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Many questions arise regarding the planning permit process. The below collates a few of our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question not answered below, please contact NPC for expert advice.

 FAQ’s

  • A planning permit is a legal document that gives permission to make certain changes to your house, property or use of the land. Generally, planning is concerned with the land – the way it will be used and/or developed.

    This may include building a fence, adding a second storey onto your home, building additional dwelling(s) on the land or subdividing the property.

    A planning permit contains a list of conditions that outline what you can and cannot do in relation to those changes and may be subject to a time limit or expire under specified circumstances.

    Victorian Planning Scheme’s govern whether a planning permit is required to use or develop your land in a particular manner, within each Municipality.

  • What is the planning permit process?

    A brief outline of the planning permit process is explained on the Planning on a Page Fact Sheet.

    Nepean Planning Consultants can advise whether you require a planning permit and step you through this process. If you have any queries about the process, contact one of our consultants today!

  • Who decides if I get a permit?

    Local Government is the Responsible Authority for deciding permit applications. Nepean Planning Consultants provide expert advice and can facilitate your application through the Planning Permit Process whereby giving your proposal the best chances of prompt approval.

    In some circumstances a request can be made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a declaration on whether a proposed use requires a permit.

    If you believe a declaration is required or would like more information, please contact Nepean Planning Consultants.

  • Where can I find out what planning controls apply to my property?

    Planning controls are site specific! Nepean Planning Consultants can inform you how your property can be used and/or developed. Contact us today to discuss your property!

    Alternatively, to find out what controls affect your property, you can apply for a planning certificate from your local council or visit the Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD): http://services.land.vic.gov.au/landchannel/jsp/reports/ReportsIntro.jsp

    If you have any difficulty obtaining this information, please contact Nepean Planning Consultants for assistance.

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  • When do I need a planning permit?

    A planning permit is required when a proposed use or development application triggers consideration by the Responsible Authority pursuant to the planning controls applicable to the site.

    Some of the most common reasons for making an application for a planning permit include:

    • constructing or altering a building
    • starting a new use on land (particularly where it may create a demand for car parks)
    • subdividing land
    • clearing vegetation

    Nepean Planning Consultants offer advice about Zone and Overlay controls including local or state government policy guidelines that must be considered for particular uses and developments applications.

    Planning Applications are not always clear cut. For this reason, contact Nepean Planning Consultants for advice on your specific proposal.

  • Do I need a planning or building permit?

    Planning permits and building permits are different. This means that you may need one or both depending on your proposal.

    If you require both building and planning approval, you must get a planning permit before applying for the building permit. Just because you have a planning permit does not mean that you can start construction without first getting a building permit.

    Generally, planning is concerned with the land – the way it will be used and/or developed, whereas building is concerned with the method of construction – its quality and its safety.

    There are a number of different factors that influence what type of permit(s) you require. The best way to find out which is applicable to your proposal is to contact Nepean Planning Consultants for site specific advice.

  • Who can check my planning application before I lodge?

    Seeking professional planning advice and speaking to one of our consultants about your project prior to lodgement at Council is highly recommended. Our consultants have extensive Local Government experience and early dialogue can bring to light many issues that may assist in your design and planning permit process.

    For this reason, we encourage you to contact Nepean Planning Consultants today to organise a consultation meeting with one of our knowledgeable consultants.

    Our office, located at Suite 1/364 Main Street Mornington, is open between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. In order to ensure timely and accurate advice, we highly encourage you to make an appointment prior to visiting us at our office.

  • Do I need an architect to draw my plans?

    Plans should be drawn to a professional standard and Nepean Planning Consultants have long established working relationships with many proficient drafting and architecture firms. If you would like a recommendation for a suitably experienced company, please contact us today to discuss your proposal.

  • How long will my permit application (assessment) take?

    Council’s processing time for applications can vary from as little as four weeks to more than a year (dependent on the nature, scale and complexity of the application).

    Nepean Planning Consultants provide pre and post lodgement services to ensure your application can be processed quickly and efficiently by Council. Contact us today for a tailored fee proposal for your project.

  • I have a planning permit, but I have changed my mind, can I change my permit?

    Planning permits consist of two documents: the permit and the endorsed plan(s) – you can make changes to the permit or the plan(s) or both. You can also apply to have the length of your permit extended.

    Nepean Planning Consultants can assist your application through any amendment process, so please contact us to discuss any changes you’d like to make. Don’t forget to provide us with copies of your approved documents for accurate advice!

  • What are the ‘10/30’ and ‘10/50’ rules and where do they apply?

    The ‘10/30 rule’ and the ‘10/50 rule’ was introduced in November 2011 and allows residents and landowners to manage vegetation around their house and around other forms of accommodation.

