Planning & Infrastructure

The Development Plan

The City of Unley Development Plan sets out planning zones, lists complying and non-complying land uses within each zone and provides development principles and design techniques.


Development Plan Amendments

The Unley Council Development Plan is subject to ongoing strategic reviews and amendments to ensure that planning trends and community issues are balanced, reflecting the desired future character for the area.

Changes to the Development Plan are made by Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) which can be prepared by either the Council or by the Minister for Urban Development and Planning. All DPAs are subject to the approval of the Minister.

DPAs are notified and released for public consultation for a minimum of eight weeks.

Some DPAs are given interim authorisation by the State Government to prevent negative speculative development. This means that the new policies become law on an interim basis, during which time the public and government agencies are consulted. There may be changes made during this time based on submissions received.

After the consultation period finishes, all submissions including those from the public and government agencies are reviewed and amendments made as considered appropriate. The DPA is then forwarded to the Minister for Urban Development and Planning for final authorisation.

Residential Growth DPA

  • Village Living & Desirable Neighbourhoods

    The Residential Character, Growth Areas and Council Wide Residential Policy Development Plan Amendment (DPA) focuses on protection of valued neighbourhood character, while targeting new integrated development in areas of mixed character and areas of renewal adjacent to strategic location, ie close to public transport infrastructure, centre facilities and services.

    • Revised and new policies affect major areas of the city and include:
    • Minor expansion of the Residential Streetscape (Built Form) Zone
    • New residential zones - Residential Streetscape (Landscape) Zone, Residential Zone and Residential Regeneration Zone - to replace existing zones
    • Revised Council Wide Residential policy
    • New Council Wide Hazards policy module to consolidate relevant policy
    • Revised structure and format of the Plan Edited maps, figures and tables to reflect the new zones and policy
  • Public Consultation and Review
    Public Consultation concluded in May 2014 and a public meeting was held on 16 June 2014.

    A summary of Public and Agency feedback from the consultation process and a Post Consultation Key Issues Preliminary Review was prepared to allow Council to provide guidance on desired proposed amendments.

    The Post Consultation Key Issues Preliminary Review was considered by the Development Strategy and Policy Committee and by Council in August 2014 and recommended key amendments to the DPA were endorsed.
  • Final Approval
    Due to the caretaker period from 16 September 2014 to the Council elections in November 2014, and appropriate induction period for a new Council, the Development Strategy and Policy Committee and Council considered a revised DPA in April 2015.

    Council agreed with the Minister that the DPA be split into two parts so the changes in the central and eastern suburbs can proceed and be considered for approval in accord with the endorsed Summary of Consultation and Proposed Amendments (SCPA) Report. 

    The policy changes in the DPA relating to areas to the east of a line along Goodwood Road, the tram line and East Avenue are to be encompassed in a revised amendment document and forwarded to the Minister for Planning for consideration for approval. This occurred in June 2015.  After lengthy consideration the Minister advised of his intention to make alterations to the submitted DPA, principally to maintain reduced site area criteria and development flexibility in the Residential Streetscape (Landscape) Zone.  Council reviewed and provided a response to the Minister at its meeting on 27 March 2017. Final approval occurred on 4 July 2017.

    The remaining areas to the west, that have been the focus of various issues and proposed changes in accord with the SCPA Report, was to be formed into another DPA document. It has subsequently been agreed not to proceed with this part of the DPA.  The proposals will be included in the review and transition of zoning and policy into the new Planning and Design Code being introduced by the State Government over the next 2 years.


  • Document Library

Unley Central DPA

The Unley Central Precinct is the heart of our City. We want to create a smart city that is highly accessible and inclusive. A city that promotes innovation, health and wellbeing and provides opportunities for connection, inclusion and participation.

The City of Unley has prepared a Development Plan Amendment (DPA) pursuant to sections 24 and 25 of the Development Act 1993 to amend the Unley (City) Development Plan. 

