VCAT APPEAL – How to appeal a planning permit decision issued by local council.

What is VCAT? 

VCAT is a tribunal that was set up by the government in 1998 to resolve legal matters without the need for the parties to go to court. Although it is a tribunal it works in a very similar way to a court. It is divided into five divisions and town planning appeals are heard under the Planning and Environment list of the administrative division. We specialise in cases under this list and unfortunately do not provide a service for the other types of VCAT appeals. Under the 1998 VCAT Act the tribunal have the authority to overrule any decision issued by a local council in relation to a planning permit application. This includes either a decision by council to refuse or approve a planning permit. VCAT do not issue planning permits themselves, rather the tribunal will order the council to reverse their decision in line with their orders that are made when a case is concluded.

How do I know if I have a case?  

VCAT will review your proposal against the wording and development outcomes sought under the planning scheme. To have a case for VCAT it must be demonstrable that Council have incorrectly applied the planning scheme in the assessment of your application. If the tribunal agree with your case that council have erred in this assessment then you will be successful in your appeal.

When to lodge a VCAT appeal?

There are four situations or cases that can be made to the planning and environment list at VCAT. These are listed below:

  • A planning permit applicant can apply to VCAT to overturn any refusal issued by Council under Section 77 of the Planning and Environment Act. These are the most common types of appeals under the planning list and make up the majority of cases lodged at VCAT.
  • A planning permit applicant can apply to VCAT to make a decision on their planning permit application if the council do not make a decision within 60 days of receipt of the application. This type of appeal is lodged under Section 79 of the planning and environment act  and when it is lodged by the permit applicant VCAT become the decision maker instead of Council. These appeals are typically lodged when permit applicants believe council will ultimately reject their application but are very slow on issuing a formal decision.
  • A planning permit applicant has the ability to appeal any conditions council may have applied to their approved planning permit under section 80 of the Act.  These appeals relate exclusively to the conditions on the approval only. These appeals do not allow the decision of council to approve the permit to be revisited by VCAT.
  • An objector to a development who lodged a submission of opposition with Council during the public advertising period can appeal the decision by Council to approve the application under section 82 of the Act.  

Time Limits for a VCAT appeal?

A permit applicant has 60 days from the date of the formal council decision to lodge an appeal under section 77 or 80 of the Act.

An appeal by a permit applicant under section 79 of the act can be lodged anytime after the council has surpassed 60 days to assess the application and issue a decision. The calculation of the 60 days is not a straight line calculation of days since the application was lodged. There are circumstances where the calculation of days resets to 0 days and council have an additional 60 days to make a decision. Further information about how to calculate the days is provided here.

An objector has 28 days from the date of the formal council decision to lodge an appeal under section 82 of the Act.

What are the steps of an appeal?

For permit applicants the first step of preparing an appeal is to appoint an expert to complete the required and correct VCAT application form and lodge this with VCAT. There are a number of documents that must be provided along with the completed application form including:

  • A dated copy of the formal council decision;
  • A copy of the planning permit application form lodged with the council;
  • A copy of the plans the council decision was based upon;
  • Any reports you lodged with the application to council or provided to council after the application was lodged;
  • The required VCAT application fee.

At CS our experts prepare VCAT appeal applications on a daily basis for the Planning and Environment list so if you are a planning permit applicant considering an appeal do not hesitate to contact us.

VCAT will take approximately 2 – 3 weeks to process your application and register it on their internal system. In that period the case material and application form will be reviewed by a VCAT member who is an expert town planner or has a legal background. This member will then complete an ‘Initiating Order’ which outlines the dates of a hearing and other dates for procedural tasks to be completed before the hearing. Some of the orders will relate to information you must provide to the tribunal in advance of the hearing and some orders will relate to information Council must provide to VCAT prior to the hearing.

What happens at a hearing?