    The ‘rules’ are provisions in the planning scheme and provide exemption from the need for a planning permit to clear vegetation around buildings and fences built before certain dates.

    If you would like to find out more about these planning permit exemptions, contact Nepean Planning Consultants or visit: http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/221310/1030-Rule,-1050-Rule-and-fence-line-clearing.pdf

  • Will the Native Vegetation Reforms affect my proposal?

    On 20 December 2013, Planning Scheme Amendment VC105 gave effect to the reforms to Victoria’s native vegetation permitted clearing regulations.

    These reforms seek to rationalise information requirements, implement the new risk-based assessment pathways, include a simplified approach for applications under a low-risk based pathway and streamline the determination of offset requirements.

    To determine if these reforms will impact a proposed use or development for your property, please contact Nepean Planning Consultants or for more information, visit http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/biodiversity/native-vegetation/native-vegetation-permitted-clearing-regulations

 

Frequently Used Terms

The planning process is multifaceted and this information will help you understand some of the planning jargon.

  • Australian Height Datum
    Australian Height Datum is the nomination of levels on a property and refers to the height of land above sea level.
  • Certificate of Title

    A Certificate of Title is a formal legal record about a particular piece of land. It contains basic information about the land including current ownership. A Certificate of Title also records whether a Covenant or a Section 173 Agreement is registered on the land. It is important that a current copy of the title (no less than 30 days old) is attached to any planning permit application so that the title information accurately provides all relevant and up-to-date information.

    To obtain a Certificate of Title for your land, land titles are held in a public register and can be searched for a fee. You can conduct a title search online at Titles and Property Certificates or visit the Land Information Centre.

  • Condition 1 Plans

    A planning permit through Condition 1, may require the provision of amended plans prior to endorsement and the use/development commencing. For example, a landscape plan is a common Condition 1 request.

  • Cultural Heritage Management Plans (CHMP)

    The Planning Scheme is linked to The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (the Act) which provides for the protection and management of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.

    The Act requires permit applicants to prepare a CHMP if all or part of the activity is a listed high impact activity, resulting in significant ground disturbance, and if all or part of the activity area is an area of cultural heritage sensitivity, which has not been subject to significant ground disturbance.

    To find out whether your proposal requires a CHMP, contact Nepean Planning Consultants for site specific advice.

  • Easements

    Easements are registered on title and are created to protect assets such as water pipes, electricity lines, sewerage pipes, etc. Easements are usually made out in favour of an authority.

  • Encumbrance, Covenant or Restriction on Title

    Encumbrances are identified on the title (register search statement) under the header ‘encumbrances, caveats and notices’.

    An ‘encumbrance’ is a formal obligation on the land, with the most common type being a ‘mortgage’. Other common examples of encumbrances include:

    • Restrictive covenants: A written agreement between owners of the land restricting the use or development of the land for the benefit of others, (e.g. a limit of one dwelling or limits on types of building materials to be used).
    • Section 173 Agreements: A contract between an owner of the land and Council which sets out limitations on the use or development of the land.
    • Easements: Gives rights to other parties to use the land or provide for services or access on, under or above the surface of the land.
    • Building envelopes: Defines the development boundaries for the land

    Aside from mortgages, the above encumbrances can potentially limit or even prevent certain types of proposals.

  • Elevation

    Elevations are an image that shows the appearance of a building or structure including its height, length, width and dimensions. The elevations are drawn as if you’re looking at the proposed building or structure from the front, rear or side, providing an image of what the development would look like once constructed.

  • Existing Use Rights

    Existing use occurs when your land is being used in a legal way, either with an approved permit or an approved use where a permit is not required, but then subsequent changes to the planning controls prohibit that use. For example, a factory legally operating in a residential zone because the land was once zoned industrial. Existing use rights can also occur if an illegal use has been carried out on a property for greater than 15 years however there are detailed criteria that need to be satisfied in order to qualify for “exiting use rights.”

    Contact Nepean Planning Consultants to discuss the criteria pursuant to Clause 63.

  • Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS)

    The MSS guides development across the Municipality and assists Council in assessing planning applications. The MSS as well as various local structure plans also address things like the provision of local services, amount of open space, impact on parking and traffic, pedestrian facilities and much more.

  • Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit (NOD)

    A NOD is issued when Council intends to grant a planning permit however objections were received during the planning application process. A NOD informs all parties involved of Council’s intention and includes instruction for how to appeal Council’s decision to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

  • Public Notification / Advertising

    Council may advertise your planning application to seek comments from the community (your neighbours) to see if anyone objects to your planning proposal. This can be done through advertising in the local newspapers, on council’s website, signage onsite and/or by sending a letter to nearby households. The advertising period lasts minimum of 14 consecutive days, however Council can still receive submissions from neighbours right up until a decision on the application is made.

