Areas of Special Consideration

Character Perservation District

The Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale Revised Protection Districts Development Plan Amendment (DPA) was approved, with revisions, by the Minister for Planning by notice in the South Australian Government Gazette on 18 January 2013.

The approval of the DPA coincided with the introduction of two Acts establishing Preservation Character Districts in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale:

The areas affected by the Acts are shown in general on:

Generally, the DPA amends existing maps and figures in affected development plans to show the extent of the Character Preservation Districts and introduces district-wide provisions for character preservation. The legislation means that Councils, developers, landowners or even Ministers for Planning cannot subdivide land in the Barossa or McLaren Vale without full Parliamentary approval.

The Development Plans affected are:

  • Adelaide Hills Council Development Plan
  • Barossa Council Development Plan
  • Light Regional Council Development Plan
  • Onkaparinga (City) Development Plan.

To view these plans see Online Development Plans.

Heritage Places

The Department for Environment and Heritage has a responsibility for the built heritage under the Heritage Places Act 1993. Places of heritage significance are assessed and listed in different ways. The State Government manages the assessment and listing of State Heritage Places and Areas, while local government manages local heritage and contributory items. All State and local places are then recorded in the South Australian Heritage Register, a database maintained by the State Government.

Details regarding the Register are available on the Department for Environment and Heritage webpage.

The SA Government maintains the South Australian Heritage Places Database and provides to assist people to find out information about Heritage Places (State and local as well as contributory items). This is information can be found here.

There are strict procedures in place for getting places onto the Register, either as a State or local place. A place on the Register has additional protection afforded it in terms of development assessment to ensure that its heritage value is protected, the level of which is slightly different depending on whether it is a State or a local place.

Note that in the case of a State area or place, a formal referral pursuant to Schedule 8 of the Development Regulations to the Minister responsible for heritage must be undertaken. Be aware also that, for the purposes of the Development Act, all places within State Heritage Areas are regarded as State Heritage Places and are treated accordingly from a development assessment point of view.

The planning processes covering both State and local heritage places are detailed in the Planning Bulletin: Heritage published by the SA Government. Note, however, that the Bulletin has not been updated to reflect amendments made in 2005 to the Heritage Act 1993 (including its change of name to the Heritage Places Act 1993). The Bulletin, nevertheless, does provide good information on various heritage-related issues and elements important in heritage planning.

State Heritage

State Heritage places are listed on the South Australian Heritage Register, which is a list of places that have been assessed as being of significant heritage value to South Australia. Places can be built form, gardens, or natural features and are entered in the South Australian Heritage Register if they comply with a set of legislated criteria (listed below):

a) it demonstrates important aspects of the evolution  or pattern of the State’s history (ie. places associated with activites or developments which have played a significant part in  South Australia’s history).

b) it has rare, uncommon or endangered qualities that are of cultural significance

c) it may yield information that will contribute to an understanding of the State’s history, including its natural history.

d) it is an outstanding representative of a particular class of places of cultural significance.

e) it demonstrates a high degree of creative, aesthetic  or technical accomplishment OR is an outstanding  representative of particular construction techniques or design characteristics.

f) it has strong cultural or spiritual associations for the community or a group within it.

g) it has a special association with the life or work of a person or organisation or an event of historical importance.

Source: Department of Environment and Heritage.

See the following two-part PowerPoint presentation by the Department of Environment and Heritage for more information. Part 1 and Part 2.

Local Heritage

Local Heritage Places and Contributory Items are included in South Australian Development Plans.
Section 23(4) of the Development Act enables councils to identify and list places of local heritage value in Development Plans.

For a local heritage place to be included in a Development Plan Amendment, it must be supported by appropriate investigations (generally containing the findings of a heritage survey) and must meet at least one of the criteria in Section 23(4) of the Development Act.

Heritage places and items in South Australia are protected under the Heritage Places Act 1993 and the Development Act 1993.

Heritage protection focuses on the conservation of ‘fabric’ (usu ally built fabric) required to retain that significance.


According to the Department of Planning and Local Government’s Planning Guide for Desired Character, ‘character’ is,

“the interrelationship of various aspects of built form, topography, vegetation, density, subdivision pattern, and activity, both in the public realm and private domain.”

‘Character’ has nothing to do with issues of amenity, style, taste or personal opinion but rather is resultant of the visual qualities, patterns and spatial definition in an area.

It is important to note that all areas have a present character that can be analysed and described.

For more information on character, see the Desired Character Planning Guide from the Department of Planning and Local Government .

Bushfire Areas

Bushfire Protection Areas

In late 2006 and 2007, changes were made to the planning and building requirements for new dwellings to be built in certain identified bushfire risk areas of South Australia. In particular, Bushfire Protection Areas were introduced by the Minister into a number of Development Plans.

Each of the Bushfire Protection Areas has been thoroughly assessed and categorised into one of three bushfire risk levels – high bushfire risk, medium bushfire risk or general bushfire risk. There are also areas which are ‘excluded’

Different planning and building requirements now apply depending on the designated level of bushfire risk. These requirements are outlined on the SA Government’s website.

