Whitehorse City Council

Amendment C191

The Minister for Planning has approved Amendment C191 to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme. The Amendment applies a municipal-wide Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO9) to all residential land not currently included in the SLO, on an interim basis from 8 February until 31 December 2018.

What is Amendment C191?

Amendment C191 seeks to 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 http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/Whitehorse-Maps.html

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 which 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 http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/VicSmart.html, 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.

How do I measure my tree?

There are number of ways to get an estimate of how high a tree is:

  • With a standard tape measure, measure up one metre from the ground, then use that measured distance to estimate the remaining metres.
  • A standard fence height is usually 1.8m, so if a tree is at least 3 times the height of a standard fence it will be approximately 5m in height. 

Please note, this is a rough guide only.

What happens next?

The new interim controls will remain in place until 31 December 2018 while Council continues strategic work toward applying the same controls permanently.

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