment do not require public notification although people may still make submissions about the proposed development and the assessment manager can consider the submissions.


Concurrence Agency

A government agency or private certifier responsible for assessing an application and providing a response to the assessment manager which may direct refusal of an application or, if approved, require conditions of approval.


Development Assessment (DA) Rules

The Queensland Government document that sets out how developments must be assessed.



Usually measured in lots per hectare or dwellings per hectare. This is not always regulated specifically, and can alternatively be guided by measures of site cover, setbacks, parking, etc.



Any person developing their land. Does not necessarily refer to professionals; most developers are private citizens.



An online tool to search, watch, monitor development applications in your area. For use in BrisbaneRedland City, and Sunshine Coast local government areas.



A self-contained residence that contains food preparation facilities, clothes washing facilities, a bath or shower, and a toilet



Moving to a dwelling that is smaller than your previous residence.



Changing an area or neighbourhood’s zoning to decrease density.


Exclusionary Zoning

The use of zoning in an area or neighbourhood to restrict it to certain demographics. For example, allowing only low-density housing to be built so only people with the wealth and family structure to support this housing typology can live there.


Existing Ground Level

The benchmark from which storey is measured in storeys and/or metres. This may be the original ground level if that can be proven. Otherwise, it is the contour levels specified in the planning scheme. In Brisbane, this is based on the 2006 mapped contours.


Finished Ground Level

Where the ground level will be when the project is finished. This is not what storeys are counted from; if the project involves excavating or filling the site, the finished floor level may be below or above current ground level. The actual proposed building height will be measured from existing ground level.


Greenfield Development

Development on land that has been previously undeveloped or underdeveloped. For example a house on a very large lot.



No official definition. Generally understood to be a building with six or more storeys.



A unit comprising one or more people who live together and make common provision for essential supplies.


Impact Assessment

A development application is assessed the whole of the planning scheme. Development applications that qualify for impact assessment require public notification. Any third-party submitter who lodges a properly made submission gets appeal rights if they are dissatisfied with the assessment manager’s decision.


Inclusionary Zoning

A planning intervention that either requires (mandatory inclusionary zoning, or MIZ), incentivises, or encourages developers to contribute a given percentage of new housing stock to be affordable to people on low to moderate incomes.


Information Request

The formal opportunity during the assessment process for the assessment manager to ask the applicant for further information to fully assess the application.


Infill Development

Development on vacant or under-utilised land within an existing urban area.



The person who ultimately makes the decision whether to approve a development in cases where the assessment manager’s decision is appealed to the Planning and Environment Court.


Land Use Definition

The way in which a property is or will be used. The starting point to see what application, if any, is required.



No official definition. Generally understood to be a building with one or two storeys.


Material Change of Use (MCU)

A change in the way a property is used. This includes the start of a new use, change in existing use, or restarting a use that has been abandoned. For example, converting a detached single-family house into a duplex. A list of uses can be found here.



No official definition. Generally understood to be a building with three to five storeys.


Missing Middle

Housing types denser than a single-family house but less dense than a high-rise apartment. Examples include rowhouses, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, and multiplexes.



A building or precinct that contains more than one land use. For example, residential and commercial.


Neighbourhood Plan

The document which outlines planning provisions applying to development in a specific geographic area.



(acronym) Not In My BackYard. A stance that generally accepts development as necessary, as long as any development perceived as unpleasant or otherwise objectionable is not built near where the subject lives.



A negative submission. Not an official term.


Operational Works

Defined in Planning Act 2016 as “work, other than building work or plumbing or drainage work, in, on, over or under premises that materially affects premises or the use of premises”. Examples include engineering, environmental, landscaping.



The maps showing potential development constraints. Examples include flooding, heritage, and character.


Planning & Development (PD) Online

Councils’ online database about planning and development applications. Development.i is replacing this in some Councils.


Performance-Based Planning

A system of planning where approval is granted based on the qualitative merits of the proposed development, as opposed to quantitative requirements.


Performance Outcome

The specific performance outcomes sought to achieve the overall outcomes of the Code or assessment benchmark. These are generally represented in qualitative terms.


Performance Solution

The alternative solutions to the acceptable outcome that still meet the performance outcome.


Planning Act

The State rules that govern planning and development. The current version in Queensland is Planning Act 2016 (‘The Act’).


Planning Scheme

A local government’s set of rules about planning and development. For example, City Plan 2014 in Brisbane.


Priority Development Area (PDA)

Sites declared by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland for development to facilitate economic growth or community benefit. In PDAs, the State governs planning and development, overriding Council’s local planning scheme. The State may devolve their role to the local government.


Properly Made Submission

A submission made for impact assessable applications during the public notification period which meets all requirements of making it properly made.


Public Notification

A stage of the application assessment process during which the applicant must publicly advertise their application for formal comment. During this time, any person may make a submission in support of or opposition to the development.



Referring a development application to the State Government for assessment.


Referral Trigger

The reasons why a referral is required.


Regional Plan

The Queensland State Government’s planning policy for its various regions. These guide local government planning schemes and set population targets. You can find your regional plan here.



Moving to a dwelling that best suits your needs and desired lifestyle. For example, as people age, they may choose to move from their family home that has too much under-utilised space or is too high maintenance to an apartment with the same number of rooms.



The distance between the outermost projection of a building (for example, the eaves) and the boundary of the lot the building sits on.


Site cover

The percentage of a site covered by a building and/or structure/s.


Social Housing

Housing provided by the state governments for people who are unable to access housing in the private market and meet certain eligibility criteria.


State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA)

Where development applications requiring assessment by the state government are referred.


State Planning Policies

The planning framework set by the state government which local governments use to guide their own planning schemes. In cases where they conflict, State planning policies override local planning schemes.



The space between two floor levels, the space between a floor level and a ceiling or roof. Roof and basement levels may be excluded as a storey based on certain criteria and depending on local planning schemes.



A third-party comment supporting or opposing a development application. Click for examples of submissions made by YIMBY Qld.


Third Party Appeal Rights

Any third party who made a properly made submission regarding an application during the public notification period has the right to appeal Council’s decision to the Planning and Environment Court.



The area at the edge of two different zones.



Changing an area or neighbourhood’s zoning to increase density.



The preferred role title of many town planners.


Variation Request/Variation Approval

An application that varies the planning scheme, similar to what was previously called a rezoning.



(acronym) Yes In My BackYard. A stance that supports new development where the subject lives, particularly development that contributes to housing affordability, or urban or environmental sustainability.



A means of dividing land into smaller areas to guide land use. Zones will also govern development features such as density, height, and setback.


Zero Lot Line

A building or structure built to the boundary line of the plot it sits on.