For further information view:

  • What is the Unley Central Precinct Plan?
    The City of Unley and the State Government hold the long-term goal of revitalising the heart of Unley by generating new activity, more sustainable retail, and increased residential living opportunities in the Unley Central area. To aid in visioning what the nature of this rejuvenation might entail, the City of Unley commissioned the preparation of the Unley Central Precinct Plan. The goals and visions set out in the Precinct Plan cannot be actioned without first amending the Council’s Development Plan for the area.
  • What is the Unley Central DPA?
    The Development Plan is a plan required under the State Government’s Development Act to help guide new development.
    Council needs to ensure that its Development Plan delivers what is needed for the future growth and prosperity of the City, while recognising its unique character.
    To achieve the goals of the Unley Central Precinct Plan, Council will need to amend its current Development Plan.
    The Development Plan Amendment (DPA) will encourage residential development and set a height limit for the area while providing for progressive reductions in height at the perimeter of the zone. Currently the Unley District Centre Zone has no specific building height limits or envelopes (increasing setbacks for increasing height).
    As part of the process, the suburbs of the Unley Council area which are most important from a Conservation and Streetscape perspective will be given enhanced protection.
  • What is the position of the State Government?

    The Development Plan is required to align with the State Planning Strategy (The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide) and the South Australian Planning Policy Library template zone modules pursuant to the Development Act. 

    To undertake a Development Plan Amendment the Minister has ultimate control in regard to allowing it to proceed and what is finally approved.  This is established via a Statement of Intent that is agreed to at the start of the process.

    One of the objectives set by the State Government for the District Centre Zone is high density development.  It is the central heart of Unley and the core activity centre on Unley Road.  The surrounding Urban Corridor Zone template policy generally calls for 6 storey development up to 10 storey.  In 2013 the City of Unley negotiated an outcome of 5 storey for Unley Road and 7 storey for Greenhill Road.

  • How has Council consulted with the community?

    Community consultation on the future for Unley Central and the 2014 Precinct Plan took place in November to December 2015. During this process, Council received valuable and constructive feedback on subjects such as:

    • land use;
    • building height;
    • transport and parking;
    • amenity; and
    • the environment.

    A further hands on stakeholder workshop (called a Design Lab), with residents, owners and local groups, was held in April 2016 to explore potential options for the Precinct.
    This feedback was considered by the City Strategy and Development Policy (CSDP) Committee and by the City of Unley Council through a series of meetings from February 2016 until the draft DPA was endorsed in August 2016.

    A formal statutory consultation on the DPA was conducted from September to in November 2016 and further personal submissions received at a Public Meeting on Tuesday 6 December at the Unley Civic Centre.

    After comprehensive consideration a Summary of Consultation and Proposed Amendments Report with options for change to key elements was presented to the CSDP Committee on Tuesday 14 March where they voted on the recommendations to be presented to Council. Further Deputations were received at the scheduled Council meeting on the 27 March 2017.  Given the significance and complexity of the matter debate was deferred to a special Council meeting on the 30 March 2017 where the revised policy and building heights were adopted. 
    An appropriately revised version of the DPA was submitted to the Minister for Planning on 6 April 2017.  The DPA was approved by the Minister on the 4 July 2017 and now forms part of the Unley (City) Development Plan.

  • Where are we up to in the process?

    Final approval on the Unley Central DPA was given by the Minister of Planning on 4 July 2017. See below a copy of the final (amended) DPA which was submitted to the Planning Minister.

  • What has Council endorsed for submission to the Minister?

    The below table provides a summary of what is included in the final DPA that was submitted to the Minister. Final approval was given by the Minister of Planning on 4 July 2017.

    District Centre Zone Existing Policy Original DPA Proposal Amended DPA
    West of Unley Road precinct north of Arthur Street. No height limit 39.5 metres (11 storey)  32.5 metres (9 storey)
    West of Unley Road south of Arthur Street. No height limit 39.5 metres (11 storey)  25.5 metres (7 storey)
    West of Unley Road adjacent to Thomas Street west of Memorial Gardens. 2 storey to frontage and no height limit within District Centre Zone 39.5 metres (11 storey)  18.5 metres (5 storey).
    Memorial Gardens recognised and building setbacks specified.
    East of Unley Road north of Oxford Terrace. No height limit 18.5 metres (5 storey) 18.5 metres (5 storey)
    East of Unley Road Community Area encompassing Oxford Terrace and Civic Centre. Existing residential scale.
    No recognition of Village Green.
    29 metres (8 storey) 11.5 metres (3 storey).
    Retain and enlarge a ground level Village Green.
    Surrounding residential areas interface. No building envelope.
    Minimum setback 8 metres, except for Unley Road, and no building envelope.
    Building envelope of 30o at  3 metres above ground level from adjoin sites.
    Specified setbacks from residential streets based upon 30o envelope to opposite front boundaries.
    Building envelope of 30o at 3 metres above ground level from adjoin sites.
    Minimum residential street setbacks and building envelope of 30o at 3 metres above ground level from the zone boundary at street centre-line.
    Council also voted to exclude residential development from the Community Area east of Unley Road to the south of Oxford Terrace.
  • Project timeline

