Shaping the future of the Shire
What is a planning scheme?
The Mansfield Planning Scheme is a statutory document that controls the use and development of land in the Shire. It also sets the vision and direction for the Shire for future settlement and housing, environment, heritage, economic development and transport and infrastructure. This is known as the Municipal Strategic Statement.
What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is the “arm” of town planning that seeks to provide direction for the sustainable growth of the Shire. The Strategic Planning Unit endeavours to keep abreast of land use and development issues across the Shire and find solutions and directions to address them. This usually involves revising and updating the Mansfield Planning Scheme through planning scheme amendments. These amendments may reflect local issues through planning policies and controls or keep up-to-date with State Government planning issues.
How can the planning scheme be changed?
Usually it is Council that affects a change to the planning scheme; however, this can be done by a third party who can initiate a planning scheme amendment.
Council initiated amendment
If Council initiates the amendment it is usually in response to a specific issue. An investigative study must be undertaken to provide the background and justification as to why a change or addition to the planning scheme is sought. The study may propose new or revised planning policies and controls. For example, the Flood amendment identified areas of flooding throughout the Shire and placed new mapping and controls over development within these areas. If the changes are supported by Council and the Minister for Planning, they are placed on exhibition and all affected owners and occupants are notified of the amendment.
During the exhibition period anyone can make a submission to the amendment in support or not in support of all or some of the amendment. Council officers engage with submitters to resolve issues where possible but if the submissions are not withdrawn and there are still outstanding issues with an amendment, the Council must make a decision as to whether to progress the amendment or abandon it. If Council decides to progress the amendment it must request the Minister for Planning to appoint an independent Planning Panel comprised of experts in planning and other disciplines as required.
A Panel is convened to hear from submitters to the amendment. Any submitter may present to the Planning Panel Hearing. The Panel makes recommendations back to the Council on the merits of the amendment and any changes that would be appropriate. Council can then consider how to proceed with the amendment and any changes it may wish to make. If the Council decides to further progress the amendment with or without changes it must adopt the amendment and send it to the Minister for Planning to approve. The Minister may approve the amendment with the changes or make further changes to the content. The Minister can also decide to refuse approval of an amendment. If the Minister approves the amendment they must give notice in the Government Gazette and with its publication the change then officially comes into the planning scheme.
Third party amendments
A third party may initiate a planning scheme amendment. Sound strategic justification would need to be provided in a background report and need the support of Council to progress further. Third party amendments can be costly if there are opposers to the amendment and all costs are borne by the applicant, not by Council. You should discuss third party amendment proposals first with Council’s Strategic Planner before lodging an application.