The permit decision

The decision regarding your application is often made by our Planning Officers who have delegated authority from the Council, but in some cases will need to be determined by Council.

If your application was advertised the decision process will commence 14 days after the first date of notification or if there was a notice on site it would be 14 days after the sign was placed on the site.

Council will decide either to:

  • grant a permit
  • refuse a permit
  • if there are objections, issue a “Notice of Decision” to grant a permit

The Planning Officer prepares a report (either a delegate report or a Council Report) describing the proposal, the relevant policies and planning scheme requirements, the assessment process, any objections and referral comments, and the response to them. They then make a recommendation about whether or not a planning permit should be granted. The Officer has to judge how well a proposal meets policy objectives in the planning scheme, and they may have to strike a balance between competing objectives.

Powers of Delegation

Powers of Delegation allow the Officer to consider and decide on applications where there are 5 or less objections where approval of the permit is being recommended.

If an application has received 5 or less objections the Planning Officer will send the relevant Ward Councillors a memo for consideration of the application, including a recommendation about the application to ascertain if the Councillors support the application or otherwise. If the Councillors do not support the officers recommendation outlined in the Ward Councillors memo, then the decision needs to be made by Council.

If there are six (6) or more objections to an application then the decision needs to be made by Council.

Refusal

Council may refuse to grant the permit and will issue a Notice of Refusal to Grant a Permit. The grounds for the refusal will be listed on the notice. Council will give a copy of this notice to you and all other parties involved in the application process (including objectors if there were any). Information about applications for review to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is printed on the back of the refusal notice.

A Council Planner may let you know in advance if your application is to be refused. This allows you to make changes to the application that address council’s concerns. However, you are not under any obligation to make changes and, sometimes, there is a fundamental difference between what you want to do and the council planner’s assessment of the application that can only be resolved at VCAT.

In some instances, the council planner may recommend that the permit is granted but council may refuse the application. Council is not obliged to accept the council planner’s recommendation and there are many reasons why it may be overturned.

If your application is refused, you have 60 days from the date that the notice of the refusal is given to you to apply to VCAT for a review of the decision. Lodge an application for review as soon as possible so you get in the VCAT system.

Granting the Permit

A permit is nearly always subject to specified conditions that must be met. If there are no objections, council can issue the permit immediately. If there are objections, council can only issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit.

All concerned parties will receive a copy of the notice. The Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit does not have the same legal status as a permit. However, it signals council’s decision to grant the permit and identifies the conditions to be included on it.

If you do not agree with our planning permit decision, you can lodge an appeal with VCAT to review the decision.

An appeal may be lodged by:

  • objectors against Council's decision to issue a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit
  • the Applicant against Council's decision to refuse an application
  • the Applicant against conditions in the Permit or Notice of Decision
  • the Applicant against Council's failure to make a decision within the prescribed time

As an objector you should:

As a Planning Permit Applicant you should:

  • Visit the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) website to download the relevant appeal form. Lodge your appeal through VCAT to appeal our decision to not grant permission for a Planning Permit application within 60 days of this decision being made.

The State Government appoints VCAT members who are qualified legal practitioners, planners and other specialists to independently review the decision we have made where an appeal is lodged.

Your appeal must be lodged with VCAT within the required time frame.

If VCAT confirms that no application has been lodged within the 21 days, council will issue the permit. If an objector lodges an application for review within 21 days of the notice being given, council cannot issue the permit. The application will be decided by VCAT.

If council issues a permit, you will receive a copy of the permit and the endorsed plans (unless there is a requirement for the submission of revised plans within the permit conditions). These are important documents and should be kept in a safe place. Don’t use the endorsed plans as your working plans.

Notification of Approval or Refusal

The applicant and all objectors (if there were objectors) will be advised of the outcome of the application in writing via a Notice of Decision, or a Notice of Refusal.

Permit conditions and expiry

If the permit is granted, you must comply with all of the permit conditions. Check the conditions very carefully and note any that must be complied with before the use or development commences. For example, amended plans may be required, or there may be a condition requiring a landscape plan to be prepared and approved by council. You cannot act on the permit until these conditions have been satisfied and the plans have been endorsed.

Note any conditions about expiry of the permit. Most permits expire two years from the date of issue unless specified times are included as a condition of the permit.

If a permit condition is unacceptable, you have 60 days from the date the permit was issued, or the Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit was given, to apply for a review. Lodge an application for review of the conditions as soon as possible so you get in the VCAT system.

Failure to determine the application

If council fails to make a decision about the application within 60 statutory days, you can apply for a review to VCAT. The 60 days must be calculated in accordance with Regulation 30 of the Planning and Environment Regulations 1998.

If the 60-day limit is approaching, find out from the Council planner what the recommendation will be, when the decision will be made, and the reasons for any delay. Reviews against the failure to make a decision are relatively uncommon because Council is likely to make a decision before the hearing date at VCAT. However, if a refusal is recommended, it may save you some time in the VCAT system if you have applied for a review under this provision. The appropriate action will depend on the particular circumstances. For more information about applications for review, visit the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) webpage.