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Home extensions builders finally see a ray of light that will possibly improve, if not end, the compromised, inefficient joke that is the current town planning system left to us by previous governments and ministers.
Striking a balance between efficiency and fairness in urban planning will be a challenge for state governments of whatever political persuasion.
It is precisely this tension – the need for a streamlined system of planning approvals as against the rights of residents to shape their communities – that informs the debate over a dramatic overhaul to Victoria’s planning system scheduled to be introduced in State Parliament by July.
In one of the biggest reforms of the state’s planning laws in a decade, councils and communities will define what development is allowed in their area, including height and density.
Building applications that comply with the guidelines would then be fast-tracked through the planning system.
Crucially, once the system is in place residents will no longer be notified of new development proposals and will not be able to object.
The government envisages this ”code assess” system applying to more than one in five development applications and will require them to be processed within 10 working days.
While councils will initially use the system to develop guidelines for low-level applications – extensions and dual occupancy developments, for instance – the changes are also intended to govern more significant proposals, including high-rise towers in key suburbs targeted for urban growth, such as Box Hill, Frankston, Ringwood and Dandenong.