The Planning Process

Planning is an essential part of the development process.

View the Planning Process Flow Chart(PDF, 527KB)

Perhaps you have plans to renovate your home or build a new one? Perhaps your neighbours are proposing to extend their home or construct a granny flat? Or maybe a new housing development is proposed for the land next door to your property?

These are just a few of the many reasons why you may find yourself involved in the planning process , often whether you want to be or not. However it happens, when it does, it can be confusing and even a little daunting. But it need not be.

Planning is an essential part of the development process. Good planning can mean the difference between an average development and an excellent one that meets the community’s expectations. The planning process also provides anyone with an interest in a proposed use or development to get involved and have their say.

This webpage aims to make sense of the planning process for everyone involved. If you would like to find out more about Planning in Victoria, as well as useful publications, please visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

 Quick Links:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Planning Permit?

When do I need a Planning Permit?

What should I do before making a planning permit application?

What information should I submit when lodging an application?

How long does a planning permit take to assess?

What is Council's role in the process?

What if I need to make changes to my planning permit or endorsed plans?

Can I extend the expiry date on my permit?

How do I find out about planning permits in my area?

How do I support or object to a planning permit application?

What happens if I think someone is not complying with their permit or doing something without a permit?

What is the difference between a planning permit and a building permit?

Are there any other approvals required?

What happens once I have lodged my application and paid the relevant fees?

What can Council decide?

 

What is a planning permit?

A planning permit is a document that allows a use and or a development to occur on a particular parcel of land. To obtain a planning permit you must make an application with the Council, who will then decide if the proposal is acceptable or not. If Council considers the proposal is acceptable, a planning permit will be issued.

The planning permit will contain conditions that regulate how the land can be used or developed, including setting a time limit for when the planning permit expires. It is also accompanied by endorsed plans that show what is to be built and/or how the land can be used.

 

When do I need a planning permit?

The Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme is the legal document used to identify when a planning permit is required for any use or development. Before starting a new business, relocating your existing business, constructing or extending a building, you need to find out whether you require a planning permit.

The requirement for a planning permit depends on the planning controls that apply to the land and the changes that are proposed. Further information on when a permit is required can be found in Councils Planning Fact Sheets located under “What information should I submit when lodging an application?”

Determining if a planning permit is required can be tricky, and it is a good idea to contact the Town Planning Team to determine if you need a planning permit for what you are proposing. The Town Planning Team can be contacted on email townplanning@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or phone 9932 1000.

 

What should I do before making a planning permit application?

Planning officers are available to provide advice and information about local planning requirements to residents and applicants, and it is encouraged that you speak to a planning officer prior to lodging an application to ensure your proposal is generally in compliance with the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme. It is important that you provide as much information as possible at this stage, that way the planning officer will be able to provide you with the best response possible.

You should consider engaging a design professional and/or planning consultant, particularly if your proposal is large or complex.

Be sure to talk to your neighbours before finalising your plans. If they are unhappy with an aspect of your proposal, you may be able to reach a compromise before lodging your planning application. Being up-front from the start will reduce the potential for conflict later on.

 

What information should I submit when lodging an application?

For all planning applications it is necessary to submit the following information:

  • a completed application form (unless lodging the application directly into Council’s Greenlight Portal)
  • payment of the appropriate application fees. The Schedule of Fees identifies the amount of fees required however one of Council’s Planners can assist
  • a Certificate of Title, including ownership details for the subject land (obtained from the Titles Office or www.land.vic.gov.au)

Other information that is required to accompany a planning permit application depends on what is actually being applied for. Below is a list of factsheets that include required information:

 

How long does a planning permit take to assess?

Under State Government regulation, if Council has not made a decision within 60 statutory days, you can make an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and have the matter heard there. The 60 day timeframe will begin again if:

further information is required, the timeframe will begin again once the information is received, or

  • you make changes to the application
  • The timeframe also stops during the advertising period if it is required.

Some types of planning applications for minor works may be eligible for consideration as a VicSmart Planning Application, which requires Council to decide the application within 10 business days. Further information on VicSmart applications can be found on the Council website.

It is common for multi-dwelling applications to take three to four months to decide. If an appeal is lodged against the decision, the final decision will take considerably longer, possibly six to seven months.  

Council is mindful that you are often under time and financial pressures. To assist Council in deciding your application as quickly as possible, it’s important that you submit all required information when lodging your application, and adopt any pre-application advice you may have received from Council.

