Residential Zone Changes: What Practitioners Need to Know: In mid April 2017 the State Government made sweeping changes to the residential zones across Victoria. The changes are widely speculated to be an attempt to redress some of the imbalance that resulted from the over implementation of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone in 2013/14. However it is not all good news for applicants. This piece summarises the important bits that you'll want to know more

Expansion of VicSmart: Regular permit applicants will be familiar with VicSmart, Clauses 90-95 of the Victorian Planning Provisions (VPP), introduced in 2014. VicSmart provides a shorter planning permit process for simple and straightforward applications. The latest changes significantly expand VicSmart and provide more opportunities to reduce the time Council takes to assess your applications more

Is a Garden  Under an Eave a Garden Area: Regular applicants will be aware of the recent changes to the General Residential and Neighourhood Residential Zones introduced in April of this year, under amendment VC110, requiring a mandatory minimum Garden Area as part of development proposals on lots greater than 400m2. However, ambiguity reins as the industry struggles to understand more

Under Development: The issue of “over-development” is often tendered in objection to planning permit applications. But was is 'under-development' and why is it relevant? A recent VCAT decision clarifies these questions and more more

The Startingpoint: Clause:1 is a specialised town planning consultancy dedicated to assisting property developers, architects, building designers, business applicants and other regular users navigate the increasing complexity of Victoria's Planning System.The Startingpoint is distributed by Clause 1 Planning and aims to provide information that will assist users achieve better planning outcomes.  
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Seminar: Town Planning - A Year of Changes
This seminar will provide practitioners with information and valuable insights into the recent changes to Residential Zones; expansion of VicSmart provisions; changes to CHMP requirements and more. Presented by Ashley Thompson of Clause 1. Monday 5 June 2017

Course: Assessing Neighbourhood Character
Focusing on what neighbourhood character means, understanding different neighbourhood character typologies, developments ‘respect’ of neighbourhood character, and exploring critical VCAT decisions.
PLANET 2017: Wednesday 14 June 2017

Course: Traffic and Parking Assessments
Covering the essentials needed to analyse applications that involve traffic or parking considerations including the calculation of parking demand, how to read parking ratios and more. The course also includes the role of traffic engineers and the application of parking surveys and analysis.
PLANET 2017: Thursday 15 June 2017

Course: The A-Z of Planning
This course covers the difference between the statutory and strategic context of the Victorian planning system, the layers of policy and the day-to-day process requirements of the planning office including statutory processes, decision making, enforcement and VCAT procedures
PLANET 2017: Thursday 22 June 2017
Providing planners with tools and case studies to enhance their capability and motivation to address waste management and recycling in the growing multi-unit, apartment and mixed use developments
PLANET 2017: Thursday 29 June 2017.

Planning scheme amendments can significantly impact future use and development opportunities. The following is a selection of recent and noteworthy proposed amendments.

Bayside C126: Proposes the implementation of the Bayside Small Activity Centres Strategy over 33 neighbourhood activity centres. The amendment includes, inter alia, the rezoning of land as well as new mandatory height controls ranging from 9m-13.5m …read more 
Melbourne C258: Affects all land within the Melbourne municipality by making changes to the way buildings are graded under the heritage overlay. The amendment also introduces 20 new heritage overlays and edits the boundaries of eight others more
Kingston C152: Introduces new planning permit application requirements for development applications regarding 'Stormwater Management’, including the need for an Integrated Water Management Plan and a Water Sensitive Urban Design Response for larger applications …read more

Benedetti Madness
The 'Benedetti Principle' was etched in stone by the Victorian Supreme Court in Benedetti v Moonee Valley City Council [2005] VSC 434 and, in summary, decrees that: Where a planning permit is issued, any ‘benefit’ derived from that permit (like the construction of an approved dwelling) continues to run with the land in perpetuity …as does any ‘burden’ (or restrictions) contained in the permit, such as permit conditions.
Regular applicants will be aware that most Victorian Councils reserve Condition 2 for the following:
2. The development as shown on the endorsed plans must not be altered without the written consent of the Responsible Authority.
The impact of this and similarly worded conditions, under the Benedetti principle,  on literally hundreds-of-thousands of planning permits, issued for development over recent decades, is that any change to the site that is not in accordance with plans endorsed under the original permit requires an application to be approved by Council – regardless of how old the permit is, how small the change is, how large the lots is and whether or not a planning permit is actually triggered by today’s Planning Scheme.
As a result of the Benedetti Principle, we estimate that tens-of-thousands of Victorian home owners are unknowingly in breach of historical planning permits, hundreds of building permits are potentially illegally issued each year and a massive unnecessary burden is placed on Councils to enforce the Benedetti principle and deal with related applications.  
Clause 1 remains hopeful that the State Government will rectify this issue at a legislative level for all existing permits, but until then we urge local Councils to remove the unnecessary burden Benedetti places on both permit holders and Council planning departments by rewording their Condition 2 requirement to the following:
2. The development as shown on the endorsed plans must not be altered without the written consent of the Responsible Authority, except in circumstances where those changes do not trigger a planning permit under the relevant planning scheme at the time they are made.
Stop the Benedetti madness.

If you would like more information about any of the content of this newsletter or have suggestions for future editions we would love to hear from you. Please contact us to discuss.
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