Design Review Forum (DRF) formerly Architectural Review Advisory Panel (ARAP)

Council established the Design Review Forum (DRF) formerly known as Architectural Review Advisory Panel (ARAP) to:

  • Provide expert design advice on development proposals and policy, particularly for apartment buildings and multi dwelling housing;

  • Assist in improving the design quality of development in terms of the quality of life for future occupants and the quality of the broader urban environment; and

  • Build the capacity of assessment staff to assess proposals and make sound decisions.

When assessing pre development application proposals and formal development applications, the panel considers the following design principles:

  1. Context and neighbourhood character
  2. Built form and scale
  3. Density
  4. Sustainability
  5. Landscape
  6. Amenity
  7. Safety
  8. Housing diversity and social interaction
  9. Aesthetics

Who sits on the DRF?

Currently the DRF consists of two external professional architects and a suitably experienced member of Council’s assessment team.  One of the architects is the permanent chairperson.  Enough external members are appointed to allow a rotational roster to be prepared, however the permanent chairperson attends as many meetings as possible.

What types of development proposals will the panel consider? 

The Forum provides advice on development applications for:

  • residential flat buildings as defined under State Environmental Planning Policy 65;
  • villa and townhouse developments – six units or more; and
  • significant industrial, commercial, retail, residential and public buildings, dependent on their location, scale and whether they are visually prominent from the public domain, as determined by the Director, Shire Planning.

When should a development proposal go to this forum?

Experience has shown that attending a meeting of the DRF before lodging a development application helps the applicant.  Attendance at a DRF meeting allows an applicant to present concept drawings and a brief outline of the proposal for the DRF’s initial consideration and comments before preparing detailed architectural, landscape and drainage plans.

If the DRF has fundamental concerns about the design concept, such matters can be addressed before detailed plans are prepared.

After consideration of a pre development application proposal, the applicant will be given a copy of the DRF’s recommendations, including any design changes recommended to improve the quality of the proposed development.

After consideration of a formal development application the DRF will provide the council assessment officer with urban design and architectural advice, which is incorporated into the assessment process.  The panel has no delegated authority to determine applications.


Design Review Forum (DRF) Cost $
Villas / Townhouses 3150
Seniors Living 2900
Industrial 3050
Commercial 3150
Mixed Residetial / Commercial and Residential Flat Buildings 3600
 Single dwelling houses  No charge

Please note that for second and subsequent DRF meetings for small to medium developments, there is a 50% fee reduction. This applies to residential development of 20 dwellings or less and non-residential development of less than $6 million in value.

What should the applicant provide?

Pre DA applications DRF

  • Summary of architectural proposal
  • Architectural plans
  • Concept landscape plan or concept notes
  • Google SketchUp V14
  • Completed compliance table (council will provide this template - also attached to DRF (ARAP) application form)

Development Applications

  • Artchitectural plans
  • Landscape plan
  • Statement of Environmental Effects
  • Other relevant documents including Clause 4.6 variation statement
  • Google SketchUp V14
  • Completed compliance table (council will provide this template - also attached to DRF (ARAP) application form)

How does the DRF operate?

Meetings of the DRF are not open to the general public.  Applicants are invited to attend the meeting to discuss their proposal but will not be present during DRF deliberations.  

The DRF currently meets fortnightly and considers each development application as soon as possible after community consultation concludes.  This allows the DRF to provide feedback to the assessment officer at an early stage of the assessment process so that the applicant can be advised. 

The DRF has no authority to determine applications.

Apply for Pre DA Meeting with DRF


Address: ,

More information

Policies and documents

Design Review Forum Charter



Pre DA Meeting with ARAP

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