For more information on what is required when constructing a residential building in a bushfire prone area, see the Adelaide Hills Council’s Information Sheet for Bushfire Services Plan for Building in Bushfire Prone Area .

The Minister’s Code

To assist applicants seeking to undertake development in bushfire protection areas and the professionals who assess development applications, the Minister’s Code – Undertaking Development in a Bushfire Area has been adopted.

Liquor Licensing Procedures

The Liquor Licensing Act 1997 allows Councils to get involved in several ways in the liquor licensing process, namely applications for –

  • new licences
  • variation to the terms of an existing licence
  • licensed outdoor pavement facilities adjacent existing premises
  • dry zones
  • seeking remedies to complaints about the operation of licensed premises

The Office of the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner provides detailed information regarding the processes under the Act, which can be accessed here

The LGA of SA website also contains quite helpful information regarding local government’s role and responsibilities in liquor licensing. Go to the Manuals, Codes and Guidelines webpage  – then enter ‘liquor licensing’ into the Search For box. This will find a number of relevant documents that can be useful in explaining your role in a liquor application.

Regulated Trees

The Regulated Trees Development Plan Amendment (DPA) was approved by the Minister for Planning by notice in the South Australian Gazette on 15 November 2012. The amendment incorporated new policies related to regulated trees into Metropolitan Adelaide development plans to reflect the Development (Regulated Trees) Amendment Act 2009 and the Development (Regulated Trees) Variation Regulations 2011. The policies provide guidance for the assessment of development applications relating to regulated trees and complement existing policies relating to significant trees.

The amendments attempted to better the balance between the protection of trees and the need to remove inappropriately located trees and inappropriate tree species. The area affected  (PDF 161KB) by the DPA is Metropolitan Adelaide (as defined by the Development Act) plus selected zones in the Adelaide Hills Council and the District Council of Mount Barker. The DPA has been consolidated into the relevant Development Plans.

Concurrently with the DPA, the Development Act and Regulations introduced “regulated trees” and “significant trees” to create a two-tiered system of tree classification and assessment.

A regulated tree is any tree in metropolitan Adelaide, Adelaide Hills Council townships and parts of the Mount Barker Council with a trunk circumference of 2.0 m or more m and an average circumference of 625mm measured at a point 1.0 m above natural ground level.

A significant tree is a tree with a trunk circumference of greater than 3.0 m or more and an average circumference of 625 mm measured at a point 1.0 m above natural ground level.

The Development Regulations support the operation of the assessment or otherwise of regulated and significant trees and include the listing of specific tree species and defined circumstances where trees can be removed without approval.  These exemptions can be found in Regulation 6A and Schedule 3 of the Development Regulations.

A link to Regulation 6A of the Development Regulations is provided here, along with Schedule 3 below (see clause 17).

The undertaking of a tree damaging activity pertaining to a regulated or significant tree constitutes the following:

tree-damaging activity

(a) the killing or destruction of a tree; or
(b) the removal of a tree; or
(c) the severing of branches, limbs, stems or trunk of a tree; or
(d) the ringbarking, topping or lopping of a tree; or
(e) any other substantial damage to a tree,

and includes any other act or activity that causes any of the foregoing to occur but does not include maintenance pruning that is not likely to affect adversely the general health and appearance of a tree.

Development Approval is required to undertake a tree damaging activity with regard to regulated and significant trees.

The Development Regulations pertain equally to Councils, except that Category 2 public notification is required if a Council wishes to remove a significant or regulated tree (an application by a person that is not a Council does not require public notification).

Significant Trees

A significant tree is a regulated tree in metropolitan Adelaide, Adelaide Hills Council townships and parts of the Mount Barker Council with a trunk circumference of 3.0 m or more and an average circumference of 625mm or more measured at a point 1.0 m above natural ground level. A significant tree may be listed in individual Development Plans.

A regulated and significant trees information sheet is also available. For more information, visit.


The potential exists for significant problems to arise where land has been rezoned or development is approved on sites which have subsequently been found to have soil or ground water contamination problems.  It is important therefore to obtain information, in the preliminary stages, that trigger the assessment of site contamination in accordance with the recommendations of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

When rezoning land by way of the Development Plan Amendment process the health, safety and environmental implications of site contamination are to be given consideration to ensure that the land is suitable for the form of land use proposed

Similarly, a reasonable level of care is required also when Council has a reason to suspect that the land that is the subject of a development application is, or has the potential to be contaminated.  In these cases it is essential that an applicant be requested to demonstrate to Council that the site is suitable for the use proposed.

The link below outlines the following relevant information:

  • The role of Independent Environmental Auditors;
  • The content and purpose of site audit reports;
  • The role of the EPA;
  • The policy implications for DPA’s;
  • Uses of land that should trigger a site audit report; and
  • Government agencies that may be able to assist in the consideration of contamination.