Planning review focuses on reducing permit requirements

Published on 07 February 2020

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Planning review focuses on reducing permit requirements

Colac Otway Shire Council is reviewing existing planning requirements in areas of Colac with Heritage Overlays to identify how it can make it easier for businesses and property owners to make changes and improvements.

Council’s Development and Community Services General Manager Ian Seuren said Council was aware of challenges that local businesses had faced with obtaining permits in the parts of Colac with heritage controls.

“Council’s focus is on looking at what changes need to be made to cut red tape across our planning processes to make it easier for people to build, develop and do business in Colac Otway Shire.

“There are currently heritage overlay controls in place which were introduced following the 2003 Colac Otway Heritage Study.

“These blanket controls, for example, cover the commercial area of Murray Street and the residential area from the CBD to Lake Colac and trigger planning permits requirements.

“Heritage controls are extremely important in protecting our heritage buildings and the character of our streets.

“However Council is reviewing the planning scheme in relation to controls introduced as recommendations of the heritage study to see where we can remove permit requirements to make it easier for businesses and building owners.

“We know that one of the biggest frustrations for businesses has been with the installation of new signage.

“The review is looking at how Council can make it easier for these businesses, for example if the new sign was consistent with heritage requirements there could be an exemption from requiring a planning permit.

“The review is being finalised and officers will prepare a report for Council.

“For changes which would ease the permit requirements, a recommendation would then go to a Council meeting for the amendment to go on exhibition,” Mr Seuren said.

“The heritage overlay review is among the significant steps Colac Otway is taking to streamline our planning process.”