The majority of hearings relating to the planning and environment list at VCAT are held at 55 king street, Melbourne on the date(s) specified in the ‘Initiating Order’ mentioned previously. Appeals involving larger developments in excess of $10 million in construction costs will be heard over multiple days and usually involve more than one VCAT member.  Appeals where construction costs are under $2 million will normally be concluded in one day and before one member. The member(s) is an expert in town planning, law or both disciplines and has the experience to decide whether the council decision was correct. A planning hearing is very similar to a court case where council present their case outlining why they made their decision first, any objectors present their case second and the permit applicant’s representative presents last. The parties can use photos, maps, plans or other material to make their case to the tribunal. Parties won’t interrupt each other when they are making submissions and the member may stop any party at any time to ask questions or clarify a point.  The member can orally tell the parties their decision at the end of the hearing or they can reserve their decision to deliberate for a period of time and weigh up the parties cases. If a member reserves their decision they will very often visit the site before they issue a decision. In the majority of cases a member will reserve their decision at the conclusion of the hearing and the parties receive an email advising the member’s decision and outcome of the hearing within 6 weeks of the hearing. All parties receive the order at the same time via email. The member will also include a report outlining the rationale behind their decision.  

What happens if I win the case?

The VCAT member will issue an order for council to reverse their decision. Council must comply with this order or lodge an appeal of VCAT’s decision to the Supreme Court of Australia on a point of law. Presuming council won’t appeal, they will issue a new decision in line with the VCAT order within 2 – 3 weeks of receiving the order.

What happens if I lose the case?

Permit applicants must begin the planning process again and can prepare new plans for a fresh application to council which will be assessed as a new proposal that is independent from the VCAT decision.

For objectors they can expect the development to be built in line with the plans approved by VCAT at the hearing. 

 

For an overview of the formal process of lodging a VCAT appeal, please click learn more below, or enquire now with our team of specialists now to discuss your needs.

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29 Walter Street, Glen Waverley

In August 2016 Monash Council planning department issued a refusal to the architect for this French provincial dual occupancy design. The area is characterised by single dwellings demonstrating French provincial features, however these single dwellings did not require a planning permit to be built. This development was for two dwellings and triggered the requirement for a planning permit to be approved by Council before a building permit be allowed to issue. Council had six reasons for refusing the application that largely centred on building bulk, neighbourhood character and a lack of landscaping opportunities within the development site. In September 2016 we were engaged to lodge an appeal against councils refusal on behalf of the landowner. One of the key reasons Monash refused the application was due to the introduction of a second driveway for the site for the front dwelling. Councils assessment was that two driveways resulted in excessive concrete within the front setback and would destroy the suburban front garden setting of the site. To address this concern CS worked with the architect to develop a permeable paving design response for the driveway. While this was not the same as a garden it did demonstrate the willingness of the landowner to work with council to balance their competing objectives. In the VCAT hearing we tabled a number of photographs of developments within the street that included large sections of concrete within their front setback. We argued that councils policies about garden settings must be balanced against what can be seen as a person walks along the street. To respond to councils issue about the building bulk we amended the design to fully comply with the requisite rescode standards and we pointed to the absence of any public objections from the neighbours to the development as demonstrative that the building bulk was not excessive. The VCAT member concurred that our changes to the plans made the development a good outcome and in May 2017 ordered that the council’s decision be overturned and a permit issued. Construction commenced on the project in 2018 and it was completed in late 2019. Click here to read the full VCAT decision on this case. 

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Before
29 Walter Street, Glen Waverley29 Walter Street, Glen Waverley
AFTER
29 Walter Street, Glen Waverley29 Walter Street, Glen Waverley
2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East

In March 2017 the planning department of Glen Eira Council issued a refusal to the landowner for the development of a double storey dwelling within the rear yard of an existing dwelling. Council had in principal issues with the design of the roof form of the dwelling and the selection of external finishes. It was Councils contention that the development was too contemporary for this quiet suburban court bowl and Councils traffic engineers also refused to approve the car parking layout on the basis that it would be difficult to manoeuvre a car in and out of the car spaces with multiple corrective movements required. In July 2017 we were engaged by the landowner to lodge an appeal against councils refusal. In preparing for the case we engaged a traffic engineer to perform a ‘swept path analysis to ensure that cars could enter and exit the car parking spaces. With this review we were able to update the architectural plans to address this concern from council’s traffic engineers and they confirmed their issue was resolved before the VCAT case occurred. Our team get proactive to solve issues in designs when we it could compromise the chances of a successful appeal at VCAT. This allows us to resolve a number of issues ahead of the hearing so that by the time the case is heard by VCAT a number of Councils grounds of refusal are resolved and only a few issues remain. This proactive approach means our client’s cases have a much greater chance of success. In our submissions to VCAT in this case we concurred with Councils view that the design was both contemporary and different to the established character. We also pointed out that a number of the houses in the street were more than 100 years old and that as these properties started to be demolished for replacement dwellings a new character was likely to emerge. It was our contention that this development shouldn’t be punished for being the first development to be different in the street and VCAT ultimately agreed with this assessment and in March 2018 issued on order that overturned Councils refusal and directed council to issue a permit for the development.  

