Understanding the Planning Stage

--- Ross Voci

--- Ross Voci

Obtaining the appropriate approvals is critical and delays in getting them are one of the most frustrating aspects of development. You may find special reports by consultants are required which could mean an increase in infrastructure charges. Good due diligence, consultants who know their work and regulations, along with caution in making sure contracts and details are in order will help avoid delays.

Now, let’s take this evaluation and apply it. Many people think that because the people next door have subdivided and built a new dwelling that their property will increase in value because of the precedent that has been set. While there can be some truth to this, in most cases it is wrong. Let me explain why.

Firstly, the property next door went through a stringent planning process in order to obtain permission for the new subdivision and dwellings. It went through an assessment, a series of checks, applications, amendments, objections and consultations before there was approval given to subdivide the property and build another dwelling.

It is this whole process; along with the positive outcome that adds value to your project. The ‘potential’ doesn’t add value to properties surrounding it.

There may be factors that prevent YOUR property from obtaining the necessary permits to achieve the same outcome. What are these factors? To name a few;

Zonings; we have seen many cases where a property on one side of the street is zoned differently to one on the other side which may prohibit or discourage the development of a new dwelling.

Design and development overlays that restrict height or size of a proposed development and in some cases the subdivision of the land itself.

Easements: some properties have easements which can affect whether the land can be developed or not or they can inhibit dwelling size and driveways, and only allow for carports instead of garages.

State governments and local councils. Many times inexperienced property developers who have purchased property based on the ‘one next door’ method of assessment have approached us.

The ‘one next door’ may have had up to 3 or 4 dwellings constructed on it so you think you should be permitted to do the same, you go ahead, then you discover the property next door was granted a permit prior to changes to council or state government rules and now only 2 or fewer dwellings are now permitted. In some cases consultants have been engaged to prepare an application for submission to Council, only to discover that the property does not meet the new requirements!

Other factors that may come into play when trying to obtain a permit are:

  • The objections of neighbours
  • Residential code requirements, such as over-looking and shadowing of neighbours properties
  • Private open space
  • Space for turning circles in drive ways
  • Underground authority assets
  • Neighbourhood street scapes
  • State and local Council objections

The certainty in having a permit in place will add value to your property if you are going to sell land as a development site, as the purchaser knows what they’re buying and the uncertainty or risks in permits have been eliminated. The certainty of a property permit comes in two forms and the stronger the permit, the more money you stand to make. These two forms of permits are, a town planning permit and a subdivision permit. The town planning permit or TPP is also known as a DA or development approval.

By going through the process of obtaining a town-planning permit you eliminate some of the biggest questions of all:

  • What can I achieve?
  • How will it look?
  • How big can it be?
  • Can I subdivide?
  • How many dwellings will I obtain?

A subdivision permit or SA, also known as a subdivision approval, usually follows the town-planning permit in number of lots through to the same number of dwellings allowed under the town-planning permit. In cases where the land is for subdivision only, then an SA is all you need to continue to facilitate the development. Not that most localities require a town planning permit prior to granting a subdivision permit if it is going to be subdivided into lots smaller than 500 m2.