A summary of the town planning process.

  1. A town planning permit is a requirement of your local council and its purpose is to make sure that building works and developments in your area comply with the council’s design regulations.
  2. A town planning permit can be obtained by the property owner, their architect or their builder by filling out the application forms and lodging all or the required plans and documents with your local council.  There will be a long list of required documents which you may need professional assistance with to properly create and compile.  Remember that the quality of your plans and supporting documents will be very important to the success of your planning application.  So, it is essential for you to submit the best possible documents with your application (see FAQ “Planning Process” Summary of the 10 steps involved in applying for a planning permit).
  3. In Victoria, you do not need a planning permit for building or renovating a “single dwelling” (i.e. one house on a block of land) as long as the house complies with all of the “Res-code” building regulations such as – site coverage, front, side and rear setbacks of the boundaries, building heights and overlooking and overshadowing restrictions. 

    However, the following things will trigger the need to get a planning permit:
    - If you want to do any sort of dual occupancy, multi-unit development or land sub-division.
    - If a “planning overlay” affects the property.  The most common types of planning overlays are heritage overlays, flood overlays, vegetation overlays, bush fire and soil contamination overlays.
    - If there are any specific zoning restriction or requirements that affect the property.
  4. The process for obtaining a town planning permit is often a very long drawn out and frustrating procedure.  Most planning applications involve advertising to all your surrounding neighbors and waiting to see if they have any objections to your proposed building works or development.  If the council or your neighbours have any objections to your project, you may need to make alterations to your plans and re-submit the application or you can appeal their objections at the V.C.A.T. tribunal.  The town planning application process takes a minimum of 3 to 4 months but can take as long as one year if you have multiple objections.

Note: The town planning requirements vary with each local council, so it is important to check the specific requirements of your local council.

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