Whitehorse City Council

Significant Landscape Overlay – Schedule 9

(Amendments C191/C214/C223)

The Minister for Planning has extended the expiry date of the interim tree protection controls in Whitehorse through Amendment C223 to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme.

The tree protection controls, first approved by the Minister through Amendment C191, applied a municipal-wide Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO9) to all residential land not currently included in the SLO, on an interim basis. 

The interim controls commenced on 8 February 2018 and were first due to expire on 31 December 2018. Amendment C214 extended the expiry date of the controls for six (6) months to 30 June 2019 to allow Council to complete further work requested by the Minister.

The Minister for Planning has approved a further extension of the controls for 12 months until 30 June 2020.

This will allow Council to progress a planning scheme amendment (Amendment C219) to permanently apply SLO9.

What do each of the Amendment numbers mean?

Amendment C191 – this is the original planning scheme amendment which applied the interim SLO9 until 30 December 2018
Amendment C214 – this is the planning scheme amendment which extended the interim SLO9 until 30 June 2019
Amendment C223 – this is the planning scheme amendment which has extended the interim SLO9 until 30 June 2020
Amendment C219 – this is the planning scheme amendment that proposes to permanently apply SLO9.

Why are the tree protection controls in place?

The controls protect large, established trees and the landscape character of the municipality.

Where do the interim controls apply?

The interim planning controls apply to all land included in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, General Residential Zone, Residential Growth Zone and Low Density Residential Zone that is not already covered by the overlay. Landowners can identify the zoning and overlays that apply to their land at Whitehorse Maps.

The interim controls do not change the zoning of any land.

What does it mean?

A permit is required to remove, destroy or lop a tree.

This does not apply to:

  • A tree less than 5m in height and having a single trunk circumference of 1.0 metre or less at a height of one metre above ground level; or
  • The pruning of a tree for regeneration or ornamental shaping; or
  • A tree which is dead or dying or has become dangerous to the satisfaction of the responsible authority; or
  • A tree outside the Minimum Street Setback in the Residential Growth Zone.

This means that any tree that has a trunk circumference of greater than 1.0m at 1.0m from the ground and/or a height of 5 metres or more requires a planning permit to be removed (see diagram).

Amendment C191 Landscape Control

A planning permit will be required for buildings and works, including a front fence, which is within 4 metres of any vegetation that requires a permit to be removed, lopped or destroyed under the new interim controls.

If a permit is required, it may be possible to obtain this through the VicSmart application process, which aims to fast track decisions on minor planning applications in 10 business days. More information about VicSmart is available from VicSmart page, however landowners should contact Council to determine if a permit can be obtained through this process.

A permit is not required to remove a tree which is dead, dying or dangerous to the satisfaction of Council. To discuss whether or not a permit is required, please contact Council’s Planning and Building department on 9262 6303.

The interim overlay does not prohibit development. However, any development must comply with the overlay. This means that careful design and planning will be necessary to make sure that development either allows for the retention of trees that are protected by the SLO or provides justification for their removal and allows enough space to plant new trees.

The interim controls will allow Council to consider how a proposed development will impact the tree canopy in the area or whether a proposal for tree removal is appropriate.  The interim overlay will also enable Council to take enforcement action should vegetation be removed without appropriate approval.

What happens next?

The expiry date of the interim controls has been extended until 30 June 2020 while Council undertakes Amendment C219 to apply the SLO9 controls permanently.

Amendment C219 is proposed to be on exhibition for public comment from 15 July until 19 August 2019.  All affected property owners and occupiers will be sent a letter about Amendment C219, which will outline where to find out information and how to make comment.

If you wish to discuss this matter further please contact Council’s Planning and Building Department on 9262 6303.