Town Planning Changes



WARNING: this is dry!


Way back in mid-2018 the Victorian State government made a number of planning changes called Amendment VC148.

It seems as though their main thrust is to simplify, and reduce the number of applications through common sense. Also being able to fast track small projects is easier.

What does this mean in review in a practical sense?

  • Reduce car parking requirements for new uses of many existing buildings in commercial areas
  • No visitor parking within 400 m of public transport (PPTN)
  • No permit to reduce the required number of car parking spaces for a new use in an existing building, providing certain requirements are met
  • Reduced car parking within 400 m of PPTN resulting in significantly fewer car parking numbers
  • Integration of VICSmart (fast tracking) into relevant zones
  • Heritage overlays more transparent and easier to discover
  • Applications for land adjacent to a Road Zone are now exempt from notices and reviews.


For us this means fewer car parks on site which could even improve yield! Also more fast tracking of smaller projects.

Landscape copy

Dealing with council

Warnings and allowances

Council officers aren’t idiots! They have heard all the tall stores before! And a lot worse! Many times!

Always be respectful of council officers. They are the professionals! Not the politicians! Openly discuss what you want to achieve and seek their honest feedback. Discuss issues without heat and be prepared to offer alternatives to any of their comments. Take on board their comments and adjust your design if appropriate.

Remember you are creating your business.

At this stage also you might find it beneficial to discuss points that you think are contentious with your neighbours. We find that it is usually well received and makes the process smoother.

Your Architects should now make the necessary changes to satisfy you and also Council. The design itself must be buildable and fit within your costing feasibility.

Your Architects can proceed to complete the design and all the necessary drawings and coordinate documents that are necessary for lodgement for a Planning Permit.


Point of Difference

And diversity in the market place

Too many developments look the same, have the same accommodation, and cost the same. Are the same!

 The beauty of having a strong body of information outlining who your target markets are, what your target markets want and what is currently offered in the market place for your target market is … you can easily assess what you can offer that is a point of difference that will give prospective buyers and renters a clear choice.

Important considerations include not less than 50m2 of unit area, creating a connection with the locality through the name, built material, and reference to local icons and attractions.

Consider ceiling heights and window heights as sellable luxuries.

Indoor/Outdoor access and rooftop gardens add extra space and liveability.

19 Eastgate St 05-min

Site Restrictions/Opportunities

Assessing what is a good potential development site


Size, shape and location, location, location will be fundamental information that will govern the suitability of a site for development.


Site impediments include easements, contaminants, surrounding buildings, traffic hazards, flooding, fire, sloping site and vegetation.


Site opportunities include: views, proximity to natural or other local features, orientation to the sun, vegetation and sloping site.


A trusted and experienced professional will be able to assess the site impediments. Usually the opportunities are obvious and why you are looking at the property in the first place. Your trusted professional can carry out a preliminary site analysis and plans. Site plans will enable calculations showing the yield on the property and size of each unit.


There are many types of easements including party wall easements, sewerage easement, stormwater easement and carriageway easement. Easements can often be expunged and any assets re-diverted but sometimes at great cost.


Planning Restrictions/Opportunity

All properties have restrictions on them. Most of these can be resolved with the correct information and strategy.


The Zoning of the property, for example Neighbourhood Residential, General Residential, High-Density Residential or Mixed Use, will guide the number of units that can be designed on the site.


Planning overlays such as vegetation overlay, developer contributions overlay, environmental audit overlay, Heritage, land subject to inundation, neighbourhood character and areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage sensitivity are critical to the end product and your profitability.


Does the site have various covenants such as single dwelling covenants or easements such as drainage, sewerage and rights of carriageway?


Existing significant vegetation on the proposed site as well as neighbouring sites needs to be carefully assessed and can restrict the development but also enhance its saleability.


Always view the Section 32 document and the Contract of Sale and discuss it with your advisers including our lawyer.