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Before
2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East 2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East 2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East 2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East
AFTER
2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East 2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East 2 Marylin Court, Bentleigh East
9 Grace Street, Glen Waverley

In July 2016 Monash City Council issued the landowner a refusal for the development of two French provincial inspired dwellings on the site. Council had a broad range of issues with the design including building mass, neighbourhood character and lack of landscaping opportunities. Councils concerns with the visual bulk of the development was compounded by the fact the site was notably higher than the footpath. Finally, Council had concerns that the existing street tree at the front of the site shown in the images below would be impacted by the installation of a second driveway for the development. It was Councils contention that only one driveway was permissible along the 16 metre site frontage to ensure the retention of the street tree was viable. In September 2016 the landowner instructed CS to prepare an appeal against council’s decision at VCAT. In preparing for the case we engaged an arborist to carry out a ‘non-destructive root investigation’ of the street tree to determine the accurate location of the tree roots. This involves removing some of the soil to expose the tree roots without damaging them. Once photographs are taken of the root locations then the roots are covered with the soil again to protect them. The arborist who carried out the investigation then appeared at the hearing to confirm the location of the proposed new driveway posed no threat to the street tree because no roots were discovered in the area that the driveway was proposed. Combined with this evidence and a dedicated landscape plan that demonstrated a landscaping outcome consistent with other residential properties in the street we were able to successfully overturn Councils decision to refuse the permit and in April 2017 VCAT issued an order that Monash council issue a planning permit for the development to the landowner. Click here to read the VCAT report for the case.

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Before
9 Grace Street, Glen Waverley9 Grace Street, Glen Waverley
AFTER
9 Grace Street, Glen Waverley9 Grace Street, Glen Waverley
39 Packham Crescent, Glen Waverley

In December 2017 Monash City Council issued the landowner a permit for the development of two dwellings on the land. However, Council added conditions to the permit that required the landowner to lodged amended plans with council showing the deletion of a master bedroom and ensuite from one of the dwellings and an increased side setback from a side boundary that would result in the loss of a bedroom. These were exceptionally large compromises for the owner to consider so in early 2018 they instructed us to lodge an appeal against these conditions at VCAT. An appeal against conditions is known as a section 80 appeal at VCAT and it differs greatly from an appeal against a council decision. Firstly the scope of a section 80 appeal is refined wholly to the conditions in question. VCAT are only assessing whether the conditions applied by council should be retained or removed from the permit. Council cannot reverse their decision to issue the permit if an applicant lodges an appeal against conditions. This provides the permit applicant security that the decision to issue the permit cannot be reversed and the appeal is wholly refined to the conditions. Effectively this places the permit applicant in a ‘no lose’ position in a section 80 appeal because even if the appeal is unsuccessful at VCAT, they will still have a planning permit for their development. In this case VCAT concurred with our case that the conditions were completely unreasonable on the permit applicant and there was an absence of any compelling reason provided by council for the change. VCAT ordered that the conditions be deleted from the permit in July 2018 and construction commenced on the project in the same year.

Condition appeals are recommended where council have inserted onerous conditions on a permit that permit applicants feel are unreasonable or burdensome. These types of appeals are heard on the VCAT short cases list and are usually determined on the day by VCAT after they have heard the case.                     

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Before
39 Packham Crescent, Glen Waverley
AFTER
39 Packham Crescent, Glen Waverley39 Packham Crescent, Glen Waverley39 Packham Crescent, Glen Waverley
9 Eden Place, Wallan

