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Planning application process - FAQs

What is a planning permit?

A Planning Permit is a legal document that gives permission in principal for a certain use or development on a specific parcel of land. Planning permits have approved (or endorsed) plans that specify what development can take place.

Not all developments require a planning permit. It depends on the planning permit requirements contained in the Zone and any Overlays for the land.

Planning permits often contain conditions set by Councils, Service Authorities (including water, energy and roads authorities) and State Government Departments and Agencies. The use, development, buildings or works done must match those shown on the planning permit and endorsed plans.

Permits have an expiry date – a time limit in which development must be completed. If a planning permit expires before the development is completed, we cannot extend the planning permit.

It may be possible to request an extension of time for the planning permit if the planning permit has not expired. See the Request for an Extension of Time to a Planning Permit form  in our Applications Forms section. A fee applies.

When is a planning permit needed?

The Mount Alexander Planning Scheme consists of zones, overlays and particular provisions which determine when a planning permit is required.

Generally a permit is required for the following:

• Use and development of a dwelling within the Farming Zone
• Construction of multiple dwellings on one lot
• Additions to residential properties
• Commercial or industrial development
• Construction or display of signage
• Waiver or reduction in car parking requirements
• Subdivision of land
• Creation, variation or removal of an easement or restriction

To confirm whether or not you proposal requires a planning permit, you should contact the Development Services team.

How can I check with zones apply?

Each parcel of land has a Zone, which decides how land can be used and what development can occur on your land parcel. To find out which zones and overlays apply to your land parcel, visit Land Victoria: Planning Property Report .

The Mount Alexander Planning Scheme maps show Zones and Overlays attached to larger areas in our Shire.

The most common zones within Mount Alexander are General Residential Zone (GRZ), Township Zone (TZ), Rural Living Zone (RLZ), Farming Zone (FZ) and Industrial Zones (INZ).

The most common overlays within Mount Alexander Shire Council are Heritage Overlays, Environmental Significance Overlays, Significant Landscape Overlays, Erosion Management Overlay.

What other plans or permits may be required for development?

Different types of development require different information to be submitted , at a minimum, you will require the following information to submit a planning permit application.

To ensure your application is assessed as quickly as possible, you need to ensure all of the required information is submitted.

• Completed application form which has been signed by the owner and applicant
• A copy of the title (seached within the last 3 months)
• Details of any restrictive covenants
• A3 size plans drawn to scale
• A site analysis and design response
• The required application fee

Upon submission of your application, we may required you to submit further information.

What is the difference between a building and planning permit?

Planning permits and building permits are different levels of approval. You made need one or both, depending on the work you are carrying out.

A Planning Permit is for the use and development of land under the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme.

A Building Permit relates to the construction of a building only under the Building Regulations.

If you require both approvals, you must obtain the planning permit prior to the building permit. A planning permit on its own does not authorize permission to commence building.

It is suggested that you contact both Council’s Building and Planning Departments to determine which permit you require.

Vic Smart & Fast Track Applications

Certain classes of applications may be considered as Vic Smart applications. Vic Smart applications are a streamlined process assessment process for straightforward planning permit applications. You should contact planning to determine if you application is a Vic Smart application.

Council also has a dedicated Fast Track Planner. The Fast Track Planner generally deals with Vic Smart Planning applications, straightforward planning applications which do not require referral or advertising and also straightforward amendments to existing planning applications.

How long will it take to process my planning permit application?

There are actually no timeframes within which a planning permit must be decided. Under the Planning & Environment Act 1987 planning permit applicants are able to make an appeal to VCAT if their application has not been determined within 60 statutory days of the date of lodgement.

The number of days are not calendar days, but statutory days because the clock turns on and off at different times where, for example, further information is sought from the applicant, or in other specific circumstances.

The length of time to assess an application will vary depending on whether a pre application meeting has been held with a Council planner, the quality of the application, the complexity of the proposal, the number of referrals required, whether it is required to be advertised, and whether any objections are received.

How can I find, lodge or track a planning permit application?

You can lodge or track a planning permit application via our web based permit management system called Greenlight.

What can I do if my permit expires?

Permits have an expiry date – a time limit in which development must be commenced or completed.

If a planning permit expires before the development is completed, Council may consider a request to extend the permit within 6 months of the expiry date. If a request is received outside of this time, Council will be unable to consider the request.

See the Request for an Extension of Time to a Planning Permit form in our Applications Forms section. A fee applies.

How do I contact planning services for an appointment or advice?

Planning staff are available for face-to-face consultation at the Customer Service Desk at the Civic Centre in Castlemaine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, and by phone each weekday. Contact us.

On Tuesday and Thursday, by prior arrangement, an appointment can be made for a pre-application meeting with a planner. Pre-application meetings are not required for all applications. They are designed for complex development proposals.

Documents will need to be provided beforehand to enable the planner to prepare for the meeting, and give the best possible advice. Bookings can be made by filling in and submitting a Planning Pre-Application Meeting Request Form.

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