Council's Development Plan / Policy
Development Plan
Development Policy
Current Development Plan Amendments

Current Policy Projects

Development Plans contain the rules that control what can be done on any piece of land across the state. More information on Development Plans can be found on the State Government's website.

The Adelaide Hills Council Development Plan is a critically important document which provides guidance on land development and land use decisions for the community, the development sector, and for all spheres of Government. It contains zones, maps and policies and is the part of the Planning System that provides people with guidance on what kinds of development they can and can't do.

These policies are used in the assessment of all development applications (other than major developments). All new applications (for example houses, garages, business premises, intensive farm activities, or any change in the use of land) is assessed against the policies in the Development Plan. The Plan must be read in conjunction with any amendments published in the Government Gazette, but not yet consolidated in the Plan.

Development Plan policies can be amended through a formal process known as a Development Plan Amendment (DPA) as set out in the Development Act 1993.  DPAs can be initiated by the relevant Council or the Minister for Planning.

A Council DPA process involves a number of approvals from the Minister for Planning to proceed to the next step, and also involves formal community consultation before it can be approved and made law.

The essential steps for a Council DPA are:

  • agreement on the subject matter or scope of the DPA with the Minister
  • investigations and formal DPA document preparation by Council
  • consultation with key government agencies and the public on the DPA, including receiving written submissions and holding a public meeting (managed by Council)
  • review of the consultation outcomes and refinement of the DPA if required (by Council)
  • decision by the Minister (which may include approving or refining all or part of the DPA)

Council's Townships and Urban Areas Development Plan Amendment (DPA) was approved by the Minister for Planning and came into effect by Government Gazette on 24 October 2017. The Townships & Urban Areas DPA is the largest that has been undertaken by Council.  It reviewed all planning policy relating to the district's townships (e.g. Balhannah, Oakbank, Woodside, Birdwood, Lobethal, etc.) and urban residential areas (e.g. Stirling, Aldgate, Bridgewater, Crafers, etc.). This has an impact on the zoning and development opportunities for properties in the aforementioned zones. Property owners can find out more in this regard by calling Council's Duty Planner on (08) 8408 0400.


Council commenced a review of the Development Plan policies which related to our rural/primary production areas of the District via the Primary Production Lands Development Plan Amendment (DPA) in an effort to make farming in the Hills easier (refer to the Q&A web link below for more details about the original DPA).  However, as a result of the roll out of the State's Planning Reform Agenda and the 2016 Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act, the DPA will no longer be progressed.  However, Council is part of a Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) Working Group regarding rural planning policies which seeks to achieve the same objectives.  The Working Group has met a few times and the proposed planning policy changes will eventually form part of the State's Planning and Design (P&D) Code which will replace Council's Development Plan.  Further updates will be provided as this work progresses.

By way of background, it is well known that the Adelaide Hills have some of the best farming land in the State, and farming has a long and proud history in this area.  Farming in the Hills has opportunities and advantages for local producers, regional businesses, local consumers and the wider economy.  However, the district is under constant pressure from unplanned development and proposals that have created uncertainty for the farmers who maintain this landscape.  Keeping this productive and sustainable farming landscape is going to require new ideas about how to manage this important asset.

The Council is looking at changing its planning policy to better protect its good farm land for farming.  This will be done through the forthcoming State Planning & Design Code.  This will cover all rural areas of the Council District, which primarily fall within the Watershed (Primary Production) Zone [W(PP)].  The primary intent of this project is to identify and protect Primary Production Priority Areas (PPPA) as identified by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) for farming, and to secure this important and diminishing resource for future food and fibre production (refer to the web link below for more information in this regard).  It was also intended to:

  • review land use policy guidelines to respond to emerging trends in primary production, and to make it easier for farmers to farm and to seek approval to undertake a range of primary production and value adding activities on their land
  • provide balance between farming and rural living activities, and
  • ensure that we have food security for future generations

Council did undertake extensive consultation (9 public workshops) in 2013 where new ideas and good knowledge of current and potential local practices were shared by rural land owners and farmers.  This consultation enabled Council to identify the main land use and planning issues that need to be addressed in the DPA and now the P&D Code.

The aforementioned Information Papers can be downloaded by clicking on the following links:

Primary Production Priority Areas Mapping

Questions and Answers

Value Adding Initiatives

If you have any further questions in this regard, please call James Szabo, Senior Strategic and Policy Planner, on (08) 8408 0503 or via e-mail

Council currently has one DPA underway, namely the Local Heritage (Stage 1 – Public Places) Development Plan Amendment. Public consultation on this DPA concluded on 10 January 2018. Staff are reviewing the submissions received and it is anticipated that the DPA will be considered by Council, and then the Minister For Planning, for approval later in 2018.  Note that any buildings or places listed in the DPA for local heritage status are currently protected by the ‘interim development control’ provisions as approved by the Minister for Planning in accord with Section 28 of the Development Act, 1993. If you have any further queries in this regard, then please contact the Senior Strategic & Policy Planner on (08) 8408 0400.


The State Government's recent Planning Reforms included a comprehensive review of the State's planning system and roll out of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure (PDI) Act, 2016. This Act will eventually supersede and replace the Development Act, 1993, and associated Regulations. However, during this transition phase the two aforementioned Acts will operate with certain parts becoming redundant when the parallel sections of the PDI Act are 'switched on' over the next couple of years. The PDI Act will result in the replacement of council Development Plans with a Planning & Design Code. 

A significant piece of work which will be undertaken over the next couple of years will be the conversion of the Council's Development Plan into the aforementioned Code.  Consultation with stakeholders and the community will be undertaken as and when required. Note that Council is working with the State Planning Commission (SPC) to formulate the Primary Production Policy module of the Code to achieve our goal to make farming easier in the district. The intent of this policy work is to allow for value adding activities on farms (e.g. on farm shops, distilleries/breweries, tourism activities, farm worker accommodation, etc.). If you have any further queries in this regard, then please contact the Senior Strategic & Policy Planner on (08) 8408 0400.

Looking for a development application form? Click here to go to the Application forms, checklists, fees and information page.
Unsure of what you need to do for your development? Return to the Planning and Building page and look for a tile that matches your project.
Want to see what development applications are currently under assessment? See the current Category 2 and Category 3 public notifications on this page.

Council acknowledges that we conduct our business on the traditional lands and waters of the Peramangk and Kaurna people. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging as the Custodians of this ancient and beautiful land.
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