In November 2017 our client engaged us to lodge an application with Mitchell Shire Council for a six lot subdivision and development of six houses on the site. The land size was 5000 square metres and the development of six dwellings represented a modest development on such a large site that comfortably met all of the requisite rescode standards that apply to the assessment of such developments. The site was within the General Residential Zone and also affected by a design and development overlay under the planning scheme. This overlay was introduced to the site in 2016 and essentially required that any development of the site be undertaken as a masterplan for a larger geographical precinct identified as the ‘Wallan Township’ in the overlay. The overlay discouraged the ‘ad hoc’ development of sites within the township and council formed the view that our client’s application could not be approved because it represented an incremental threat to the objectives of the overlay being realised and approval of the development would set an unsustainable precedent for council to refuse similar applications on similar sized lots in the future. In presenting the case to VCAT, we pointed to the existing fragmented ownership of the lots within the overlay as a much greater obstacle to the master planned outcome council was seeking ever being realised. We raised a very credible question about the viability of a master plan outcome being possible in an established suburban context. Development plan overlays are traditionally implemented in Greenfield areas that are made up of broadly, acres of farmland with a small number of land owners. The township of Wallan was markedly different and much more akin to a suburban context. We also presented the fact that the development plan overly sought a preferred outcome for the site but that outcome was not the only permissible outcome for the site and that it was incorrect for Council to refuse our clients application on the basis that a masterplan could be developed sometime in the future. VCAT concurred that our interpretation was correct and over tuned councils refusal and a permit was issued for our client in January 2019. During the case hearing VCAT raised questions with council about the merits and rationale of the overlay in an established township context where development is already well established and in fragmented ownership.  

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Before
9 Eden Place, Wallan
AFTER
9 Eden Place, Wallan after_1_8
17 Paris Avenue, Croydon South

This three dwelling application was refused by Maroondah City Council in April 2019. Council refused the application based on four broad issues related to neighbourhood character, removal of vegetation and an inadequate landscaping response within the new development. Our team were engaged after the refusal was issued for the project and lodged a section 77 appeal at VCAT in May 2019. A VCAT hearing was scheduled for November 2019 but the CS team identified modifications that could be made to the plans that could resolve Councils reasons for rejecting the application. In a proactive approach our team contacted council to discuss these changes and negotiate. Following consultation, in September 2019 amended plans were formally circulated to VCAT and council that resolved all the issues Council had raised in their refusal. Council agreed to sign a consent order for the refusal to be overturned and VCAT issued an order for the planning permit to be issued. This saved our client the uncertain outcome of an appeal but also saved them months of time in waiting for the case to be heard at VCAT. This case demonstrated the importance of understanding Councils concerns with a development proposal and also the value of well-developed negotiation skills on planning applications.   

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Before
17 Paris Avenue, Croydon South 17 Paris Avenue, Croydon South
AFTER
17 Paris Avenue, Croydon South 17 Paris Avenue, Croydon South
330 Collins Street, Melbourne

This NAB branch is located at one of the prime retail corners of Melbourne city centre. In July 2020 CS were engaged by project managers Lend Lease to represent the client with Melbourne City Council in an application for a new branch fitout and upgrades including the installation of a number of digital signs and a major promotion sign at ground level that occupied an entire window and an area of 20 square metres. In September 2020 we successfully obtained a planning permit for the project but a condition of Melbourne City approval required the removal of the major promotion sign as Council felt it was excessively large and had concerns it would set a precedent for other business within the city centre. CS lodged a section 80 appeal against council’s condition in September 2020 and sought to have the condition deleted from the permit. In preparing for the case we researched a number of previous VCAT decisions related to major promotion signs within the city centre and we also identified major promotion signs that had been approved and used these as precedent setting outcomes that supported our case. In opening submissions at VCAT we argued that major promotion signs suffer from a prejudicial negative starting point in the planning assessment process. They are generally categorised as negative and an unnecessary feature that should only be supported in a unique set of circumstances. It was our contention that Council had demonstrated this negative bias in the starting point of their assessment of this proposal. We pointed to a previous 2008 VCAT decision in the matter of Kings Funeral Services V Greater Geelong where VCAT concurred that council generally have a negative bias towards major promotion signs and such a position was unfair to applicants because major promotion signs ‘have a place’ in our city . The case was complicated by the approval of a heritage overlay on the building in the intervening time between our appeal being lodged and the case being heard at VCAT in January 2021. Heritage overlays are very stringent controls that often prohibit the installation of major promotion signs and the introduction of this overlay was not helpful to our case and posed another hurdle to approval. To overcome this issue we located the major promotion sign fully within the building and a frame of an existing large window. This meant there was no external modification to the building façade and no elements of the sign would be projecting from the building exterior. In February 2021 VCAT handed down their decision and concurred with our contention that the major promotion sign had been assessed from a negative starting point by council and that NAB’s major promotion sign had been well considered and respectful to the heritage listing of the building. VCAT’s decision resulted in the condition being deleted for our client and the major promotion sign was installed onsite in early 2021.