 

What is Council’s role in the process?

Council is responsible for making decisions on individual applications for a planning permit based on the requirements within the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme. Although there is opportunity to amend certain parts of the planning scheme to reflect the vision of the Council, it is bound by the planning policy requirements of the State Government.

Not all planning permits issued within Hobsons Bay have been approved by Council. If applicants or objectors are not satisfied with Council’s decision on a planning application, they can appeal the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT) to have the matter reviewed. The Tribunal can overturn or amend Council’s original decision.

 

What if I need to make changes to my planning permit or endorsed plans?

If you need to make changes to a planning permit, the permit and endorsed plans can be amended. An Amendment can include altering the permit preamble, conditions or the endorsed plans and there are two ways in which a permit can be amended:

  1. a “secondary consent” request: a request made under this provision must be minor, not alter any wording or conditions on the permit, or require advertising.
  2. application to Amend a Planning Permit: relates to more substantial changes that may require advertising or changes to the wording on the permit.

A copy of these forms can be found at the Planning Forms webpage.

 

Can I extend the expiry date on my permit?

If you are the owner or the occupier of the land to which a permit applies (or a representative), you may ask Council for an extension of time under the following circumstances:

  • the use or development allowed by the permit has not yet started and the permit is about to expire, or a request is being made within six months after the permit expiry date
  • the request is being made within 12 months after the permit expiry date, where the development allowed by the permit lawfully started before the permit expired.

There is no opportunity to appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) if the application is made outside of this time.

A copy of the extension of time request form can be found at the Planning Forms webpage.

 

How do I find out about planning permits in my area?

Council’s Greenlight Portal provides details of current and determined planning applications, together with information on all applications currently being advertised. Council will advertise an application if it feels that the approval of the permit may cause material detriment to any other person (in other words a whether the application will affect anyone else). However, the planning scheme does in some circumstances exempt certain types of applications from being advertised.

Advertising a planning permit might include sending out notices to adjoining owners and occupiers, placing sign on the site or advertising in the local newspaper.

 

How do I support or object to a planning permit application?

Details regarding how to support or object to a planning proposal can be found in this factsheet: Supporting or objecting to a Planning Permit application(PDF, 338KB).

 

What happens if I think someone is not complying with their permit or doing something without a permit?

If you wish to enquire or make a complaint in relation to non-compliance with a permit or the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme, you should contact Council’s Town Planning Team on email townplanning@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or call 9932 1000. The first step will be to establish whether a planning permit is required.

There are formal enforcement proceedings that Council can take to ensure compliance with a permit or the planning scheme, however generally Council gives an opportunity for compliance before resorting to formal enforcement. In some cases, a retrospective permit application can be made in relation to use or development that has already occurred.

 

What is the difference between a planning permit and a building permit?

Planning and building approvals are subject to different and completely separate approval processes. A planning permit authorises a change in the use of land, or the development of land (see What is a Planning Permit?)

A building permit authorises the construction or demolition of a building or structure and relates to the method of construction. It can also cover setbacks and amenity concerns for properties abutting land (if not covered by a relevant planning permit), minimum standards of safety (such as fire safety) and protection of neighbouring properties during construction\

 

Are there any other approvals required?

Sometimes, a planning permit is not the only approval you will require. Other approvals required from Council may include:

You may also need approval from other authorities, such as:

 

What happens once I have lodged my application and paid the relevant fees?

Once Council has received your application for a planning permit, together with all of the necessary information and fees, the application will be allocated to a town planner. You will be notified in writing or via email of the planner’s name and contact number as well as your planning application number.

At this stage, an initial assessment is undertaken by the planner to determine whether there is any outstanding information that needs to be provided. If this is the case, the officer will write or email you and request further information that is required. Until this further information is submitted, the application is placed on hold.

 

What can Council decide?

Council may determine to either:

  • issue a permit (if there are no objections)
  • issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit (this happens when objections have been received but Council believes that the proposal is acceptable)
  • issue a Notice of Refusal to Grant a Permit (if Council believes that the proposal is not acceptable).

If an application has been refused or a permit has been issued with conditions which the applicant is concerned about, the applicant may appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 60 days of the decision.

Similarly, should Council issue a Notice of Decision, and the objectors are dissatisfied with Council's decision, the objectors can also lodge appeals within 21 days of the Notice. After the 21 days, if no appeals have been lodged by the objectors, Council will then issue a permit.

For further information on the appeal process visit the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal website.