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What is Statutory Planning?

Statutory planning is the way local government applies the provisions of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, which was introduced by the State Government to ensure that development and land use in Victoria occurs in an orderly and sustainable manner. This legislation created the Moira Planning Scheme, which applies specific controls to land within Moira Shire.

The Planning department assesses a variety of applications; from starting up a home business, through to construction of a multi-million dollar development. One of the main roles of the planning department is to provide advice on the conditions that govern property development and land use proposals.

What is Strategic Planning?

The Strategic Development Unit, part of Council’s Planning Department, is responsible for the preparation in-house, of strategies, master plans and guidelines. The Unit also coordinates and facilitates the development of strategies and guidelines for other departments of the Council.

This helps the Council to establish the strategic planning framework and to articulate its planning vision in the Municipal Strategic Statement. These strategies also help the Council to develop Local Planning Policies (LPPs) to convey to the community its position on planning matters and its intentions, for example, planning and provision of open space or car parking policies to inform the assessment of development and use applications.

What is a zone?

A Zone is a planning control that allows Council to determine the appropriate use of the land. Within all Zones there are three sections of land uses. If you propose to use your land for the purposes listed in the Section 1 uses of the zone, you do not require a planning permit. However you will need to meet any special conditions that may apply to the use (eg: provision of car parking). A use listed in Section 2 requires a planning permit, and a use listed in Section 3 is not permitted (prohibited). If your proposal is not listed in either Section 1 or 3, the use falls into Section 2, and a permit is required.

A Zone will also specify whether a permit is required for the development of the land. While the use of the land may be permitted (i.e.: Section 1use), a planning permit is usually still required for the construction of a building or the carrying out of works on the land.

What is an overlay?

An Overlay is a layer of control that allows Council to determine the type of development that occurs. The Overlay may require an applicant to achieve certain design and building standards when applying for a planning permit or protect land for environmental reasons. If your land is covered by an overlay you will most likely need a planning permit.

If your land is subject to a flooding overlay, it is recommended that you contact Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority on (03) 5820 1100 to determine whether development would be approved.

What is the Moira Shire Council Planning Scheme?

Planning schemes set out policies and provisions for the use, development and protection of land for an area for each municipality in Victoria. These are legal documents prepared by the local council or the Minister for Planning, and approved by the Minister.

Where can I view/obtain a copy of the Planning Scheme?

The Act requires the Council to maintain an up-to-date copy of the planning scheme, including all amendments to it and documents referred to in the scheme. The scheme and any accompanying documentation is available free of charge for public inspection during office hours or can be viewed at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au

What is a planning certificate?

Planning certificates are official documents issued under the authority of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. 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.

If you require a planning certificate, a certificate can be obtained via http://www.landata.vic.gov.au.

What is a planning permit?

A planning permit is a statement that a particular use or development (subdivision, buildings and works) may proceed on a specific piece of land. It is subject to a time limit for commencement and may expire under specified circumstances. The Responsible Authority may impose conditions when granting a permit.

It is important not to confuse planning permits with building permits. Building permits relate to the method of construction of a building or development. If you have a planning permit you may still need to obtain a building permit.

Depending on the provisions of the planning scheme affecting your land (zones and overlays), a planning permit may not be needed to change the use of the land or to develop the land. This also may be subject to conditions and some forms of use or development may be prohibited.

Do I need a planning permit?

Some of the most common reasons a planning permit is required are: 

  • Starting a business
  • Constructing, altering, or extending a building
  • Displaying a sign
  • Applying for a liquor licence
  • Subdivision of land
  • Clearing native vegetation from land
  • Changing the use of a property
  • Whole Farm Planning

Even minor matters may need a planning permit: it is important that the onus is on you to find out whether a permit is required.

Check with the Planning Department before proceeding with a change of use or a development on your land. Council can also offer advice about local or state government policy guidelines that must be considered for particular developments and assistance that may be available.

When are applications advertised?

Public Notice is required to be given to people affected by a proposal if the Council decides that it could cause 'material detriment', such as significant adversity, loss or damage. For example, a proposed restaurant might generate additional traffic in a neighbourhood, or the construction of a building might deprive adjoining houses of adequate light.

There are a number of ways Council can give notice, including: 

  • direct-mailing to the owners and occupiers of nearby properties
  • erecting signs on the land subject to the application
  • placing notices in local newspapers.
  • Or all of the above.

Council will arrange for all these notices, but the associated costs will be charged to the applicant.

The Council may also refer your application to other statutory bodies for advice or comment. These referral authorities have 28 days to respond. They may impose conditions or object to an application.

Can I object to someone’s application for a planning permit?

If you feel that you are affected by a planning proposal, you can submit an objection to the council or responsible authority. This objection must satisfy certain conditions:

  • It must be in writing
  • It should clearly state the reasons for objecting and how you will be affected
  • If a group of people are making a combined objection, such as a petition, one person should be nominated as a contact.
  • Some types of objections are not allowed, e.g. an objection relating solely to commercial competition
  • The objection should be lodged by the date shown on the 'Notice of application'.