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Before
330 Collins street, Melbourne VCAT planning appeal 330 Collins street, Melbourne VCAT planning appeal
AFTER
330 Collins street, Melbourne VCAT planning appeal
Capital Avenue

This large French provincial design in Glen Waverley consisting of a basement cellar and four bedrooms per dwelling was refused planning permission By Monash Council but successfully appealed and overturned by CS at VCAT in October 2018. Council’s main issue with the development related to the size of the dwellings being markedly larger to the direct neighbours and the homes in the street. It is common place for council to reject applications consisting of more than one dwelling when the design is for larger style homes. This can be confusing for people when they see a number of ‘knockdown rebuild’ single dwellings in their street for homes that are bigger than what they want to build. The reason these knockdown rebuild homes are allowed to proceed is because you rarely require a planning permit from the local council to construct a single dwelling. Therefore council have no involvement or input into the design process of a single dwelling and that is how so many of them emerge in an area like Glen Waverley. When you are building two houses or more you automatically require a planning permit from the local council and they can force you to compromise on the design and sizes of your homes to get a permit. Council will often justify their requests for smaller homes on the basis that the emerging larger single homes you point to don’t require planning approval therefore you cannot rely on them. This is a flawed approach in assessing applications that is often reversed at VCAT. VCAT tend to have a much broader view of defining the neighbourhood character and do attach significance to an emerging character of a street created by single homes. In this case there was a strong presence of larger homes and even homes of a French provincial design and a Mansard roof. On the basis of this new and emerging context the tribunal ultimately agreed that the character of the neighbourhood was changing and the design was consistent with emerging homes.   

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Before
Capital Ave, Glen Waverley Capital Ave, Glen Waverley
AFTER
Capital Ave, Glen WaverleyCapital Ave, Glen Waverley
Petstock

Petstock have engaged the CS team to run planning applications for a number of their stores in Victoria. This particular site was an existing store that underwent an upgrade in 2013. The upgrade included substantially more signage than was previously on the site and this included installation of an electronic bill board at the front of the site which overhung the footpath. Boroondara Council were supportive of the application however Vicroads objected to the application based on the billboard sign. When a state authority such as Vicroads objects to an application it is a mandatory requirement that Council refuse the application. This is the case even if Council are supportive of the application. As Vicroads objected the Council duly refused the application and the CS team appealed the decision to VCAT in October 2012. The appeal was heard by one VCAT member on the 19th March 2013. Vicroads representative contended that the electronic billboard would distract drivers travelling along Burwood Highway. The applicants case was largely based around the fact that business signage and promotion signage of this nature was common place along this busy retail strip and that the sign presents no more of a distraction hazard in the street than the signs displayed by other business’. VCAT agreed with the applicants case presented by CS and order that the permit be issued in May 2013.

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AFTER
Petstock, Burwood highway
Mingay Close

This was a planning application consisting of ten town houses on a large corner site in Truganina. The application was lodged to Wyndham Council in February 2012. At the time the application was lodged Truganina was still a relatively new suburb, and ‘Mingay Close’ was only formally created in April 2009 and houses constructed in the street around this time. This meant an application to develop ten townhouses was perceived by Wyndham Council as being an overdevelopment of a quiet newly established suburban street. Council were clear that they wanted to see traditional single storey houses on the block on a land area of approximately 350 square metres. Our client identified a clear oversupply of these types of houses in the area and because he wanted to provide something different to the market place a VCAT appeal was lodged against Councils refusal of the application in May 2012. The VCAT hearing occurred on the 15th of January 2013 in front of one VCAT member. Council contented that the application was simply an overdevelopment in this newly established suburb and would be out of keeping with the suburban housing stock. The applicants case agreed with Councils observation that ten townhouses on this site would be different than other sites in the context but that diversity in housing type and character is important for all neighbourhoods. Our clients observation that ‘more of the same’ type of suburban housing would miss an opportunity provided by this large site. The VCAT member ultimately agreed with the applicants view of the development as presented by CS and ordered that Councils decision be reversed and a permit issued for the development in February 2013.       

