What is Amendment VC187?
Introduces a new particular provision, Housing by or on behalf of the Director of Housing at clause 53.20 to streamline the planning permit process for housing projects by or on behalf of the Director of Housing. It also makes the Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change responsible for assessing the development of 10 or more dwellings and apartments.
What does it deliver?
The amendment will have beneficial social effects by supporting Government initiatives to substantially increase investment in, and development of housing through:
- the $500 million investment to build and upgrade community and public housing as part of the Building Works stimulus package
- the Building New Homes to Fight Homelessness “1000 homes” initiative which will help Victorians escape family violence, homelessness and life on the streets by building 1,000 new homes
- the $185 million Public Housing Renewal Program to redevelop public housing estates
- other new homes delivered by Homes Victoria and community housing providers.
Why is it needed?
There is a pressing need to dramatically increase the supply of social and affordable housing in Victoria, with 48,000 households on the Victorian Housing Register. There is also a need to ensure housing is appropriate by replacing deteriorating housing stock and ensuring that homes meet the needs of those who need them.
Who approved the amendment?
Minister D’Ambrosio, the Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change has approved the amendment. This is necessary to avoid any conflict or perceived conflict of interest that may arise with the Minister for Planning assessing applications made on behalf of the Minister for Housing, because he is the same person.
When were the changes delivered?
The changes are effective from 1 December 2020, the day the Notice of Approval appeared in the Government Gazette allowing immediate facilitation of currently funded projects.
Is the amendment a temporary measure, or permanent?
The provision is permanent.
Will this provision support a specific group of Victorians?
The amendment supports the provision of housing for a range of social and affordable housing needs including families, the elderly and homeless people. For example, the amendment will support quicker delivery of the ‘1000 homes’ initiative to help Victorians in need of safe and secure housing by facilitating the construction of 1,000 new homes for people on the Victorian Housing Register (the public housing waitlist).
Do planning provisions make requirements for tenure or types of housing?
The planning rules do not control the tenure, social status or proportion of funding for the development of housing however the new planning provisions do require an assessment against development standards based on Victoria’s residential codes to protect the amenity of adjoining neighbours.
The planning provisions do not set requirements for the size, number of bedrooms and type of dwellings such as social, affordable or private housing. These decisions will be made by Homes Victoria on behalf of the Director of Housing based on the demand for housing of a particular area.
What is the role of Homes Victoria?
Homes Victoria was established to deliver the Government’s objectives to increase social and affordable housing. One of Homes Victoria’s roles is to fast-track new social and affordable housing and plan for sustainable, long term growth in housing.
Where an application is made on behalf of the Director of Housing a letter is required from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing or Homes Victoria as evidence to qualify for a streamlined assessment under clause 53.20.
Note: On 1 February 2021 the Department of Health and Human Services separated into new departments; the Department of Health and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. The reference to Department of Health and Human Services in clause 53.20 applies to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
Operation of clause 53.20 Housing by or on behalf of the Director of Housing
Is a planning permit required?
Yes. The clause provides a streamlined planning permit process for the development of dwellings including dwellings in an apartment development.
Clause 53.20 applies when a planning permit is required to construct or extend a dwelling or front fence under the provisions of a residential zone (other than the Low Density Residential Zone) and the permit application is made by or on behalf of the Director of Housing.
Does a development assessed under this provision need to be government funded?
Not necessarily. However, a permit application must be made by or on behalf of the Director of Housing. This would normally mean that there is some government funding included, but not in all cases. Where an application is made on behalf of the Director of Housing a letter is required from Homes Victoria as evidence to qualify for a streamlined assessment under clause 53.20.
What types of housing can be assessed under clause 53.20?
The provision establishes a special, streamlined planning process for the development of dwellings. This can include single dwellings, two or more dwellings on a lot in the form of dual occupancies, villa units or townhouses and apartment developments.
The type or mix of dwellings (i.e social or affordable) is not a consideration of the planning permit process.
Where does the provision apply?
The provision applies to land in a General Residential Zone, Mixed Use Zone, Neighbourhood Residential Zone, Residential Growth Zone and Township Zone. It does not apply to land in a Low Density Residential Zone.
Does the provision make requirements for the use of land for a dwelling?
A permit is not required to use land for a dwelling in a residential zone. The requirements of the applicable residential zone must be met.
Do the zone permit requirements apply?
Yes. A permit requirement to construct or extend a dwelling (including multiple dwellings and an apartment), or to construct or extend a front fence applies.
The maximum building height requirement specified in the zone applies, and a minimum garden area must be met.
Do ResCode and the Better Apartment Standards (clauses 54, 55 and 58) apply?
No. Clause 53.20 requires assessment against development standards at clause 53.20-6 for all development and 53.20-7 for apartments. The residential development standards are based on the existing ResCode and Better Apartment Standards with modifications to suit social and affordable housing and a streamlined assessment process.
