Planning definitions and terms

Here are some common terms that you're likely to come across during the Darebin planning process.

Here are some common terms that you're likely to come across during the planning process. For a full list of planning terms, see the Victorian Planning Authority glossary.

Car parking demand assessment

A written statement assessing the likely car parking demand for:

  • proposed developments
  • new use
  • increases in floor or site area of existing use

Certificate of Title

A document containing the legal details about a parcel of land including:

  • its owner
  • its size
  • any restrictions like known easements, covenants or Section 173 Agreements.

You should provide a Certificate of Title which is less than three months old when you apply for a planning permit. You can get a copy of your title from the Landata website.

Compulsory conferences

An informal meeting between parties after an application is appealed to VCAT. It gives Council and those involved in the VCAT process a chance to reach agreement without going to a hearing.

Condition 1 plans

A request to make further changes to your development after you get a planning permit. Once you satisfy the Condition 1 plans, we'll stamp them and you can start what you want to do.

Demolition plan

A plan showing any part of a building or structure that will be demolished. You need a demolition plan if you're changing a building or structure that is included in a heritage overlay or neighbourhood character area.

Design response

A plan or photos showing how a proposed development impacts adjacent buildings. It must explain how your proposal fits into the existing neighbourhood character or responds to a preferred character statement.

Development summary

A table or written summary of existing and proposed conditions including the:

  • site area
  • floor area
  • number of dwellings
  • number of car spaces
  • area of private/total open space
  • building site coverage
  • percentage of invulnerable surfaces
  • percentage of garden area.


A scaled plan that shows what a building or structure looks look directly from the front side or rear.

Floor plan

A scaled plan that shows the layout of each level from above, and how far away they are from each site boundary.

Darebin Planning Scheme

The rule book for any planning application in Darebin. It sets out when you need a planning permit to use, develop, or subdivide a parcel of land. It also sets out what can and can't be considered.


A block of land with two or more dwellings including houses, townhouses, units and apartments. It also includes mixed-use developments which may have dwellings among shops, cafes and offices.

Neighbourhood and site description

A plan or photos describing the condition of the site and the surrounding neighbourhood.


A map in a planning scheme showing the location of special features, such as flood-prone land, special heritage characteristics, and land management requirements. Overlays also list the requirements for new development designs and define if you need a planning permit.

Planning report

A report describing how your proposal responds to relevant policies such as:

  • planning policy framework
  • planning scheme provisions such as zones and overlays
  • Clause 54, 55 or 58 of the Darebin Planning Scheme
  • particular provisions including the residential and subdivision development standards of Darebin Planning Scheme.

Practice day hearing

The hearing that makes the decision when an application is appealed to VTAC. It also deals with procedural issues raised at a compulsory conference or a merits hearing.

Referral authority

A body or government department that sometimes needs to advise on planning applications. For example:

  • Melbourne Water for sites affected by a Special Building Overlay (flood overlay)
  • VicRoads for sites adjoining a road in a Road Zone Category 1
  • Transport for Victoria for large developments
  • Water, gas and electricity authorities for subdivision applications

Section 173 Agreement

An agreement between a land owner and a council (responsible authority), which usually sets conditions or restrictions for land use or development. Section 173 Agreements are registered on the Certificate of Title.

Shadow diagrams

A plan showing where shadows will fall at specific times of the day. Shadow diagrams:

  • must be on a separate plan for the hours of 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm at 22 September (equinox)
  • must include shadows cast (we'll need them for all hours between 9am and 3pm if you're next door to a house with a small yard)
  • may clearly differentiate between existing shadows and proposed shadows of all surrounding structures, not just those on the site.

Shared or joint use

When councils, schools and community service organisations work together to plan, build and sometimes jointly manage a facility used by multiple service providers. For example, using a school for a wider community function.

Strategic planning

The formulation of policies or strategies relating to land uses or areas. It also involves monitoring and evaluating land use and development provisions.

Single dwelling

A block of land with one dwelling, such as a single or double-storey house on one parcel of land.

Victorian Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

A VCAT is a state government tribunal that independently reviews council planning decisions (among other things). VCAT can review most types of planning applications after council has made a decision.

For more information, visit the VCAT website.


The part of a planning scheme that designates land for particular uses, such as residential or business. Zones have their own set of requirements and can identify if a planning permit is required.