The planning permit process

The planning permit process

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 development to get involved and have their say.

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 sets out the legal process and procedures that must be followed in the planning process. Council has tailored this process to ensure that everyone who may be affected has their say.

The brochures below aim to make sense of the planning process, whether you are applying for a planning permit or objecting to a proposed development in your neighbourhood.


You may become aware of a proposed development in a number of ways. Perhaps you receive a letter in the mail, see an advertisement in your local newspaper or notice a sign on a proposed development site. Alternatively, your neighbour or the developer may approach you to discuss their plans.

However you first become aware of it, if you are affected by the proposed use or development, you may object. If you are supportive of the proposed development, you also have an opportunity to lodge a submission in favour of the proposal. This factsheet provides information on what to think about if you are considering making a submission to a planning permit application.

A submission to a planning permit application is a public document and it’s important that all parties are able to view the submission so that they can provide a response. Copies
may be made available to other parties including the applicant, other submitters and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

If you submit a petition, all correspondence will be sent to the first name and address listed on the petition. It is the responsibility of this individual to inform all other participants in the petition. A petition is counted as one individual submission irrespective of how many signatures are on the petition.

Planning permits

A planning permit is a document that allows the 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.

When do I need a planning permit?

Planning Controls affecting land throughout the city of Hobsons Bay dictate whether a planning permit is needed before you undertake any use or development.

Before starting a new business, relocating your existing business, constructing or extending a building, you may also need to apply for a planning permit.

What do I do before I make a planning permit application?

Council will provide advice and information about local planning requirements to residents and applicants and can facilitate pre-application discussions to ensure your proposal is generally in compliance with the applicable planning requirements.

Some of the information that can be prepared in advance of a pre-application meeting is the site analysis and design response. This shows how the development addresses the local environment, the proposed site and the surrounding area. This helps the applicant to develop a design that suits the neighbourhood character of the area.

Lodging an application

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

  • a completed application form
  • payment of the appropriate application fees (see Schedule of Fees for more information)
  • a Certificate of Title, including ownership details for the subject land. (Obtained from the Titles Office)
  • three copies of the site and floor plans and all elevations.
  • three copies of the Neighbourhood and Site description and Design response
  • any other information as required in the 'Information to accompany a planning application' document shown below

For applications that are only for the use of the land, a summary of the proposal such as hours of operation, number of staff, etc, must also be submitted.

The applicant, in submitting an application to Council for their proposed development, must include a Neighbourhood and Site Description and a Design Response.

The applicant will be informed in writing if the Neighbourhood and Site Description is satisfactory, or if more information is required. This requirement of Res Code ensures sufficient analysis has occurred to achieve the best urban design solution for the proposed site.

Council will confirm the Neighbourhood and Site Description has all relevant and correct information before giving public notice of the application.

If you would like to lodge your application on-line, click the link below to access Council's On-line Permit Manager 'Greenlight '.

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 particular Urban Planner. You will be notified in writing or via email of the Officer's name and contact number as well as your planning application number.

At this stage, an initial assessment is undertaken by the Officer 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 happens once Council has received all of the necessary information?

Most applications will need to be advertised. The advertising will generally require that letters are sent to the adjoining owners and occupiers, a sign is put up on the property and in the case of development of four or more units or larger type developments, a notice is required to be placed in the two local newspapers. Council will arrange for all these notices, but the associated costs will be charged back to the applicant.

Residents that could be affected by the development are then invited to view the application details and plans online or by visiting Council's offices. Residents have 14 days to lodge an objection with Council, stating how they believe they may be adversely affected. The objection can be done by completing the objection form online or posting it to Hobsons Bay City Council Planning Department, PO Box 21, Altona 3018.

Applicants are encouraged to address concerns of residents and modify plans if necessary. Residents must be notified of any modifications. Council may facilitate a discussion with the parties concerned, prior to finally considering the development proposal, to help resolve any outstanding issues.

When does Council consider my application?

Following the notification process and after considering all objections to the application, comments from both internal and external agencies and taking into consideration the provisions of the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme, the planner will then prepare a report making a recommendation.

If eight or more objections are received, the application will be referred to Council’s Special Planning Committee to make the decision. The Special Planning Committee meets on the second and fourth Thursday of every month and the applicant and the objectors are invited to attend and present their case.

What happens after Council's Decision?

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)
  • refuse 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 Planning and Environment List of the Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal within 60 days of Council's decision. For further information on the appeal process visit the VCAT website.

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.

Time required to determine planning applications

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, possibly six to seven months.

For more information on Planning in Victoria, as well as useful publications, please visit the Department of Planning and Community Development website.

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