  • Overlays

    Overlays come from the Victoria Planning Provisions and relate to land that has a specific issue. Not all land has an overlay and a single property can be affected by more than one overlay. If an overlay applies, the land will have some special feature such as a heritage building, significant vegetation or flood risk.

    If an overlay is shown on the planning scheme map, the provisions of the overlay apply in addition to the provisions of the zone and any other provision of the planning scheme.

    Given planning controls are site specific, please contact Nepean Planning Consultants for more information about overlays affecting your property.

  • Planning Certificate

    Planning certificates are official statements of the planning controls that apply to a property. They are mainly used to satisfy the requirements of the Sale of Land Act 1962, under which the vendor of a property is required to provide details of the land zoning, and any overlay controls or exhibited proposed amendments to the planning scheme.

    Planning certificates are issued by Council but do not show the locations of zone boundaries and any additional site specific controls. Statements of the zoning and overlays relating to a property can also be obtained at no cost in a Planning Property Report. These statements however do not have the same legal status as a planning certificate.

     

  • Planning Permit

    A planning permit is essentially official permission from Council to make certain changes to your house or property or to use the land in a certain way. Permits can be issued for use or development of land. This may include building a new fence, adding a second story onto your home, building a second dwelling on the land or subdividing the property. The permit includes conditions that outline what you can and cannot do in relation to those changes.

  • Planning Scheme

    A planning scheme is a legal document that sets out policies and controls for the way land may be used. For example, what development is appropriate for housing or a shop/business, and what the height of a building should be and how much open space should be provided. All municipalities in Victoria have a planning scheme which is based on the State Government’s Victoria Planning Provisions.

  • Res Code (Clause 54/55)

    ResCode is a set of planning scheme provisions that applies to residential developments across Victoria. Clause 54 relates to the construction or extension of an existing dwelling on a lot, depending on the size of the land. Clause 55 relates to the construction or extension of two of more dwellings on a lot.

  • Restrictive Covenant

    A Restrictive Covenant is a private agreement between land owners which may restrict the way land may be used and developed. This will be registered on the land’s Certificate of Title. Council cannot issue a planning permit that breaches a covenant, however a planning permit may be issued to vary/remove a covenant if all affected parties agree.

  • Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit

    This is where Council does not approve a planning application and does not grant the planning permit. A refusal can be appealed to VCAT.

  • Section 72 Amendment

    Amendments of this nature are generally considered to be significant and can include proposed changes to what the original permit allowed, permit conditions and/or endorsed plans. Section 72 Amendments can be advertised.

  • Section 173 Agreement

    A Section 173 Agreement is a legal contract registered on a Certificate of Title. It is placed on a property as a negotiated requirement made between council and another party, usually the property owner, under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The Agreement specifies what can or cannot be done on the land. For example the Agreement may state no development is allowed on the land or no subdivision, vegetation on the land must be protected, or that a facility on the land must be maintained.

  • Secondary Consent

    Council may consent to minor changes made to your plan(s) only, where a provision for change has been included in the wording of permit conditions. For example, some planning permits include conditions which end with the phrase “…must not be altered without the written consent of the Responsible Authority.” This means that you can apply in writing for secondary consent to make minor changes to your plans.

  • Site and floor plans

    Site and Floor Plans are an image which is drawn looking at the building from above.

  • Statutory planning

    Statutory planning also known as Town Planning. Council’s Statutory Planning Department is responsible for considering applications for a planning permit, such as an application to build or extend a property, replace a fence, open a business or construct an advertising sign. Applications for planning permits are assessed against the policies and controls in the relevant Planning Scheme.

  • Strategic planning

    A setback describes how far back a building or house is on a piece of land in comparison to the property boundary. So if the boundary is from the edge of the footpath, the setback is measured in metres from this point.

  • Subdivision

    Subdivision refers to a piece of land that has been divided up to create more properties. For example a large piece of land on one title could be subdivided and redeveloped to have two or three dwellings on it, each with their own title.

  • Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

    The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – VCAT is a State Government appointed panel of experts that independently reviews planning decisions made by councils. If a developer, applicant or objector is unhappy with a council planning decision they can appeal at VCAT

  • Zones

    Zones allocate land for different uses, such as residential, industrial or business. They outline what the land can and can’t be used for and what buildings and works on that land may require a planning permit. Zones come from the Victoria Planning Provisions and have the same requirements across all municipalities in Victoria. Zones may also have schedules which can allow a local municipality to vary some requirements of the standard zoning provisions.
    In each zone and schedule to a zone which contains a table of uses, the controls over the use of land are divided into three sections being Section 1 Use, Section 2 Uses and Section 3 Uses.

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