The development standards are designed to allow for flexible decision making. The standards are not mandatory. A standard should be met but can be varied at the discretion of the responsible authority using the decision guidelines at clause 53.20-8. Other policy and decision guidelines in the planning scheme are excluded from the assessment process (clause 53.20-3).
Does VicSmart apply?
A VicSmart requirement at clause 71.06 will apply if specified in the zone or other relevant provision.
Do the local schedules of a residential zone apply?
No, except for a building height requirement.
Can a single dwelling or dwelling addition be developed using this provision?
Do planning overlays apply?
Yes. Where land is affected by an overlay these requirements apply allowing consideration of matters such as heritage, environment and design. An overlay may make requirements such as building height limits or a requirement for an environmental audit that must be met.
An application is exempt from the notice and review requirements that may be required by an applicable overlay.
Do the carparking requirements in ResCode or clause 52.06 apply?
No. The development standards of clause 53.20-6.9 apply. They set requirements for the provision of car spaces, dimensions and access.
What are the requirements for notice and review?
Clause 53.20 exempts notice (advertising) and review (VCAT) of decisions by third parties such as neighbours. An applicant can seek review of a decision.
An application is exempt from the notice and review requirements that may be required by an applicable overlay.
Do the referral requirements in a planning scheme apply?
Yes, the requirements to refer permit applications set out in clause 66 apply.
How will the amenity of neighbours be considered?
Clause 53.20-6 includes development standards (based on ResCode and Better Apartments) to protect the amenity of adjoining neighbours. This includes standards for:
- Front setbacks (reduced)
- Side and rear setbacks
- Walls on boundaries
- Overshadowing open space
Some requirements such as setbacks to adjoining dwellings are greater than existing standards for apartment buildings.
How will the design of buildings fit into the character of the neighbourhood?
The building height requirements of the zone must be met. Where a Neighbourhood Character or other overlay specifies siting and amenity requirements for design and character of buildings these requirements must be met.
A design response is required to be submitted with the application. The design response must explain how the proposed design responds to any relevant planning provision and derives from and responds to the urban context report.
Will the buildings be energy efficient?
Yes. Clause 53.20-6.5 requires dwellings to be energy efficient.
Homes Victoria has committed to new dwellings meeting a 7 Star NaTHERS energy rating which is greater than standard requirements.
Are there transitional provisions for clause 53.20?
No. The provision applies from 1 December 2020. There may be current permit applications that meet the application requirements of clause 53.20-1. These must be assessed and determined using clause 53.20. Where the application is on behalf of the Director of Housing a letter is required from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing or Homes Victoria as an application requirement (53.20-5).
Where an application has already undergone notice (advertising) and the application is assessed under clause 53.20 the exemption from notice and review (clause 53.20-4) applies. This means that any objectors to the application cannot seek review of the application decision to VCAT. It is recommended that all submitters to an application be notified promptly by the responsible authority when the application is to be considered using clause 53.20.
If the Minister for Energy, Environment, and Climate Change is the responsible authority who do I contact to make an application?
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will receive and administer applications where the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is the responsible authority for an application.
Permit applications must be submitted online.
Who will assess and make a decision on an application?
Council is the responsible authority for an application to construct or extend up to nine dwellings on a lot.
An application assessed under clause 53.20 has streamlined requirements that affect how council will assess and make a decision on a permit application. including:
- Exemption from notice and review
- Assessment against the development standards for clause 53.20.
- Specified provisions do not apply, including:
- PPF state, regional and local policies
- Application and decision guidelines of the zone and clause 65
- Clause 54, 55 and 58 (ResCode and Apartments)
- Local schedules to the residential zones
- Car parking requirements at clause 52.06.
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is the responsible authority for an application to construct or extend 10 or more dwellings on a lot and for any apartment development. Clause 72.01 specifies as the responsible authority for this type of application.
Why is the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change the responsible authority instead of the Minister for Planning?
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is the responsible authority to construct or extend 10 or more dwellings on a lot and for any apartment development applications under clause 53.20 to ensure that there is no perceived or actual conflict of interest between the Minister for Planning’s discharge of powers because he is also the Minister for Housing.
There is a benefit for larger developments such as 10 or more dwellings and apartment developments to be processed and determined to ensure a prompt and consistent decision that is coordinated and centralised. Planners at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will undertake the assessment process.
How will the council be aware of an application where the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is the responsible authority?
As part of the pre-application process Homes Victoria will contact and liaise with councils before lodgement of an application.
Where the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change is the responsible authority, DELWP will refer the application to council to provide an opportunity to comment. If comments are not received within 14 calendar days from the date of referral, a decision may be made.
I have a current permit application that can be assessed using this clause. What can I do?
Existing permit applications that meet the ‘entry’ requirements of this provision can be assessed and finalised using 53.20. It is recommended that if the application had undergone a notification process any objectors/submitters to the application be notified of the new process and the status of the application and their objection.
What if there is an existing planning permit for the land?
Existing permits can be acted upon or amended. An application can be made for a new permit using 53.20 if the ‘entry’ requirements of the provision are met.
Page last updated: 27/04/22