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Trenic Commercial & Residential Builders & Sub-Divisions

Thinking of Subdividing?

Are you thinking about subdividing your block? Have your eye on a larger block to purchase and develop with two or more separate dwellings?

There are many reasons why subdividing land can be a good idea. It helps maximise land use and can open up opportunities for underutilised land on an already developed block to give new life. This kind of in-fill development is now being given higher preference, over big developments on large ‘greenfield’ sites, where there has been no previous development.

In Victoria, permission to subdivide a block needs to be obtained via the relevant local council. For subdivision applications, it is generally necessary to work with a qualified professional who can advise and assist you through the planning process.

Trenic Building and Construction is a local team, and we have the experience to take you through the subdivision planning permit process in Geelong and along the Surf Coast. Thorough preparation, a well thought out plan and clear documentation increase your chance of a successful result.

You should allow around four to six months for your proposal to receive an outcome.

We have helped many families and businesses successfully navigate the planning process. Here we give you a brief rundown on what is involved in getting permission to subdivide land.

Can the land I own be subdivided?

The first step is to confirm the zoning of the land. Some zones do not allow subdivisions, and some have minimum size restrictions. Planning overlays may also affect the ability to subdivide a block.

It is essential also to check whether there are any covenants on your land which restrict subdividing the block. These will be noted on the land title.

Prepare the documentation

So that the council can make an informed decision, they need to receive all the relevant information within a prescribed format. A full and comprehensive list is outlined within the Victorian Planning Provisions.

In summary, the size, shape, dimensions of a site, along with its contours, and natural and cultural features, need to be provided; This includes vegetation and drainage lines, street frontages and details, surrounding buildings, easements and access points, and soil conditions. Any current site structures and uses also need to be outlined.

The level of detail required beyond the site itself depends on the number of sub-divisions proposed. For larger portions of land, information on community-level facilities like public transport, road connections, recreational spaces and shopping facilities is required.

The proposed subdivision for the site must address how it relates to the site context and any relevant restrictions, objectives and strategies that apply to the land. This includes neighbourhood character or heritage planning overlays.

A recent copy of the title of the land is also required.

Submit the planning permit to the local council

All of the required information is submitted in a formal application to the appropriate city council. The relevant fee normally needs to be paid at the time of submission.

With any application, the council may request additional information; This is typically based on any unique site-specific conditions that may exist, or to ensure various city or statewide planning goals are being met.

At this stage, the council will often provide a preliminary assessment; This may indicate that the proposal needs to be adjusted to increase the likelihood of the subdivision being approved. A response to this initial feedback can be submitted.

The proposal may also be referred to relevant service authorities for their input, as required.

Advertise your subdivision proposal

Before a planning permit is considered, it must be made public. People need to be given a chance to voice their concerns to the proposal. Your subdivision proposal must publicly be displayed to ensure this.

As it is generally the local neighbours who have the most interest in changes to their area, the first step is to display a sign on the site itself. It is required that the notice is displayed for 14 clear days. At the end of the period, a statutory declaration to confirm this has happened is required.

The council also makes all details of the proposal available at its office and online.

Get feedback and hear objections

Any person who feels they would be affected by your subdivision proposal has the right to submit an objection. An objection can be lodged from when the proposal is advertised, until when a decision is made.

All objections must be made in writing and are public documents that you will be able to view.

Council assessment and decision

The council has 60 statutory days from the end of the advertising period to decide on each application.

When the council accepts your proposal, and there are no objections, they can issue the permit immediately.

When there are objectors, the council will instead need to issue a “Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit” to you and anyone who commented on or objected to the proposal. This signals their intention to grant the permit. Objectors may lodge an application for the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to review the decision. An application must be lodged within 21 days, or the planning permit will be granted.

In most cases, when a permit is granted, it will come with certain conditions that need to be met. These might include retaining certain vegetation, or requirements for common property.

Even if there are no objections to your proposal, it may be rejected by the council. The reasons for rejection will be outlined in a “Notice of Refusal”. You may be notified beforehand by the council planner if your proposal is likely to be rejected, and have the opportunity to amend your proposal to address any concerns.

What happens if I am unhappy with the council’s decision?

You may find that your application to subdivide has not been approved, or you are unhappy with the conditions on the outcome. In this case, your next option is to appeal the decision through VCAT.

You should be aware that when a case is appealed through VCAT, it may add another six months or more to the overall planning permit process.

Save time and make the process as smooth as possible by having solid and well-communicated plans from the beginning. Working with a knowledgeable team increases the likelihood of approval, and any objections can be minimised.

If you are thinking about a subdivision, call Trenic Building and Construction today to discuss your options.


Trenic Commercial & Residential Builders

62 Anomaly Street Moolap, VIC 3224

t: 0478 695 323