Once an application is received for a Planning Permit it goes through several stages of assessment before being approved or refused.
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.
Current Planning Permits on Exhibition can be viewed here.
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, 25KB).
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.
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.
Further Information can be found on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's dedicated planning 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.