Development Control


Development Control provides a mechanism where development proposals are evaluated against planning standards and policies contained in the Physical Planning Regulation 1989 and the Physical Planning Manual 1990, NCD Zoning Plan, Waigani City Centre Zoning Plan, Port Moresby Downtown Local Plan, Port Moresby and Boroko Residential Density Policy in the case of NCD. It is one of the functions of Physical Planning that deals mainly with the implementation of the planning legislation and policies with the main aim of “promoting an orderly and efficient physical development of the city to provide economic opportunities and safe and pleasant environment for the benefit of all city residents”.


The Physical Planning Act 1989 and the Physical Planning Regulation 2003 provide the legal framework of Physical Planning System of which development control is a function in NCD and PNG on the whole. The Act is supported by the Physical Planning Manual which lays down standards and procedures in physical planning.


The main functions of the Development Control Section include the following:

Providing executive and administrative support to the National Capital District Physical Board (NCDPPB), Evaluation of development planning proposals by way of preparation of technical reports, carrying out site inspections and preparation of Section 81 Agreements, Preparation of Appeal Statements, Maintaining Zoning Plans and Development Control Records, Registration of decisions and Issuance of Notices, Providing Specialist Advice & Counter Service and Enforcement of the Physical Planning Legislation as it relates to NCD.

Development Control is the most visible and remains the largest activity of the physical planners due to the provisions of the physical planning legislation that requires applications to be processed within a set time frame.


  • 1.Planning permission is required to carry out certain types of development in towns and designated physical planning areas. The Physical Planning Act defines development for the purposes of the Act to include building operations and material changes to the use of land.
  • 2.In NCD planning applications are made to the NCD Physical Planning Board through the Development Control Section of Regulatory Services, NCDC.
  • 3.The completed application is lodged at the counter where the Counter Services staff accepts and passes the applications to the Records Unit for recording and forwards it to the Manager, Development Control.
  • 4.Depending on the application type it is either processed and signed off by the Development Control Section or processed through the NCD Physical Planning Board for determination.
  • 5.The applicant is then notified of the decision and the process continues to the Building Authority in the case of building construction.
  • 6.The decision of the Board may be an outright approval, approval with conditions or refusal. The reasons for refusal and conditions of approval are based on planning grounds.
  • 7.The planning permission lapses after five (5) years if the proposed development applied has not taken place except for cases of rezoning. This implies that the applicant or developer will have to make a new application.
  • 8.The applicant has a right of appeal if aggrieved by a decision of refusal or on conditions imposed. The appeal is made to the PNG Physical Planning Appeals Tribunal within three (3) months from the date of the decision. The Tribunal makes recommendation to the Minister for Lands & Physical Planning who makes the final decision.



These are applications that go before the NCD Physical Planning Board for consideration and do not fall under any of the categories of Deemed Planning Permission as stipulated under Section 39 of the Physical Planning Act. These include:
  • Rezoning of Land
  • Changing the Use of Land (Non-Conforming Use)
  • Subdivision & Consolidation of Land
  • Construction of Commercial, Industrial Warehouses and Multiple Residential Units


These are applications types for development that fall under any of the categories of developments deemed to be approved under Section 39 of the Physical Planning Act. A certificate of deemed permission is issued for such applications.


These are application types for developments that fall under any of the clauses of the instrument of delegation approved by the NCDPPB in 1999. These are application types that would normally go before the Board for consideration but delegated. However, those developments can only be granted approval under delegated powers if the value of development is K250, 000 and less. The Manager, Development Control certifies the application and the Director, Regulatory Services signs off.


  • The statutory time period for consideration of a planning application is 3 months from the date of registration and or from the date of receipt of additional information if requested.
  • Planning Board applications normally take 1–3 months to process depending on the nature of development. Straight forward applications are processed within a month.
  • Delegated Approvals would normally take 5 working days to process.
  • Deemed Approvals would normally take 3 working days to process.
Conforming Use does not need planning approval however a planning officer certifies and issues a conforming use certificate. This would normally take 2 working days for certification.


  • 1.In the land development approval process planning comes first.
  • 2.Planning approval gives authorization of the land use consistent with the zoning of the particular land proposed to be developed as per the approved zoning plan.
  • 3.Consultation is very important and should be the initial step in compiling documentation for applications. This saves cost, time and frustrations in the overall application process.
  • 4.Developers should be informed and made aware of the time frames for approvals from the respective approving agencies (planning, building & licensing).
  • 5.The cut off dates for monthly application processing time for the Board meetings is 2 weeks before the actual date of the meeting.
  • 6.One week before the actual NCD Physical Planning Board meetings are held a Pre-Board meeting of the technical staff is usually convened to finalize agenda items and discussions of the applications.
  • 7.The NCD Physical Planning Board Meetings are convened on the Last Wednesdays of every month with the exception of the month of November. Special meetings are convened when the need arises but are not normally encouraged.
  • 8.Planning fees are paid before an application is lodged. The fees differ with the types of application. This is provided for in the schedule of fees in the Physical Planning Regulation 2003.


No Interest Group Representative
1 Chairman of the NCDC or his Delegate Michael Malabag (Delegate)
2 Deputy Chairman of NCDC or his Delegate Opao Udia
3 Chairman of National Physical Planning Board or his Delegate Kostas Constantinou, OBE - Chairman of the Board
4 Deputy Chairman of National Physical Planning Board or his Delegate Tony Luben (Delegate)
5 One person representing Private Business Sector David Conn (President, POM Chamber of Commerce)
6 Registered Engineer, Registered Architect, or a Registered Surveyor or Registered Valuer, Professional Town Planner or Lawyer Allan Karo (Architect)
7 Manager, NCDC or his Nominee Leslie Alu (a/City Manager)
8 Secretary of Department of Lands & Physical Planning or his Nominee Romilly Kila (Nominee)
9 Two other members representing:- Sporting Bodies & Groups, Churches, Settlements Arch Bishop Sir Brian Barnes (Church Representative) & Maria Andrews (President of NCD Women’s Council)

The Commission board recommended new members to the Physical Planning Board, which will be posted once the appointments are gazatted.