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State Planning Minister John Day announced the changes last Tuesday, dropping the opt-in threshold from $3 million to $2 million and extending the mandatory limit from $7 million to $10 million.

Applications to the specialist Development Assessment Panel grew by more than 40 per cent between 2011 and 2014, with more than 321 applications received last financial year.

The DAP approved more than 90 per cent the applications submitted in 2013/14, not including those deferred.

Mr Day said the modified threshold would provide developers more flexibility and create a more transparent system.

�At a community level, the reduction of the opt-in threshold recognises that some smaller priced developments may benefit from being reviewed by an independent panel,� Mr Day said.

The changes have been met with some resistance, with local government representatives from the City of Stirling concerned the changes would strip councils of a final say on developments in their communities.

However, City of Fremantle development approvals manager Natalie Martin Goode said the changes would make little difference to how the city dealt with planning matters.

�JDAP applications and planning applications determined by the City go through a similar planning assessment, advertising and reporting process,� she said.

�It is estimated that JDAP applications are likely to increase only marginally from the current 12 per annum to approximately 14 -16 per annum.�

City of Cockburn Planning and Development director Daniel Arndt said there needed to be greater flexibility with the DAPs.

�From an Administration perspective, the City supports the increase in the mandatory threshold but believe that the mandatory threshold should be removed altogether and that only an opt-in arrangement be kept,� he said.

Department of Planning acting director general David MacLennan said the increase in DAP applications would not result in an increase in waiting times, while application fees would offset any incurred costs, while developments containing less than 10 grouped or multiple dwellings will remain exempt from DAP, including single houses.

The changes to the DAP threshold come into effect May 1.