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Urban Release Areas

The Draft Hilltops LEP introduces a new component to local planning in Hilltops with the inclusion of a new Part 6 – Urban Release Areas. 

Urban Release Areas clauses and mapping have been introduced to provide greater guidance and direction on the planning and sequencing of development in areas identified to accommodate future urban growth.  In Hilltops, this includes locations which are yet to be developed but zoned for urban purposes adjacent to Young and Boorowa. 

The Urban Release Areas clauses allow the Draft Hilltops LEP to include requirements such as those identified in Hilltops 2040 to assist in the orderly and effective provision of infrastructure and development in each location.  These requirements include but are not limited to:

  • confirming the suitability and capacity of lands.
  • developing infrastructure plans and layout options to confirm orderly and appropriate urban service provision
  • confirming road and open space networks
  • addressing and protecting environmental values

The Urban Release Area clauses promote the use of master planning, to provide an integrated and coordinated approach to their planning, management and sequencing.  Master planning will also provide greater certainty to Council, the landowner and the community in relation to development outcomes, layouts and likely costs. 


Urban Release Areas have been introduced to identify locations in Northern Young, Southern Boorowa and Eastern Boorowa which are yet to be developed but have been identified to accommodate future urban growth.  They are identified with the Draft Hilltops LEP noting that outstanding matters, needs and expectations are to be  addressed prior to development proceeding.

Urban Release Areas are commonly used in LEPs within NSW, and accommodated within the NSW Standard Instrument LEP. They are frequently used by local governments to provide planning directions for ‘greenfield’ residential development areas that are to be addressed before development approvals are fully considered.

They are also used as an interim measure to stop inappropriate or potential under development (eg. future urban lands being made unavailable or under-utilised for rural residential development rather than urban residential or employment use).


To assist in the progression of Hilltops 2040, the long term strategic plan for Hilltops, lands projected to be required to accommodate growth within the next ten years are zoned accordingly within the Draft Hilltops LEP.  In addition, any outstanding matters identified within Hilltops 2040 relating to these lands are integrated into the relevant planning delivery tools such as the proposed Hilltops DCP and Draft Hilltops LEP.  

Two of the areas identified within Hilltops 2040 for future urban development, and expansion of the existing towns are north-eastern Young and eastern Boorowa.  However, while both areas are primarily zoned for this purpose, Hilltops 2040 recognises that a range of matters are to be addressed prior to development to ensure strategic objectives are met and to assist in their orderly and effective development. 

The introduction of Urban Release Areas within the Draft Hilltops LEP is a major step in ensuring these requirements are addressed.  In addition, it is proposed that the Hilltops Development Control Plan (DCP) will also provide further guidance on the planning and management of these locations.

Urban Release Area (URA) clause

Part 6 – the new Urban Release Area (URA) clauses are triggered when a development proposal is submitted for any lands within a designated URA.  The development proposal will be required to prove the requirements of Part 6 have been met if the proposal is to proceed.

Part 6 of the Draft Hilltops LEP includes clauses covering a range of items, including the need for future development proposals to resolve and/or clarify:

  • Urban service network provision, locations and costings.
  • Road, access and intersection networks and upgrades.
  • Development sequencing
  • Scales of development
  • Landscaping and built form requirements to achieve ‘gateway’ objectives
  • Watercourses, flooding and overland flows.
  • Geology, topography and biodiversity matters.
  • Capacity for on site sewer management

While usually used in areas earmarked for residential development, URA clauses can also be used for lands identified for future employment growth subject to State government endorsement. This is the case in northern Young and southern Boorowa, where the URA includes both employment and residential lands as well as open space corridors.  As both of these locations are proposed to include employment and residential lands utilising shared road networks and urban services, the URA provides the opportunity for these to be planned together.

The locations proposed to be identified within the URA clause of the Hilltops LEP are:

Location Proposed Use
Boorowa East Urban Residential

Semi – Residential

Open Space

Boorowa South Semi – Residential

Open Space

Industrial (Gateway Precinct)

Young North/North-East Urban Residential

Semi – Residential

Open Space

Industrial (Gateway Precinct)

For further information on Urban Release Area locations and boundaries please go to Attachment E – Urban Release Area Paper. 

It is to be noted that while the URA clauses trigger development requirements for proposals on lands within a URA, further guidance is required on how these can be achieved and the relevant standards relating to roads, services and parklands. It is proposed that this additional guidance will be established as part of the development of a consolidated Development Control Plan for Hilltops.  Also, Council will consider undertaking further Master Planning of URA’s in collaboration with landowners and the community.

Some of the matters for consideration within the consolidated Development Control Plan for Hilltops, to assist with planning and managing URA’s include site specific plans and standards for:

  • Infrastructure provision and sequencing – water and sewer
  • Road access and transport movements
  • landscaping strategy for:
    • the protection and enhancement of riparian areas and remnant vegetation
    • Gateways / entries to towns
    • stormwater and water quality management controls

Where Master Plans are undertaken, the outcomes from these plans can be included in future iterations of the Hilltops DCP and include endorsed:

  • road and service networks
  • lot layouts
  • open space and conservation areas
  • location of uses and densities

To read Part 6 of the Draft Hilltops LEP and the Urban Release Area Clauses please go to Attachment A – Hilltops LEP Clause Explainer

For further information on relevant definitions, including the definition of an Urban Release Area (URA) please go to 

Urban Release Area Maps