Step 2 - Planning Application Requirements


The following information identifies the planning application requirements for houses within the bushfire affected areas of Wye River and Separation Creek.  Additional information may be required in some circumstances, depending on the nature of the application and the site.  

Alternatively download the fact sheet How to Lodge Planning Application(PDF, 424KB) for the bushfire affected area.

Electronic submission of application documents is encouraged.  

Pre-application meetings 

After reading the information available here, you are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with Council officers specialised in planning, building and health for preliminary discussions before lodging a planning application. This will enable you to discuss the merits of the proposal, as well as obtaining advice about the information you are required to submit with your application and discuss any potential issues or areas of concern that will need to be taken into consideration when preparing the application. 

Please contact the Planning team on 03 5232 9400 to organise a pre-application meeting.

Covering letter

Submit a covering letter with your application briefly describing the contents of your application, details of any pre-application discussions and a written response to the relevant parts of the Colac Otway Planning Scheme, including the decision guidelines in the Incorporated document (planning controls).

Completed application form

A completed application form(PDF, 943KB) must accompany every application.

For help in filling out the application form, please refer to this guide(PDF, 424KB) prepared by the State government.

Certificate of Title

The Certificate of Title provided must be current and recent (no older than 60 days) and must include title page/s indicating the current owners, the lot plan/s and a full copy of any Covenants, Section 173 Agreements and/or Restrictions registered on the title. 

Follow this link to purchase a Certificate of Title online from the Landata website

Application Fee

Planning application fees are required to be paid prior to processing your application for assessment.  If an application is submitted without payment, Council will contact you to advise of the applicable fee and arrange payment with you.

Planning Application Fee Schedule(PDF, 73KB)

Site Survey

As part of your planning permit process to rebuild a house lost in the fires you will be required to re-establish your property boundary and undertake site specific surveys as part of your building and engineering work.  The site survey needs to show levels and contours, site features, location of structures, access and vegetation on the subject site as well as features close to the boundary on adjoining land and within the road reserve.  

 A licensed land surveyor can assist you with undertaking a site survey. 

Neighbourhood & Site Description

A neighbourhood and site description must accurately describe the existing characteristics (features and constraints) of the neighbourhood and the site. It may use a plan, photographs and other techniques. The neighbourhood and site description plan should include a minimum of two properties on either side of the subject site, those properties at the rear and those on the opposite side of the street. A greater extent of the neighbourhood may need to be shown depending on the scale of the proposal. This should be clarified with a Planning Officer at your pre-application meeting.

Site analysis is more than just collecting information about the site. The site analysis should identify issues that will influence the design of a development in order to make a considered response to both site opportunities and constraints, to provide a good quality living environment, and respect, acknowledge and improve the character of the area.

Be sure to to talk to your neighbours before finalising your plans. If they are unhappy with an aspect of your proposal, you may be able to reach a compromise before lodging your application. There is a particular opportunity given many adjoining land owners may be seeking to rebuild, to ensure that building designs are considerate of each other – this will only be effective if people talk to one another and seek to cooperate on issues such as sharing of views, screening of windows and access to sites from the road.

Design response

The design response is generally presented as a plan with notations and supported by a written submission. The design response must include correctly proportioned street elevations or photographs showing the development in the context of adjacent buildings and the landscape.

Your neighbourhood and site description should be used as the basis for designing the proposed development. Your design response should explain how the development will relate to the characteristics (features and constraints) of the site and the neighbourhood.  

Neighbourhood Character 
A (PDF, 457KB)Neighbourhood Character Study(PDF, 457KB) was completed in 2005 for the coastal settlements of Skenes Creek, Kennett River, Wye River and Separation Creek by Planisphere. Neighbourhood character relates to the features of the towns which the community value such as the tree canopy, informal boundary fencing, small building footprints, setbacks from boundaries and modest building scale. As a result of the study the Neighbourhood Character Overlay Schedule 1 (NCO1) and the Design and Development Overlay were introduced into the planning scheme covering land within the Township Zone of the four coastal settlements. These controls aim to ensure future development enhances those things the community values.

The overlay includes modifications to some of the standards in Clause 54 (One Dwelling on a Lot) of the planning scheme, with regard to the following issues:

  • Street setback
  • Building height
  • Site coverage
  • Side and rear setbacks
  • Walls on boundaries
  • Design detail
  • Front fence height
  • Landscaping
The Neighbourhood Character Study includes a Precinct Brochure for each of the coastal towns that should be referred to when preparing an application for a site within this area:

Neighbourhood Character Study Wye River Precinct 1(PDF, 496KB)

Neighbourhood Character Study Wye River Precinct 2(PDF, 499KB)

Neighbourhood Character Study Separation Creek Precinct(PDF, 498KB)

Applications should take into account the contents of theses brochures and provide a written response to demonstrate how the application accords with these provisions. A response to all relevant aspects of Clause 54 and the variations in the Neighbourhood Character Overlay is required.

