Rural Dwellings


You’ll need a planning permit to build a dwelling on a rural property. There are many factors to consider in the use or development of rural land. Use this guide to ensure your permit application addresses each of the criteria we need to consider.

If you’re unsure about whether you need a planning permit, we can help.

You’ll need:

  • A covering letter
  • An up-to-date copy of title (less than six months old)
  • A detailed report addressing planning concerns
  • Full site and development plans
  • Supporting information 

Use the navigational structure on the top of this page to learn more about the requirements of each of these elements. Note that this is a guide and more information may be required when you lodge your application.

Please note that the materials you submit with your application, including plans, will be made available for public view. Copies may be made to interested parties for consideration and review as part of the planning process under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

It is important that you discuss your proposal with us before you submit your application to avoid potential delays or disappointments during the planning process.

Covering Letter

Outline your proposal with as much detail as possible about the intended use or development. You need to include a covering letter that includes all the details about your intended operation and how you plan to use or develop the land.


Copy of Title


It’s a requirement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Section 47 (1)(d)) that you provide an up-to-date copy of title with any planning permit application. If the application is for a permit to remove or vary the title in any way, or if the permit would breach any covenant, you’ll need to include all of this information in your application.





You’ll need to include a report which addresses each of the following concerns in as much detail as possible:

  • Whether the dwelling is reasonably required for the operation of the agricultural activity conducted on the land
  • Whether the dwelling will result in the loss or fragmentation of productive agricultural land
  • Whether the dwelling will be adversely affected by agricultural activities on adjacent and nearby land due to dust, noise, odour, use of chemicals and farm machinery, traffic and hours of operation
  • Whether the dwelling will adversely affect the operation and expansion of adjoining and nearby agricultural uses
  • The potential for the proposal to lead to a concentration or proliferation of dwellings in the area and the impact of this on the use of the land for agriculture


You also need to consider:

  • How the development and site plans respond to the site and context. Include an explanation of how the proposal has been designed to avoid or minimise any adverse impacts on the environment, including native vegetation and fauna, water quality, natural physical features such as water courses, drainage lines and areas subject to inundation, hazards and landscape character including the impact on any features of architectural, historic or scientific significance.
  • The farm size and the productive capacity of the site to sustain the proposed rural enterprise and whether the dwelling will have an adverse impact on surrounding land uses.


We take into account the capability of the land to support the dwelling and proposed rural activity. It helps to include details in your report about:

  • Site quality attributes such as soil type, soil fertility, soil structure, soil permeability, aspect, contour and drainage patterns (a land capability assessment is highly recommended)
  • How the development will protect and enhance the natural environment and the character of the area, including the retention of vegetation and fauna habitat and the need to revegetate land including riparian buffers along waterways, gullies, ridge lines, property boundaries, recharge and discharge areas and the management of pest plants and animals
  • Details of power and water supply (for domestic and firefighting purposes)


In areas that are not serviced with reticulated sewerage, you need to include details about wastewater disposal. You must provide:

  • A land capability assessment in accordance with EPA Publication 746, Land Capability Assessment for Onsite Domestic Wastewater Management (if deemed necessary)
  • Details of the proposed method of effluent disposal


It may be useful to undertake a whole farm plan, which can be submitted with the application. Whole Farm Planning Short Courses are sometimes held in regional locations. 




You'll need to submit:


  • Three copies of site and development plans, drawn to scale and of a reasonable drafting standard (including at least one full colour copy)
  • One copy of plans must be A4 or A3 sized (also to scale) for copying
  • It would help if you could submit an electronic copy of all plans in PDF format on CD.


You also need to submit a full site plan, at a scale of 1:1000, 1:2000 or 1:2500, showing:

  • The north point
  • The site shape, boundaries and dimensions of the site
  • Easements
  • Any significant features in proximity to the site
  • The location and use of existing buildings and proposed buildings on site
  • The effluent disposal envelopes
  • Native vegetation to be removed or retained
  • Any other biodiversity assets
  • Revegetation areas, including details of number and species
  • Land management works (for example, fencing out stock)
  • All-weather access and car-parking areas within the site (with dimensions and construction type adequate to accommodate emergency vehicles)
  • Location of water supply for domestic and firefighting purposes
  • Farm layout
  • The location and use of buildings on adjoining lots
  • Existing land uses on adjoining lots
  • The location and use of buildings on adjoining lots


Alongside these you need to submit development plans, showing:

  • Proposed floor plans for each level
  • Elevations of every building
  • The relationship of the elevations to natural ground level, showing any proposed cut or fill
  • External materials and colours


Other information

Be sure to include any supporting information to help process your application, including:

  • Plans
  • Text
  • Photographs
  • Sketches
  • Photo montages
  • Anything to help us understand your proposed land use or development.


To enable us to quickly inspect your site, it’s helpful to:

  • Provide a photo of the site from the street
  • Mark the site clearly with a sign showing the street number
  • Peg out the location of the development and tape any vegetation to be removed
  • Where the height of your development may cause an issue, such as potentially impacting on views, you should erect height poles in consultation with the planning officer, to display the height of your development
  • Advise whether access to the site needs to be arranged (for example, if gates are locked).