4 Tips to Obtaining Development Approval from Council

4 Tips to Obtaining Development Approval from Council


October 2017
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4 Tips to Obtaining Development Approval from Council

Much like funding, getting approval from your local council requires a lot of due diligence and thought. Researching the local building laws and identifying which planning permit you should be applying for is hard enough. And that’s before you even get to the actual application process. 

Over the years, we’ve heard plenty of stories about planning rejections, VCAT dispute cases and the like. We’ve also been privy to a lot of expert advice, such as our recent chat with Hugh McKenzie of urban planning professionals ProUrban

With valuable insights, we thought we’d share some key tips we’ve learnt when it comes to council regulations and planning approval, so here are 4 tips to help your application go through smoothly, no matter which council or type of development it is. 

1. Get the right team from the beginning

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of surrounding yourself with the best team you can assemble, an Avengers style super squad of experienced architects, builders, planners, project managers etc., who know how every step in the property development process works. 

The developers who seem to achieve the best outcomes don’t skimp on the up-front costs. They build a really solid team to ensure the plans are right, and reap the rewards once they’re approved. 

2. Include as much ‘clear’ detail as possible

It pays to bring the sales process forward in your development proposal, because councils will appreciate you having salesy elements like extensive pictures, renders and designs to help with their deliberations. 

It’s a simple mindset. Which proposal would you prefer: one with a vague, badly articulated plan and no images or one that is fully-fledged and full of glossy, apartment suite level renders that the council team can envisage themselves living or working or spending time in. In essence, you’re pitching to council in much the same way as you’ll be pitching to prospective buyers further down the road. 

However, the plan should also never forsake clarity. It’s amazing how many development applications get rejected simply because they are deemed illegible or unreadable or contain confusing stats or plans. Again, getting these aspects right relies on picking the right team. 

3. Understand the concerns of detractors

Effective developments should aid the community and the client but this isn’t always the case, or perceived as such, so if the development is likely to cause conflict in the area, be proactive. 

Get out there and listen to the concerns of the locals. Then, once you’ve understood the key points, seek to address them. By including the main detractions in your application, you’re showing that you’re willing to work with the community, which will stand you in good stead. 

Engaging locals and finding real solutions to their problems is a sure-fire way to ingratiate yourself to council and the community at large.

4. Stay on top of government changes

Planning controls are constantly being changed by government. One such change in recent times has been the neighbourhood residential zoning reforms, which has brought about many outcomes to housing densities and limitations on building height and design capabilities in order to retain the character of the neighbourhood. 

For example, one recent reform called for mandatory garden area requirements of between 25-35% of the individual residential sites, which subsequently caused a few development proposals to get rejected. 

Because these changes are frequent, keeping up-to-date with what government has in store for the areas you operate in is crucial. 

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Applying these tips to your property development applications will help expedite the process and ensure smooth resolution for you to obtain your planning permits. For more information on council regulations, government changes or development applications, contact Development Ready or check our blog for regular updates.

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