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AFTER
Mingay Close, TruganinaMingay Close, Truganina
St Helena Road

This site was subject to two VCAT appeals. The first appeal was in March 2013 against Banyule Councils decision to refuse two additional houses on the property. The second appeal was in September 2015 against Councils decision to refuse an extension of time to the permit that was approved by VCAT in March 2013. Council refused the original development application due to the fact that one of the new houses was proposed in front of the existing house and they did not feel the front setback of the new house was appropriate. This argument was unsuccessful at VCAT as the new house was still setback well in excess of the 9 metre prescribed required front setback under rescode. VCAT found in favour of the applicant and ordered that the permit be issued. By mid 2015 the applicant had not started the development and applied to Council for an extension to the date of the permit. Banyule Council refused this application due to the fact the zoning of the site had changed from Residential 1 to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone since the permit was issued. Council stated that because the Neighbourhood Residential Zone had a mandatory two dwelling per site maximum it was not appropriate to extend a permit to allow three houses on the site. An appeal to VCAT was lodged against this decision and a hearing was held in September 2015. After examining aerial photographs during the hearing it became apparent that some large trees had been removed from the site since the permit was issued in March 2013. The removal of these trees was approved as part of the permit meaning the applicant had acted on their permit within the timeframe allowed and did not need an extension to their permit. The VCAT member agreed with the applicant’s case in this instance and issued an order specifying that the permit was still valid despite the change in zoning. 

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AFTER
St Helena Road, GreensboroughSt Helena Road, GreensboroughSt Helena Road, Greensborough
Wallace Avenue

This was an application to use a building in an industrial estate in Wyndham Council for the purposes of an after school children’s art centre. The application was lodged to Council in August 2015 but because the building was in excess of 300 square metres in size Council had concerns about the volume of cars visiting the business to conduct drop off and pick up of children. This concern was compounded when the application was advertised and received more than ten objections from neighbouring business related to car parking demand. The tenancy only had two allotted car parks in front of the building. Council were placing stringent conditions on our client to operate the business and the opening hours so we requested a refusal from Council with a view to getting a better outcome for our client from VCAT. Recognising there was an obvious car parking issue for business in the area CS engaged reputable traffic firm One Mile Grid to conduct traffic surveys for the site and make recommendations to the client regarding workable class times for the facility. In consultation with the client and One Mile Grid CS were able to present staggered class times and acceptable patron numbers to VCAT at a hearing in January 2017. VCAT reversed the decision of Council and ordered that a permit be issued to our client for the business in February 2018.

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AFTER
Wallace Avenue, Point Cook
Glen Park Road

In June 2015 we applied to Nillumbik Council to develop a second house on a large block of land in Eltham. Anyone who knows Nillumbik Council will be aware of their strident position on tree retention within sites as part of development. This was our main concern at the outset of the project as the site was semi-rural in character and surrounded in large native trees. However, our client had a different concern. He was convinced from the outset of the project that his neighbour would take them to VCAT even if Council supported the application. The reason he was convinced was because there was a long history of dispute between them and this planning application was going to present the next battle. The combative saga had been ongoing for a number of years and involved a wide ranging, yet typical neighbourly disputes such as fencing, noise complaints etc. The Council approved the planning application on the 9th October 2015 but as expected an appeal against this approval was lodged to VCAT by the neighbour. The development itself comfortably complied with the regulations as set out in the planning scheme and hence received Council support. Despite this any neighbour can still appeal the decision of Council without the need to provide any compelling evidence to support the grounds of their appeal. The case was heard by VCAT on the 28th April 2016 and the VCAT order upholding the Councils approval was issued on the 24th June 2016. Although a positive outcome, this unnecessary saga cost our client a full nine month delay in the commencement of his project. The development commenced construction in late 2016 and was completed in late 2017 as an owner builder project. Predictably our client wanted to know if there was any avenue to pursue costs associated with the delay and the appeal from his neighbour after the decision was issued by VCAT. The simple answer is no. It would require a very unique set of circumstances for VCAT to award costs against an objector appealing an approval decision by a local Council, despite the clear weakness in their case. The reason for this is because it would be seen as a deterrent to any future objector to a planning decision to appeal if the threat of costs being awarded against them looms. This could be perceived as being unjust towards objectors in the planning process and an advantage for developers.

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AFTER
Glen Park Road, ElthamGlen Park Road, ElthamGlen Park Road, ElthamGlen Park Road, Eltham