Town planning is a process of ensuring orderly development, be it residential, commercial, industrial or rural development. The planning permit process aims to protect and grow elements of our physical environment eg. productive agricultural land, amenity values such as heritage qualities and public infrastructure. At a local level planning is concerned with the use and development of land. Some regulation of land uses is essential to avoid potential land use conflicts.
The planning scheme is the means of a community's expectations being considered through a public process. The permit application process is described in the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
A planning permit application is required to contain a specific set of minimum information, for example:
- A completed application form (PDF, 292 KB)
- The application fee
- A current copy of title (and any registered covenants or Sec. 173 agreements)
- Details such as plans and any reports that may assist Council, and where appropriate the community, to understand the proposal.
The planning scheme may also require specific information be provided to address certain elements of the planning schemes requirements.
Once a planning permit has been issued, it forms a legal document. This document is linked to the title of a piece of land and allows for the described use and or development. A permit is normally subject to a set of conditions and also needs to be read in conjunction with any endorsed plans and or documents. Also, any building permit issued must be consistent with the detail of a planning permit.
Only Council can amend a planning permit and or endorsed plans. For information on planning permit requirements, please contact our Planning Department on 5349 1100.
Do you need a permit?
A planning permit application can be triggered by a zone or overlay requirement, a 'Particular' or 'General Provision' within the Ordinance of the Pyrenees Planning Scheme.
The planning scheme consists of three main components as follows:
- The ordinance
- The scheme maps (zones and overlays)
- Incorporated/reference documents
It is the consideration of the total of these elements that will inform Council's decisions.
A zone has a table of uses that in section one lists types of land uses that do not require planning approval, under the zoning. Section two uses require a planning permit be obtained prior to any activity being undertaken on the land. Section three uses are prohibited in the zone. The zones permit triggers can be further modified by specific conditions against each use in each section.
An overlay generally triggers a permit application for any works or development on any land subject to an overlay control.
A particular or general provision provides for certain types of developments and each contains a specific set of guidelines and information requirements that need to be addressed.
Each of the above permit triggers can overlay each other to form a specific set of information requirements to be lodged with an application. It is strongly recommended that you contact the Planning Unit to confirm any proposal prior to commencement. A planning consultant may also be of assistance in determining permit requirements.
Planning Application & Lodgement
To complete a planning permit application, please follow the steps:
Step 1 - Find out if a permit is required - Find out whether a permit is required, what information must be provided with the application, and what relevant policies and provisions Council will use to assess it. Different information will need to be provided for different types of permit applications and will generally include site plans, floor plans, elevation drawings and a written report.
Step 2 - Complete the application form - If a permit is required, fill out the Planning Permit Application Form (PDF, 1.97 MB) (including the Owners Declaration), submit it with the required information and application fee. Download the How to Complete a Planning Permit Application Form (PDF, 146.2 KB) if you require assistance in completing your application form.
Step 3 - Attach title information: A current Certificate of Title and title plan must be provided with each application. You must also provide a copy of any registered restrictive covenant or agreements that affects the land. If a registered restrictive covenant does apply, talk to the Council planner about what to do next.
Step 4 - Attach the plans and any necessary extra information - If the appropriate information is not provided, the application will not be processed. Council must have sufficient information to assess your application.
3 x copies of development plans and any other reports will need to submitted with the application. The Planning Scheme may state that particular information is required for certain types of permit applications.
Step 5 - Lodge the Application with Council
Assessment of the application
Council's planner prepares a report describing the proposal, the relevant policies and planning scheme requirements, the assessment process, any objections and referral comments, and the response to them. The report will include a recommendation on whether or not a planning permit should be granted. The Council planner is required to assess how the proposal meets policy objectives in the planning scheme, and they may have to strike a balance between competing objectives.
Council have an instrument of delegation that identifies applications that may be decided under officer delegation. If the application involves a major project, or an objection has been received the application is required to be determined before a full council meeting.
Advertising a Planning Permit Application
When an application is lodged, our Planning Department determine if notice will be given to adjoining land owners/occupiers or any other affected person, and how the notice will be given. This procedure is known in planning terms as advertising.
If the planning scheme specifically states that advertising is not required, or if Council is satisfied that the application will not have a negative impact or cause material detriment to any person, then the application will not be advertised.
If formal advertising is required, Council will issue a written direction to the applicant to advertise the planning application. This can be expected within a reasonable time after that application is lodged, once all the required information is provided. The advertising period is at least 14 days.
Neighbours are usually notified of the permit application by letter. For larger applications, notices may also be required to be displayed in local papers.
Objections should be lodged during the 14 day advertising period but may be lodged with Council up until a decision about the application is made. Anyone who may be affected by the grant of the permit can lodge an objection. Council must consider all objections when it makes its decision.
An objection must be in writing and state the reasons for the objection and how the objector would be affected by the grant of the permit. Alternatively, download and complete the Objection to grant a planning permit form (PDF, 91.73 KB) .
Council encourages the objectors and the permit applicant to meet to discuss the proposal and address the objections. Council can facilitate a mediation meeting, if required, to negotiate the planning grounds between the parties. Council is required to make available a copy of all objections received for public viewing. Where objections are received, Council strongly encourages all parties to participate in mediation meetings facilitated by the Council planner.
Not all planning applications need to be referred, however your application may be sent to other Departments within Council depending on site specific requirements for individual applications. For example, to Council's Heritage Advisor if the property is within a Heritage Overlay, to Engineering Services if the property requires on-site water retention, or to Environmental Health if the property is dependant on on-site effluent disposal.
Your application may also be formally referred to external agencies such as the CFA, VicRoads, Central Highlands Water, or Goulburn Murray Water.
Please keep in mind that the above is just an example and is dependant on individual application needs.
Granting the Planning Permit
A permit is nearly always subject to specified conditions that must be met. If there are no objections, Council can issue the permit immediately. If there are objections, Council can only issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit. All concerned parties will receive a copy of the notice. The Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit does not have the same legal status as a permit. However, it signals Council's decision to grant the permit and identifies the conditions to be included on it.
An objector has 21 days to lodge an application for review. If VCAT confirms that no application had been lodged within the 21 days, Council will issue the permit. If an objector lodges an application for review within 21 days of the notice being given, Council cannot issue the permit as the application will be decided by VCAT.
Note: the above information has been extracted from the Department of Sustainability and Environment's 'Planning a Short Guide' (available from the DSE website).
Council may resolve at a formal Council meeting to refuse your planning application. The grounds for the refusal will be listed on the notice sent following the meeting. Council will give a copy of this notice to the applicant and all other parties involved in the application process. Information about applications for review to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is printed on the back of the refusal notice.
If your application is refused, you have 60 days from the date that notice of the refusal is given to apply to VCAT for a review of the decision. It would be advisable to lodge an application for review as soon as possible so that you get in the VCAT system as quickly as possible.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is an independent tribunal that hears and decides applications by permit applicants, objectors and others about planning permit applications and other planning matters. It reviews a wide range of administrative decisions made by Council upon their merits, in an informal and expeditious manner.
An appeal to VCAT is called an application for review. The party making the application for review is called the applicant for review. Although parties may be represented by a lawyer or planner, this is not essential, and many permit applicants and objectors present their own submissions.
An application for review involves all parties to undertake a considerable amount of time, effort and expense, and should therefore be considered carefully. A proceeding can only be stopped if VCAT agrees to it. Further information about VCAT, its procedures, guidelines and forms can be found on the VCAT website.
Previous decisions made by VCAT can be found on the VCAT Decisions page.