Planning scheme amendment VC253 – planning permits not required for small second dwellings

19 December 2023

Amendment VC253 was gazetted on 14 December 2023 to facilitate building a small second dwelling with a gross floor area of 60sqm or less
(click here to view the amendment). Key changes made by the Amendment include:

  1. The introduction of a new land use term for a small second dwelling;
  2. The exemption of a small second dwelling from the need for a planning permit in most residential and rural zones if certain requirements are met; and
  3. The amendment of siting, design and amenity requirements for a small second dwelling.

We set out a brief overview of those changes below.

New land use

The Amendment amends Clause 73.03 to delete the land use term “dependent person’s unit”, and inserts the land use term “small second dwelling”, defined as:

a building with a gross floor area of 60 square metres or less, on the same lot as an existing dwelling and used as a self-contained residence which must include a kitchen sink, food preparation facilities, a bath or shower; and a toilet and wash basin.

Exemptions from requirement for permits

The following Zones have been amended to specify a “small second dwelling” as a section 1 use (nothing that some are subject to conditions, including lot size being above 300sqm):

  • Low Density Residential Zone;
  • Mixed Use Zone;
  • Township Zone;
  • Residential Growth Zone;
  • General Residential Zone;
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone;
  • Rural Living Zone;
  • Farming Zone;
  • Rural Activity Zone; and
  • Urban Growth Zone.

The following Overlays have also been amended to exempt a “small second dwelling” from a planning permit if conditions are met:

  • Heritage Overlay;
  • Design and Development Overlay; and
  • Neighbourhood Character Overlay.

Permit required

A “small second dwelling” is a section 2 (Permit required) use, subject to conditions in the following zones:

  • Green Wedge Zone;
  • Green Wedge A Zone; and
  • Rural Conservation Zone.

Siting and amenity requirements

Changes to site and amenity requirements include:

  • Building setback requirements have been applied for “small second dwellings” in most rural zones; and
  • Small second dwellings have been exempted from car parking requirements.

HWL Ebsworth Lawyers regularly advises and assists permit applicants, Councils and other authorities on permit applications and VCAT applications.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the implications of the Amendment on your potential developments or matters.

This article was written by James Lofting, Partner, Mary Pirozek, Solicitor, and Madeleine Dashiell, Law Graduate.

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