One of Dorset Council's core activities is to regulate the use and development of the land in its municipal area.
The Planning Approval process regulates 'use' and 'development' of land by assessing proposals against Council's Planning Schemes and the State's planning legislation. It particularly examines the impact of the proposed development or use on the surrounding area.
|1. What legislation regulates planning and development?|
Planning and development in Tasmania is regulated by a series of acts that collectively are known as the Resource Management and Planning System (the RMPS). These acts are:
Once a State Policy is enacted under this legislation, all existing and new planning schemes must become consistent with that Policy (Section 13).
All of these acts share the following common objectives, namely:
Additional pieces of state legislation that may need to be considered when deciding on planning issues are:
'A Guide to the Resource Management and Planning System' can be found on the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) website. This document gives a comprehensive description of the Resource Management and Planning System (RMPS) and the main acts that inform it.
The following Commonwealth legislation may also apply, depending on the nature and location of any proposed development or use:
(The latter two bills received Royal Assent in September 2003.)
The EPBC Act is triggered only when a proposal might impact on issues of national environmental significance. The act defines these as:
The new heritage legislation includes an amendment to the EPBC Act to allow places listed on the National Heritage List also to be assessed under it. The Commonwealth intends to compile this list in 2004. The EPBC website includes information specially targeted at local government and is very informative.
|2. What is a planning scheme and what does it do?|
A planning scheme performs a number of functions within a council's municipal area:
A planning scheme consists of a written document, usually known as the Ordinance and a series of coloured maps with specific land use zones.
Land use zones determine the type of use and development that will be considered. Each zone usually has a set of objectives describing what the purpose of the zone is, what the desired character of it is e.g. residential, industrial or mixed use and a list of permitted and discretionary uses. Each zone also usually has specific requirements listed in terms of:
Various other environmental, engineering and design criteria are also usually listed for each zone. These may be in the form of map overlays, which overlay the zones and/or written controls which add additional controls to those already existing for the zones.
For example, an overlay showing flood prone areas may cover a number of zones and require development within the area covered by the overlay to have a finished floor level higher than the normal, in order to protect against flood damage.
Many councils have more than one planning scheme for their municipal area - a legacy from when there were more than 29 Tasmanian councils.
The Dorset Planning Scheme 1996 is the only planning scheme to operate in Dorset.
Under Section 20 (1) of The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) council planning schemes must:
Dorset Council's Strategic Plan can be downloaded here.
Section 20 (1) states that planning schemes may make any provision which relates to the use, development, protection or conservation of any land in the area.
|3. How is a planning scheme prepared?|
Making a modern planning scheme is a complex process. It involves consideration of many economic, social and environmental issues in an attempt to ensure sustainable development for the relevant municipal area.
In developing a planning scheme the council must ensure it complies with the relevant sections of The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) and State Policies.
A planning scheme must be consistent with the following three State Policies:
The following National Environment Protection Measures (NEPM's) have also been adopted as State Policies. These are the:
As a starting point in developing a new planning scheme a council usually:
A council may conduct this research itself or engage consultants. This stage also usually involves informal consultation with many residents groups, various interest groups and various government agencies.
The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) requirements for developing a Planning Scheme
Sections 22 to 30 of LUPAA set out formal requirements in relation to the steps a council must follow once it decides to prepare a draft planning scheme:
At the end of the public exhibition period, council must respond to any submissions and provide its response to the Commission. The Commission then holds public hearings in relation to the submissions made, decides on the submissions and may:
Once any required modifications are made and the Commission is satisfied that the draft Scheme is in order, section 29 (2) of LUPAA requires the Commission to give approval to the draft Scheme (subject to the approval of the Minister) not later than 6 months after receiving the final report from council in relation to the modifications required.
Council is required to give notice of the Commission's approval and unless otherwise stated, the new Planning Scheme comes into effect 7 days after the date on which the Commission gave its approval.
Simplifying Planning Schemes
Developing a new Planning Scheme takes at least two years and often a lot longer.
To simplify the process, the State Government in association with the Local Government Association of Tasmania have been working on a project known as 'Simplifying Planning Schemes'.
This project has involved developing a 'Common Key Elements Template', setting out the structure and format that a new planning scheme should follow and the number and types of zones it should include.
The Template may become a planning directive under Part 2A, Section 9 of the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA). If the Template becomes a planning directive, a council is bound under Section 14 of LUPAA, to take all necessary steps to comply with it, when preparing a new planning scheme.
|4. Can I have a say in the preparation of a planning scheme?|
When developing or revising a planning scheme, many councils run informal workshops and community consultations to explain the process and to get feedback on what the local community expectations are for the area. These are usually advertised in the local papers and open to the public.
