If residents or business owners in the municipality want to make changes to buildings on their property – such as renovating, installing a fence, erecting an advertising sign or converting a shop into a restaurant – they may need to obtain a planning permit and/or building permit before proceeding.
A planning permit is a legal document that gives permission for use or development of a particular piece of land. To obtain a permit, an application must be made to Council. After considering all aspects of the application, if Council agrees with the proposal, a planning permit can be granted. A permit is subject to a time limit and will expire under specified circumstances. Council, as the responsible authority, is entitled to impose conditions when granting a permit.
The Whitehorse Landscape Guidelines (14.72MB) have been developed to encourage well designed and sustainable landscapes across the City of Whitehorse. The guidelines identify when a landscape concept plan is required and outlines the type and amount of information to be included on the plan, this will assist with the efficient processing of planning permit applications.
There are seven key stages in the planning permit process.
Before lodging an application, it is important to find out what planning controls may apply to your property and discuss them with a Council planner. Council encourages you to discuss your proposal with us and escertain its consistency with the Whitehorse Planning Scheme and the information that you'll need to submit with your application.
Matters for potential applicants to consider include:
If a permit is required, fill out an 'Application for Planning Permit' form, provide the required information and pay the stated fee. Council's Planning Department can provide you with a copy of this form. Alternatively, you can download the form by visiting the Planning Documents and Forms of this website. You can lodge the permit application in person at the Whitehorse Civic Centre in Nunawading or submit it by post. You will receive a receipt for the fee paid.
The information that you will need to include will vary depending on what you are seeking a permit for; however, the minimum information that must be submitted is as follows:
Please refer to Council's planning application guides and checklists for specific information about what needs to be included for different types of planning permit applications.
After your application is submitted, you will receive an acknowledgment letter from Council that will list the application number and the planner allocated to consider the application.
As part of the preliminary assessment, the planner will check the application and advise you if more information is required and the timeframe in which to lodge that information. If the information is not provided by this date, the application will lapse.
Once Council's Planning Department receives all the requested further information, the application will proceed to the next stage of the process, which includes consideration of whether or not public notification (advertising) is required.
Once all the required information has been submitted, Council's planners decide whether to undertake public notification/advertising of the application.
If the planners are satisfied that the application will not cause material detriment to any person, the application will not be advertised.
If advertising is required, the Planning Department will issue a written direction to the applicant to advertise the application. The statutory advertising period is for 14 days.
Surrounding landowners and occupiers are notified of the permit application by letter. A notice may also be required to be displayed on the site. In particular circumstances, a notice may also appear in a newspaper that circulates in the area.
Council will require a statutory declaration from the applicant as evidence that advertising has been completed. The application won't be processed further until the advertising has been completed to Council's satisfaction and the statutory declaration returned to Council.
During the advertising period, interested parties may view the permit application documents free of charge at the Whitehorse Civic Centre in Nunawading between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Copies of documents will attract a fee.
During the advertising period, the community is able to comment on what is proposed before Council makes its decision. Any comments received are called submissions and those that oppose a proposal are known as objections. Council must consider all submissions received when it makes its decision.
Council's Planning Department prepares a report describing the proposal, the relevant policies and planning scheme requirements, the assessment process, any objections and the response to them.
As an applicant or person making a submission, you may want to make a short presentation to Council in relation to the permit application. You can make a three-minute long presentation at Council's Special Committee Meetings. The presentation must be arranged through Council's Civic Service Department and must be in accordance with the relevant guidelines.
Please note, a permit will not be refused just because objections have been received. Council has to decide the merit of the objections and weigh up a number of planning considerations before it makes its decision.
If the application is for a major project, or there are a certain number of objections, the application may be decided at a full Council Meeting. However, in accordance with Council's Instrument of Delegation, Council may make the decision under delegation. This means Council's planners make the decision rather than it being decided by the councillors. A decision made under delegation is usually quicker because the application does not have to wait for a council meeting.
If Council decides to grant a permit, and there are objections, Council can issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit, but cannot issue the permit until the time for appeals.html to VCAT has passed and none have been lodged.
The permit applicant and the objectors will receive a copy of the Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit. The notice will include all the conditions the applicant must comply with, and will identify the plans to be endorsed as part of the permit. The notice does not have the same legal status as a permit, but instead signals Council's decision to grant the permit and identifies the conditions to be included on the permit.
Objectors have 21 days from the date the notice of the decision was given to lodge an application for review at VCAT. If VCAT confirms that no applications for review have been lodged within the 21 days, Council will issue the permit.
If there is an application for review, Council cannot issue the permit. Its decision to grant the permit and the permit conditions will be subject to review by VCAT. VCAT will make the final decision about the application.
If, as applicant, your application is refused, you have 60 days from the date that notice of the refusal is given to apply to VCAT for a review of the decision.
VCAT conducts public hearings and considers submissions made by all the parties. VCAT makes its assessment of the proposal's planning merits and decides whether a permit should be granted, and what permit conditions are appropriate.
An appeal to VCAT is called an Application for Review. The party making the application for review is called the Applicant for Review.
One or more VCAT members hear the case and hearings are conducted in a structured, formal way. Courteous behaviour is required and people are not allowed to interrupt or ask questions during another's presentation. A lawyer or a planner may represent parties, but this is not essential, and many permit applicants and objectors present their own submissions.
An application for review involves all parties in a considerable amount of time, effort and expense, and it should be carefully considered.
VCAT provides a brochure to help people prepare effective submissions. It also explains some of the VCAT procedures. You can get a copy from www.vcat.vic.gov.au or by calling VCAT on 9628 9777.
For more information contact Council's Planning Department on 9262 6303 or visit the Whitehorse Civic Centre at 379-397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading, between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
Please note that Council's planners are available by appointment only, so it is best to call first and arrange a time.
379-397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading, Victoria 3131Australia
Tel: (03) 9262 6333 Fax: (03) 9262 6490Email: firstname.lastname@example.org