A planning scheme is a statutory document which sets out how land can be used and developed. It also sets out how land is to be protected and conserved. It includes policies, zones, overlays and other provisions to achieve its objectives.

In accordance with section 6 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 the planning scheme

  • must seek to further the objectives of planning in Victoria within the area covered by the scheme
  • must contain a Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS),
  • may make any provision which relates to the use, development, protection or conservation of any land in the area.

What does a planning scheme contain?

Planning Schemes in Victoria all have the same structure and include

  • maps which show the zones and overlays that affect the land
  • an ordinance with sets outs the written requirements of a scheme
  • incorporated documents

Each municipality has its own planning scheme and the local policies distinguish one planning scheme from another. See a copy of the Yarra Planning Scheme.

What is a planning scheme amendment?

An amendment makes changes to the planning scheme. An amendment may be required to implement a new strategy or plan, to update local policies, to correct a mistake or rezone land, among other things.

What are the steps in a planning scheme amendment?

Diagram showing six steps in the planning scheme amendment process

Where can I get more information?

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has more information about planning on its website.

Where do the Fitzroy and Collingwood Planning Control - Design and Development Overlays (DDOs) fit in with this?

The stage we are currently at is before the Authorisation stage (step 1) in the diagram above. Before the formal planning scheme amendment process begins, we are asking for community feedback on the interim Design and Development Overlays.

We want to know whether you think these proposed controls should become permanent controls?

We will then begin the process of introducing the DDOs into the Yarra Planning Scheme, which will include an opportunity for community members to provide further comments on the proposal.

Planning scheme amendments can be undertaken by the State Government and local councils which are responsible for the operation and development of planning schemes. Individuals, organisations or companies can request a planning scheme amendment. If Council agrees to the request State Government and Council fees and costs apply. These are explained in the Yarra City Council Planning Scheme Amendment fees and costs policy.

These fees and costs are intended to cover the costs of a planning scheme amendment which include public consultation, administrative costs and any third party or expert review. The fees and costs may vary depending on the size and complexity of the amendment. The policy can be found here.

The following are definitions of some of the more common planning terms we use:

Activity Centre: An area that provides a focus for services, employment, housing, transport and social interaction. They include Yarra's retail streets.

Commercial zone: Land that primarily has a commercial purpose, including shops, offices and restaurants.

Design and Development Overlay: A planning tool that is applied to areas such as activity centres like precincts and shopping strips that need specific requirements to guide the built form and design of new development.

Dwelling: A house, townhouse or apartment. It might be a single dwelling on a lot, a row of dwellings, a block of flats or apartments - each individual residence is a dwelling.

Heritage Overlay: A planning tool that is applied to properties which are deemed places of natural or cultural significance. A Heritage Overlay provides guidance about how to undertake works which conserve and enhance the significance of heritage properties, and ensures any works are not detrimental to the significance of heritage properties.

Major Employment Precincts: There are two in Yarra - Cremorne and Church Street, Richmond and Gipps Street, Collingwood. They host a diversity of traditional industrial uses, commercial offices and creative industries.

Mixed use zone: Land that has a mixture of commercial, industrial and residential uses.

Planning Scheme: A core responsibility of local government is to provide a planning scheme that sets out how land can be used, developed, protected or conserved. It includes policies, zones, overlays and other provisions to achieve its objectives.

Residential zone: Land that is predominantly for housing. The residential zone applies to 805 hectares of land in Yarra, accounting for 41% of all land in the municipality.

Strategic Development Sites: Sites that have been identified for redevelopment. They are often in commercial and mixed-use areas and include large, industrial parcels of land, such as the former paper mill in Alphington.

Urban renewal: The term for redeveloping land in cities, which often involves demolishing old structures and replacing them with new houses, facilities and infrastructure.

Zones: The planning scheme zones all land to reflect various land uses. Zones categorise how land is used and there are specific rules relating to each zone.