    August - The concepts outlined in the Draft Unley Central Precinct Plan were adopted unanimously by Council as the long term vision for the precinct

    Jan – City of Unley submits a Statement of Intent to the State Government to amend the Development Plan
    May – Minister approves Statement of Intent to the State Government to amend the Development Plan
    November – Council wide Community consultation on the vision and principals for Unley Central

    February – Community feedback considered by the CSDP Committee
    April - Design Lab on DPA (with a selection of residents and developers)
    September – DPA consultation
    December – Public hearing

    March - Workshop
    March – CSDP Committee decide on what will be recommended to Council
    March – Council votes on way forward at Council meeting
    April – Council reports back to Minister with a proposed way forward
    July - Minister for Planning gives final approval to the DPA on 4 July

Proposed Development Plan Changes

Our Planning System is facing fundamental change under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015.

Council will be contributing to the Local Government Association response document.  When that has been submitted to the Government, a copy will be made available through this website.  In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, they can be submitted to

Council remains committed to the view that local residents should have a say as to how their neighbourhood is developed. This includes involvement in both policy setting, and in development applications where the development is inconsistent with the planning policy.
  • The Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015

    The Draft Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015 has been introduced to the South Australia Parliament. The Bill must pass through a number of stages before becoming an Act of Parliament. The aim of the Bill is to deliver a number of changes to the planning and development process undertaken by Councils. Unley Council is working closely with the Local Government Association to identify and address aspects of the Bill that affect the development and planning process in the City of Unley.

  • What is the background to this Bill?

    In 2013, the Minister for Planning announced the appointment of the Expert Panel on Planning Reform to undertake a review of South Australia’s planning system and the Development Act, the legislation that forms the basis for South Australia’s planning system.

    In August 2014, the Expert Panel presented their report to the Minister for Planning. The Review focussed on many issues the property development sector had raised including:

    • the involvement of Elected Members on Development Assessment Panels
    • the inability to have land rezoned and the time taken in this process, and
    • the complexity of Development Plans and rights of appeal. 
  • What changes will the Bill deliver? What will remain the same?

    It is anticipated that the provisions in the Bill will be introduced over a period of between three and five years.  Many aspects of the Bill are complex and the exact impact on the City of Unley is yet to be determined.

    The Bill will deliver a number of changes to the planning and development process. These changes are planned to include:

    • Removing Elected Members from the Development Assessment process
    • Replacing current Development Plans with a state-wide Planning and Design Code 
    • The potential reduction in the number of applications subject to public notification.
    • The Introduction of an online planning portal

    Applicants will still be able to appeal against a condition of approval or against a refusal. There will still be a Development Assessment Panel appointed by Council but it will not contain Elected Members.

  • Where to find further information

    Details of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015 and fact sheets are available on the DPTI’s Planning Reform webpage.

State Planning Reform

South Australia is currently undergoing the biggest modernisation of its planning system in 20 years. The State Government’s new planning system seeks to achieve better outcomes for South Australia's economy, environment and communities.
This change will affect you. Into the future it will affect the nature of improvements you are able to do around your property and the type of new land uses, buildings and changes that could occur next door, down the street or generally in your neighbourhood.
Explore the SA Planning Portal website to learn more about the outcomes that the State Government is trying to achieve. You can:
  • View the State Government Planning Reforms
  • Have your say on the reforms through community consultations, workshops and more
  • Subscribe to e-newsletters to stay up-to-date with planning and building news across South Australia. To subscribe, click the subscribe button on the SA Planning Portal homepage
  • View details on the State Government’s plan to introduce the new system in three phases, toward implementation in 2020.