Many older buildings pre-date the current planning standards, and exceed the standards which apply to aspects of development such as the footprint (or site coverage) of buildings and hard surfaces, building height or setbacks. Council will encourage people to meet the current standards where possible, but will recognise the siting, scale and design of buildings that were destroyed when considering new applications. Council will attempt to facilitate the rebuilding of a similar home where possible (e.g. size, setbacks, location on site), subject to meeting modern standards concerning design, bushfire, waste water treatment and geotechnical issues (e.g. building footings, external materials, etc.). Each application will be considered on its individual merits.

If land owners seek to build a larger dwelling than they had before, the onus will be on them to demonstrate that it is meeting the current standards for development. 

Geotechnical Assessment

The risk of landslip has been identified as a significant environmental hazard for the southern parts of the shire. Consequently, the Erosion Management Overlay Schedule 1 (EMO1) has been applied to ensure consideration of this issue at planning stage. The Incorporated document for the bushfire affected areas retains the core requirements of this overlay in the new provisions.  

Applications must also include a Geotechnical and Landslide Risk Assessment prepared by a suitably qualified geotechnical practitioner, specific to the proposed building design. For further information regarding erosion and geotechnical information, please refer to the Geotechnical Assessment fact sheet(PDF, 583KB).

A completed Geotechnical Declaration and Verification Form (Form A)(PDF, 140KB) must be included with the Geotechnical Assessment.

Bushfire Management Response 

The Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies to all land within the coastal settlements and requires consideration of issues such as siting, water supply, access, buildings and works, and vegetation. The new planning controls (Incorporated document) remove the BMO control for bushfire affected properties, but retains the need to respond to bushfire risk through the application process.  

In order to appropriately consider the Bushfire risk, an application must include:

  • Description of how the building siting and design responds to the Bushfire Attack Level applicable to the property, including proposed bushfire mitigation measures

  • location of a static water supply for firefighting and property protection purposes in accordance with Table 4 to Clause 52.47-3 of the planning scheme (may be in the same tank as other water supplies provided that a separate outlet is reserved for firefighting water supplied). The specific requirements are included HERE.

  • the provision of defendable space to the property boundary or distance specified in Table 1 to Clause 52.47-3 of the planning scheme based on the applicable bushfire attack level specified in Clause 4.10 of this incorporated document, whichever is the lesser

  • if proposed, the location of a private bushfire shelter (a Class 10c building within the meaning of the Building Regulations 2006).

Please also refer to the following links for further information:

Bushfire Attack Level fact sheet(PDF, 558KB)

Building in multiple Bushfire Attack Levels in Wye River and Separation Creek(PDF, 363KB)

A Guide to Building After Bushfire

Building Appeals Board applications for private bushfire shelter siting variations(PDF, 308KB)

Land Capability Assessment
A Land Capability assessment and Waste Water Management Strategy have been prepared for the settlements of Wye River and Separation Creek. These background documents will assist landowners and architects to understand the design constraints associated with the sites. This will also inform individual property owners and their architects as to what additional property-specific investigations are needed to rebuild a particular house design.

All applications will need to be accompanied by a Land Capability Assessment (LCA) prepared by a suitably qualified person that responds to the specific design proposed for a site, and which builds on the technical assessments provided by the State Government (Coffey reports). The One Stop Shop team can provide specific advice about the information these assessments need to include.

For further information:

Land Capability Assessment and Wastewater Management Fact Sheet(PDF, 444KB)

Land Capability Assessment Information Checklist(PDF, 643KB)

Wastewater page on Council's website  

Development plans 

If submitting the application in hard copy, please provide three copies of plans drawn to scale (1:100 or 1:200) and fully dimensioned, one full set of which must be at A3 size.  

Plans must show at a minimum:

  • the site and floor layout including layout of development and access from road, site contours, building setbacks, driveways and hard surface areas

  • elevations, clearly showing building height above natural ground level and floor/roof levels that relate to the site contours

  • details of proposed external building materials and colours

  • clear links between the site context plan, the design response and the development proposal

  • details of how the development will meet the Bushfire Attack Level