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Planning Application Process

Before you begin a new development or land use you may need to apply for a Planning Permit.

A Planning Permit gives you permission to use or develop land in a certain way in accordance with the Knox Planning Scheme.

After a Planning Permit is granted, you may also need a Building Permit to carry out the works. You can lodge applications for a Planning Permit and Building Permit at the same time, but the Building Permit application can only be processed once the Planning Permit is granted.

Certain applications are eligible to be fast-tracked under the VicSmart process.

Step 1: Before you apply for a Planning Permit

The amount of detail you need to provide in a Planning Permit application will vary, depending on the planning controls that apply to your land and the complexity of the project.

To help you understand what you need to prepare, read our advice on gathering information for your application, including how to request Pre-application Advice from our Planning Services team: Before Applying for a Planning Permit

Step 2: Submitting a Planning Application

After you have submitted your Planning Permit application, it is registered and allocated to a Planning Officer. The Planning Officer is responsible for processing and assessing the application.

NEW! Planning at Knox is now Digital. You can now lodge and pay for your planning application using Council's Online Services. You must be a Registered User to use this service.

Register for Online Services

Apply for a Planning Permit

Step 3: Initial Assessment

The Planning Officer assesses the submitted documentation to ensure there is sufficient information to make a well-informed decision.

The Planning Officer may request further information within 28 days of receipt of the application. The application is put on hold until this information is received. If the information is not received within the prescribed timeframe, the application will lapse and cannot be considered any further.

Further information can be uploaded digitally using Council's Online Services. You must be a Registered User to use this service. The easiest way to upload any additional information is to follow the link in the email sent to you by Council, requesting Further Information.

Alternatively, you may log in; select 'Online Registers'; select 'My Planning Applications'; select the relevant application; select the 'Object, Support or Further Info' button at the bottom of the page; select 'Provide additional information requested by Council'. You will then be able to attach additional documents.

Log In to Online Services

In some cases, the application may be referred to other Council departments for technical or specialist advice on matters such as traffic, stormwater or trees. The application may also be referred to external authorities, such as Melbourne Water, VicRoads or CFA for specialist technical advice. External authorities have 28 days to respond to Council.

Step 4: Advertising a Planning Application

If the Planning Officer determines that the application may cause detriment to adjoining properties or the neighbourhood, the planning application will undergo Public Notification, or Advertising.

Many planning applications will need to be advertised and this is done in the form of a Notice of Application. The advertising period is a minimum 14 days but has been extended to 21 days to allows for postage delays during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. You can view plans and supporting documentation for planning applications which are being advertised.

The Notice of Application can consist of: a mail out to surrounding owners and occupiers; a notice on site; notice in the newspaper; or a combination of these.

There is a fee associated with the advertising process, however Council will notify the Applicant in writing of the cost, the type of advertising necessary and the process for the advertising.

Council cannot make a decision on an application until the advertising and notice period is complete.

More information on the Advertising Process and Objections

Step 5: Consultation with Objectors

Community members may lodge objections to the Planning Permit application.

If objections have been received, the Planning Officer may organise a consultation meeting with interested parties, and invite the relevant Ward Councillor to attend.

The meeting aims to identify and understand issues raised, and potentially agree on solutions. No decisions are made at these meetings.

Step 6: Making Amendments to a Permit Application

You may amend your application at any time during the process. But if you make an amendment after advertising, the application may have to be re-advertised and additional fees may apply.

Step 7: Detailed Assessment

The Planning Officer thoroughly assesses your application against all relevant policies and requirements of the Knox Planning Scheme. They review all submissions received and any comments from other Council departments and referral authorities.

The Planning Officer then prepares a report and a recommendation.

Step 8: Decision by Council or Delegate

The Council or a delegate of the Council (generally a senior statutory Planning Officer) will make a decision on the application, according to Council's Instrument of Delegation.

If the application is to be decided by the Council, the applicant and any objectors will be notified when the application will be reported to a Council meeting for a decision. Council meetings are generally held on the last Monday of the month.

Possible decision outcomes include:

  • If there are no objections and the application is supported, Council issues a Planning Permit.
  • If there are objections, but the application is supported, Council issues a Notice of Decision (NOD) to grant the permit.
  • If the application is not supported, Council issues a Refusal to Grant the Permit.

When we issue a Planning Permit, it may be subject to conditions that need to be met. If this is the case and we ask you to amend your plans, you will need to make the requested changes and resubmit the plans to your Planning Officer for endorsement. Council may also request the submission of landscaping, drainage or other specialist plans for endorsement as conditions of the permit. See the Submitting Permit Condition Plans page for more information.

Appealing Council's Decision

Council’s decision is final unless the applicant, or an objector lodges an appeal.

Once a decision is made, objectors have 28 days and applicants have 60 days to lodge an Application for Review with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Council (VCAT). After the appeal hearing, VCAT makes the final decision and provides written reasons to everybody involved in the appeal. Council then issues the decision, as directed by VCAT.

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