Planning & Environment

Planning authorities and environmental matters

Liaising with local councils and other regulatory bodies to ensure appropriate planning permits are obtained can be complex and protracted.

We have extensive experience in this area and can provide advice and representation in the following matters:

  • Land use and development advice
  • Planning permit advice
  • Council negotiations and consultation with senior offices, CEOs and councillors
  • Interpretation of planning schemes and their effects
  • Structure planning and development contributions
  • Growth areas advice, site acquisitions and due diligence
  • VCAT appeals and advice
  • Planning Panels Victoria
  • Ministerial Advisory Committee Hearings

Planning permit advice

A planning permit authorises a specific use or development of land and is required for a use or development if specified in the planning scheme. Sometimes a planning scheme will specify that a planning permit is not required for a particular use or for the development of land, exempt from a permit, or prohibited.

Interpretation of planning schemes and their effects

A planning scheme is a statutory document which sets out how parcels of land can be used, developed, protected and conserved. It includes policies, zones, overlays and other relevant provisions to achieve its objectives.

Planning schemes generally contain:

  • maps which indicate zones and overlays that affect land
  • an ordinance that sets out the written requirements of a scheme
  • relevant incorporated documents

Each Council has its own planning scheme and the local policies distinguish one planning scheme from another.

Structure planning and development contributions

A council’s structure plans and development contributions plans provide guidance in relation to land use and required infrastructure.

When developing land for any use an upgrade in infrastructure is often necessary.

Development contributions are payments put towards the provision of infrastructure made by a developer.

Development contributions can be provided through either the:

  • planning scheme amendment process
  • planning permit or building permit process

Development contributions are an option available to local and state governments for funding infrastructure.

The development contribution levy has two parts, the first is the development infrastructure levy which contributes to infrastructure such as roads and open spaces and is a financial contribution made by developers before they develop their land for urban purposes.

The second development contribution is the community infrastructure levy which is used to fund community infrastructure, such as pavilions in growth area developments.

VCAT appeals and advice

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hears disputes about decisions made on the use, development and subdivision of land, including planning permits, objections to planning permits and planning schemes.

Planning Panels Victoria

Planning Panels Victoria (PPV) allows the public to participate in the planning and environmental decision making process. PPV independently assesses planning proposals and major projects by considering submissions, conducting hearings and preparing reports and can also provide advice and make recommendations. The final decision of a PPV is made by relevant statutory bodies, or the Minister.

Working with professionals

Property development can be profitable but comes with high risk. It is complex and requires an understanding of many interrelated areas of law.

Whether you are renovating, building a new home, or working on a major residential or commercial development, it is essential to understand the effect of planning and environment laws on your project.

We can provide comprehensive advice and guidance on all aspects of planning and environment law to ensure compliance, help mitigate risk and enhance the profitability of your project.

If you need any assistance, contact us at [email protected] or call 03 5221 7077 for a no-obligation discussion and for expert legal advice.