Priority development

We have a Priority Development Program for planning applications that deliver community benefit, employment and critical infrastructure.

Priority Development Program

The Priority Development Program offers an accelerated assessment process for selected planning applications. To qualify under the program, an application must contribute to objectives contained within the Council Plan.

What is the Priority Development Program?

The Priority Development Program is an accelerated planning assessment process which applies to selected planning applications that provide community benefit, employment and critical infrastructure.

The Priority Development Program is designed to deliver:

  • Prioritised case management
  • Clear advice upfront
  • A coordinated approach
  • Consistent communication throughout the process
  • Timely decision making

What applications can be considered under the program?

The following applications are included in the Program:

Community benefit

  • Minimum 50% social and affordable housing
  • Accessible housing
  • Childcare centres
  • Schools and education centres
  • Community meeting spaces
  • Not for profit businesses
  • Projects led by an Aboriginal organisation
  • Uses which contribute to equity such as employment for those living with a disability

Employment

  • Change of use to a new businesses
  • A use that provides local business incubation
  • A use that supports workforce training and education facilities

Critical infrastructure

  • Emergency facilities - police, fire, ambulance
  • Medical facilities such as hospitals
  • Transport and drainage infrastructure
  • Recreation facilities

If it becomes clear that an application does not meet the requirements above, it will be removed from the Program and assessed under business as usual processes.

Contact Council’s Priority Development Planner on 03 8470 8512 or via email townplan@darebin.vic.gov.au to discuss whether your project falls into an applicable category, meets the relevant criteria and can be considered under the Program.

Are there any other requirements?

The following is required either prior to or at the time of formal lodgement:

Requirement Description
Pre-application meeting
To qualify under the Program, a pre-application meeting must be held with Council prior to formal lodgement
Statutory referrals (external)
A copy of any relevant referral authority responses must be provided at the time of lodgement
Cultural heritage
A Cultural Heritage Management Plan must be prepared (and approved) at the time of lodgement (if required)
Information and delegation
The application must contain all the information which has been confirmed at the pre-application meeting. Applications may be determined under delegation or by Council’s Planning Committee

What is the Priority Development assessment process?

The Priority Development Program includes a mandatory pre-application meeting. A pre-application meeting relating to a new business will be run through Council's existing Better Approvals Program.

Applicants are also required to provide external referral advice at the time of lodgement (similar to a VicSmart application).

Other obligations placed upon the permit applicant include a thorough high-quality submission and a willingness to respond to issues raised at the pre-application meeting and during the formal application stage, including responding to requests for further information within 30 days.

Inclusion of an application within the Program does not predetermine the assessment outcome. All applications are assessed in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987, the Darebin Planning Scheme and other relevant policies and legislation.

What is the timeframe to attaining a decision?

The Priority Development Program is designed to accelerate selected planning applications through the planning system.

We are committed to a maximum timeframe of 10 weeks from the date of lodgement of a Priority Development application to a decision. A decision includes a Notice of Decision or a Planning Permit, depending on whether objection(s) are received.

To achieve the timeframe an application must be a thorough and high-quality submission.

Applicants must be willing to respond to issues raised at the pre-application meeting and during the formal application stage, including responding to requests for further information within 30 days.

The decision timeframe does not include any additional time associated with the reporting of an application to the Planning Committee.

The decision timeframe does not include any additional time associated with an appeal lodged with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

What applications are not included in the program?

  • Applications involving existing and proposed licensed premises or electronic gaming machines.
  • Sites which are burdened by a covenant or restriction on title that would prevent Council from issuing a decision.

Are large scale projects included in the program?

Large scale applications are included in the program. These applications will be subject to timeframes which reflect the complexity of the proposal and the issues to be resolved.

What are my options to fast track my application if I don’t qualify under the Priority Development Program?

Applications which do not qualify under the program will be assessed under business as usual processes.

The other fast track option is VicSmart, which applies to smaller planning applications and offers a 10-day timeframe to a decision. Find out more about VicSmart's application guide.

Will Priority Development applications be subject to requests for further information?

Applications which are deficient in information, lack detail or clarity in the submission or raise issues of compliance against relevant standards and policy will be subject to the usual process of requesting further information, in accordance with Section 54 of the Planning Environment Act (1987).

Applicant’s will be asked to respond to requests for further information within 30 days.

Will Priority Development applications be subject to notice and review requirements?

A Priority Development application will be subject to the usual notice and review requirements as set out under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

What information is required as part of the application submission?

Application Checklist

  1. Application form
  2. A full and recent (less than 3 months old) copy of title for the land showing the plan of subdivision and including a copy of any restrictive covenants and / or agreements under Section 173 that apply to the land. This information can be obtained from the Landata website
  3. Application fee
  4. Plans and supporting documentation
  5. The pre-application advice and a written response to the issues raised
  6. Statutory referral advice (if required by under the Darebin Planning Scheme)
  7. Confirmation of flood risk and required floor levels (required for sites located in the Special Building Overlay, Land Subject to Inundation Overlay and other sites subject to the latest flood level information). Contact Council’s Water Sensitive Urban Design Engineer on 8470 8888 or via email engineering@darebin.vic.gov.au to attain up to date flood level information.
  8. A written statement outlining the following:
    • How the proposal satisfies the criteria of the Priority Development Program
    • How the proposal meets the vision and objectives of the Council Plan and provides a net community benefit.
  9. A written submission detailing how the proposal responds to the provisions of the relevant zone, overlays, particular provisions and State and Local Planning Policies (as appropriate).
  10. For applications which require a reduction in car parking, please include a Car Parking Demand Assessment that addresses car parking, loading / unloading, waste collection and swept path diagrams as necessary.
  11. Technical reports as relevant (Rescode, clause 58, arboriculture, ESD, WSUD, heritage, CHMP, waste management, disability access etc).

Will resources be taken away from other planning applications or assessment processes to service this program?

The Priority Development Program will utilise existing Council resources.

The program will have no impact on the planning assessment processes of the Statutory Planning Unit.

Will Sustainability and Urban Design and other applications be added to the Priority Development Program in the future?

The program is currently limited to a relatively small number of planning application types. The program will be reviewed in the future, including a possible expansion of the program.