You may also object to applications that have not been advertised. A register of applications is available for inspection at the council office.

Objections may be lodged with the Council up until the time when it makes its decision, however objections are usually lodged during the 14 day advertising period. Anyone affected by a proposal can lodge an objection. Objections cannot be ignored and the Council must consider them when it makes a decision. Although objections may take any form, those relating to reasonable planning concerns will have more influence over the Council’s decision.

Who can look at my objection?

The council must make a copy of every objection available for inspection. They cannot make a decision on an application until at least 14 days after the giving of the last notice.

Can I lodge an objection once a permit has been issued?

You can also apply for a VCAT review if you want to object to a decision to grant a planning permit.

VCAT conducts public hearings and considers submissions from all parties involved. They assess the proposal's planning merits, decide whether a permit should be granted and what conditions are appropriate.

The process is largely the same for permit applicants and objectors. The main difference is that objectors have 21 days in which to lodge an application for review, while permit applicants have 60 days from when the decision was made.

Any decision of VCAT is final and binding on all parties to the review, except on questions of law. An appeal against a tribunal decision on a question of law may be made to the Supreme Court.

How long does a planning permit take to issue?

The Council has 60 days to decide on your application. This does not include any requests for further information or advertising. It is common for multi-dwelling applications to take two to three months to decide. If an appeal is lodged against the decision, the final decision will take considerably longer.

What if my planning permit is refused?

If your application for a planning permit is refused by Council, or the decision contains conditions which you are not happy about, you may lodge an application for review with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
You have 60 days after the decision is made to lodge an application.
The application for review must be submitted along with the prescribed fee, on an official form which can be obtained from http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au and sent to:

Administrative Division of VCAT
7th Floor, 55 King Street
Melbourne 3000,

How do I amend a planning permit?

If you need to change your proposal or the approved plans after a permit has been issued, you can apply to council for an amendment to your permit.

Although you don't need to apply for a new permit, a request for amendment follows the same process, including advertising and referral to statutory bodies. However you should use the separate application to amend a planning permit form located below.

As with a new application, you should discuss the amendment with the council planner before submitting the form

How do I lodge a complaint in relation to a planning matter?

It is requested that all complaints are made in writing to the Planning Compliance Officer, with full details of the complaint.

What is a Dependent Person's Unit ?

In simple terms, and as defined by the Moira Shire Planning Scheme, a Dependent Person's Unit is "a movable building on the same lot as an existing dwelling and used to provide accommodation for a person dependent on a resident of the existing dwelling".

A common term widely used in the community for this form of accommodation is "Granny Flat".

In determining whether a Planning Permit will be required, Council must be satisfied that a potential building (Dependent Person's Unit) achieves the following criteria of the definition quoted above, including:

  • Is this building movable and if so, does it meet the following definition of Movable building which is: "A structure, other than a tent, caravan, or vehicle, which is designed to be moved from place to place on more than one occasion";
  • Will the building be used for the accommodation of a dependent person? This may be a person who is incapacitated by virtue of medical, economic or social disadvantage and is therefore dependent on the person in the main dwelling for their accommodation.
  • That there will be only one building on the subject lot which achieves the above definitional requirements, and that Council is satisfied that this building can be reasonably considered to be a Dependent Person's Unit.

Provided that Council is satisfied that the building achieves the above criteria, a Planning Permit may not be required. Please note, additional requirements may apply depending on for example, the zone, overlays and title restrictions over the proposed development site, discussed below:

Planning and Non-Planning Considerations

A Planning Permit may not be required for the use or development of a Dependent Person's Unit, provided that Council is satisfied that it meets the above criteria. However, other controls may also affect the development and use of a Dependent Person's Unit. These controls can be grouped as follows: non planning and planning controls.

  • A non-planning control may be other restrictions and or covenants which appear on the relevant copy of title.
  • Planning Controls are those controls which are within the Moira Shire Planning Scheme. For example, relevant zone and overlay controls or building envelopes which restrict the construction of buildings to a defined area.

Note: Specific Advice (in relation to planning controls) should be sought from a Council Planning Officer prior to proceeding with a Dependent Person's unit.

Issues to consider

Step 1 : Check your copy of title for any relevant restrictions or any evident covenants which relate to your property; if so seek legal advice.

Step 2 : Approach Council; seek advice regarding relevant planning controls (i.e. Planning Scheme, Zone and Overlays) which may have an impact on the development of a Dependent Person's Unit.

Step 3: After the requirements of steps 1 and 2 are satisfied, apply for a building permit for the construction of the Dependent Person's unit.

Please note:

In order for a building permit to be granted, the relevant Building Surveyor must be satisfied that the proposal complies with the above criteria. Evidence of compliance with the criteria above should be easily evident from the building plans. If Council is the relevant Building Surveyor, then a written statement or statutory declaration will be required to confirm that the building will be occupied only a person who is dependent on a resident of the existing dwelling as part of the application for a building permit. The Dependent Person's Unit will have to be removed and or decommissioned once the use ceases. The cessation of the use will need to be included in the written statement or statutory declaration.

Should you have any further questions please contact Council's Planning Department on 5871 9222. 

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