Dorset Council's Planning Scheme was prepared after significant public consultation for the development of the Dorset Sustainable Development Strategy which provided the basis of the new planning scheme.
A formal consulation process is required under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA). Sections 25 to 28 of LUPAA detail that process:
Section 25 of LUPAA requires the planning authority (usually the local council) to put the draft planning scheme on public exhibition for a period of two months and advertise this fact. During that two month period, any person can make a representation to the council on the draft scheme.
At the end of that period, all representations must be sent to the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC, otherwise known as the Commission) along with a report from the council detailing:
Under Section 27 of LUPAA, once the Commission has received the planning authority's report, it must consider the report and organise a public hearing to allow each person who had made a representation to speak at the hearing, if they so desire.
Following the hearings and after consideration of the submissions, the Commission may, under Section 28 of LUPAA modify or reject the draft planning scheme or require the council to modify, or redraft part of it.
If part of the draft scheme needs to be redrafted, the council is required to resubmit that section to the Commission, within a set period. It then has to go through the same certification, notification, hearing and decision process.
|5. Can changes be made to a planning scheme?|
Yes. Under Section 33 of The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) any person can ask the planning authority (local council) to amend its planning scheme.
Usually the request involves either a 'rezoning' or change of zoning to a piece of land, or a change to some of the rules in part of the written document.
The council can also start the amendment process itself.
Amendments to the scheme help keep it up to date and also allow flexibility in terms of adapting to any new council strategies or directions.
If you are seeking a scheme amendment in order to facilitate an application for a planning permit that currently is prohibited under the planning scheme, under Section 43A of LUPAA, you can apply for both at the same time.
|6. How do I request a Scheme Amendment?|
You need to make a written request to council. There is a set form to fill in, but you will need to provide information on:
You will also need to show that the objectives of the planning scheme, The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA) and any relevant State Policies are being met.
Before you submit your request to Council it is wise to speak to Council's planning officers to discuss your proposed amendment and get information on what details you should put with it.
Contact Dorset Council's Planning Officer on (03) 6252 6500. How long does a Scheme Amendment take?
Generally about 6 months, depending on whether a hearing of representations is required.
|7. What does the scheme amendment process involve?|
The process for initiating and assessing a scheme amendment is detailed in Division 2, Sections 31 to 43 of The Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (LUPAA).
Once council receives a request it has 42 days to decide if it will initiate the requested amendment. This decision is usually made by council or its planning sub-committee, following receipt of a report and recommendation from council's planning officers.
Once council makes its decision it has 7 days to inform the applicant. If it decides not to go ahead with the requested amendment, the applicant, can ask the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC, otherwise known as 'the Commission') to review the process by which the council reached its decision. This must be done within 14 days of being informed of council's decision.
Under Section 33(3D) of LUPAA, the Commission has the power to direct the council to reconsider the amendment or confirm council's decision.
If council decides to go ahead with the proposed amendment it has seven days within which it must send to the Commission, a copy of its decision, indicating how it intends to amend the scheme.
A council can also initiate a scheme amendment itself, or, under Section 34(2) of LUPAA, the Commission, with the approval of the Minister can direct it to initiate an amendment. If this happens, it has 10 weeks to prepare and submit the draft amendment to the Commission (unless the Commission allows a longer period).
Minor scheme amendments
Where the Commission is satisfied that the draft amendment relates to minor corrections and issues defined under Section 37 of LUPAA, it can write to the council approving the amendments.
Major scheme amendments
With major scheme amendments, under Section 38 of LUPAA, the council must:
Having considered the proposed amendment and any representations made, the Commission may:
If council is directed to change the proposed amendment, it must do so and resubmit the altered amendment to the Commission within 28 days of receiving the Commission's direction, unless a longer time is granted.
If the changes to the proposed amendment are substantial, under Section 41B(1) of LUPAA, the Commission must direct the council to readvertise the amendment and the modifications to it, giving people the opportunity, as before, to make representations.
Having received all information and representations, the Commission has 3 months to make a decision (unless the Minister approves a longer time) and notify council.
Council then advertises the Commission's approval of the Scheme amendment and the date on which it takes effect.
|8. How much does it cost to request a Scheme amendment?|
Planning Scheme Amendments
Application fee for:
Processing fee after Council Approval to proceed
Fees as charged by the Resource Planning and Development Commission Plus advertising fees
Advertising Fee (if required)
Fees charged by the Resource Planning and Developemnt Commission
At Cost per Regulations
In addition to councils charge, the Resource Planning and Development Commission charges a fee per amendment.