Shouldn't a development comply with the requirements?

Proposed developments within the City are assessed under the City of Vincent Town Planning Scheme, relevant planning policies or the Residential Design Codes which: 

- aims to control and guide development and  growth in a responsible manner and 

- accommodate and respond to change.

Whilst the Town Planning Scheme and relevant planning policies aim to respond to best practice planning principles, they cannot cater for all development scenarios. For this reason they have been developed with a focus on what they are trying to achieve rather than on how to achieve it. This is more clearly explained in the next section. This approach, which is called a performance based approach, may require the City to exercise some discretion. Where discretion is required the application will be advertised, generally for a minimum of 14 days, in accordance with Policy No. 4.1.5 relating to Community Consultation.

Following the period of consultation, the City‟s Officers will consider the merits of the application to ensure that the proposal is appropriate and will not have an undue impact on the amenity of the area. All comments or submissions received by the City will be considered when determining any development application/proposal, in the context of the City‟s legal responsibilities, the interests of the affected community and the reasonable expectations and rights of the applicant.


How can the Council approve a non-complying application?

A planning application for residential development is generally assessed against the Residential Design Codes and the City's Residential Design Elements Policy. Both the Codes and the City's Policy comprise two approaches for assessing and determining a planning application: 

1. Design Principles/Design Solution and 

2. Deemed-to-Comply Provisions. 

Design Principles/Design Solution describe the outcome that is sought rather than the way that it can be achieved. For example, when considering privacy requirements the Performance Criteria Design Principles/Design Solution state that the direct overlooking of active habitable spaces (e.g. bedrooms, living areas) should be minimised through building layout, location of major openings and screening. No hard and fast rule is defined. By focussing on the desired outcome rather than providing a prescriptive rule creative designs are not stifled and a wide range of designs can be contemplated. 

Deemed-to-Comply' illustrate one way of satisfactorily meeting the Design Principles/Design Solution. This provides some certainty to an applicant by defining one of the ways to meet the Design Principles/Design Solution, but it is not necessarily the only way. If an application does not meet the Deemed-to-Comply Provisions the Council needs to determine if the application still meets the Design Principles/Design Solution (i.e. does it achieve the desired outcome). It is in situations like this that the Council needs to exercise discretion in deciding whether the Design Principles/Design Solution have been met. 

The City is not allowed to refuse an application for a particular element if the application meets the Deemed-to-Comply Provisions for that element. City Officers assess each application to identify where the Deemed-to-Comply Provisions have been met and therefore must be accepted. Those elements that do not meet the Deemed -to -Comply Provisions, and therefore must be assessed against the Design Principles/Design Solution, are identified and are listed for consideration by the neighbours and affected parties, and ultimately for assessment by the City. 

For further information on assessing a planning application, including definitions of common planning terminology, visit our website www.vincent.wa.gov.au/communityconsultation (scroll down to Definitions of Planning Terminology)

Can I obtain more information about the Proposal?

Yes. Large scale site plans, plans, elevations and other relevant information is available for public viewing at the Administration and Civic Centre, 244 Vincent Street (cnr Loftus Street), Leederville between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) or at the Library and Local History Centre during opening hours.

You may also contact the Planning Officer, whose name appears on the consultation letter.

What should my submission say?

Your submission should clearly state the reasons why you object to, or support the development proposal and should relate directly to the variations proposed by the development to the standards of the Scheme, the Codes or any relevant planning policies as identified in the referral letter. Typical variations that may arise include privacy; overshadowing; height, bulk and scale; streetscape and character; and car parking.

A good submission is:
- Brief and to the point: If your submission needs to be lengthy because of the issues involved or a number of grounds for objection, then it is a good idea to include a single page summary sheet for easy reference. 
- Supported  by reason and facts: Take the time to gather the facts. Talk to the Planning Officer who is dealing with the application prior to writing your submission and make sure that you understand what is proposed. Base your submission on the facts, not on hearsay. Once you are sure of the facts, prepare your submission based on how the proposal will affect you and the enjoyment of your property.
As the responsible planning authority, the City is not authorised to consider non-planning matters. Therefore, submissions which are based on civil or non-planning matters will not be considered. Examples of such matters include possible impact on property values, vistas or dividing fences. 

What if I am satisfied with the proposed development application? Do I have to make a submission?

No. You should judge whether or not the proposal will affect you. This may involve some discussion with the Planning Officer handling the application. If you are satisfied with the proposed development, there is no need to make a submission (however, you may wish to do so). In any case, a Planning Officer will make an assessment of the proposal. This includes matters such as overshadowing, privacy, noise, traffic and building design.

What will happen to my submission?

Your submission, along with others received, will be considered as part of an overall assessment. In some cases the concerns raised in submissions may be forwarded to the applicant for their response (your personal details will not be disclosed). Sometimes this leads to a redesign of the development. 

The submissions received form part of the assessment of an application and must be balanced with the City's statutory obligations. 
The City is obliged to determine a development application within 60 days. Given this timeframe, it is not usually possible to have a second community consultation period for a redesigned development application. However, if you make a submission and elect to be kept informed on the Community Consultation Form, the contact officer will advise you if and when the matter is to be determined by Council. You are welcome to attend the Council meeting and may wish to take the opportunity to address Council on the development application during public question time, where you have the opportunity to speak for up to 3 minutes. 
You may also wish to contact the Mayor or Councillors by email or telephone. Council member contact details available on our website, at this link: http://www.vincent.wa.gov.au/Your_Council/About_Your_Mayor_Councillors 

You can also contact the Planning Officer handling the application for information on any changes to the proposed development following on the community consultation process. 

Will the applicant or anyone else know that I have made a submission?

The Council has a policy relating to Privacy Management and will not disclose names and other personal information to a third party, without your prior consent. The Council is subject to the Freedom of Information laws and does not publish the names or addresses of those who make submissions. However, in some circumstances the applicant may be advised of the source and issues raised in the submissions to enable them to resolve any problems raised. You will be advised in such cases.

Should I sign a petition?

You may find that someone has started a petition to object or support a development proposal. Someone may also ask you to sign a proforma letter (this is a standard letter signed by various people). The City will consider any petitions or letters which are received. However, an individual letter about how the proposal will affect you gives the City a much clearer picture of the likely effects.

Will the application be reported to the council for determination?

Primary responsibility for making decisions rests with the elected Council, at a Council Meeting. However, for some development applications, the Council has also delegated some decision-making responsibility to the Chief Executive Officer. 

Details on what is required to be reported to the Council are outlined in the Delegated Authority Register, which is available on the City's website. Generally, it is only larger applications which are determined by the Council (e.g. a patio or addition to a dwelling would generally not require the Council‟s determination). 

However, if there are more than five (5) written objections received for an application, the application must be reported to the Council for determination.

Can a decision be appealed?

Once a decision has been made, the applicant can appeal that decision or any element of the decision to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) if they are dissatisfied with the outcome.

Third party participation in planning appeals

Generally there are no third party appeal rights in relation to planning decisions in Western Australia, however, in certain circumstances it may be possible for a third party to participate in a planning appeal. The usual way is for a third party to provide a witness statement to the City and, if required, to give evidence at the hearing. 

In certain circumstances (e.g. a legal or some other direct, material or special interest), the SAT may allow a third party who has a sufficient interest in a matter to make a submission – it should be noted that generally, it is not sufficient that the third party holds genuine and strong views or has taken an active interest in relation to the matter even when the third party is a body such as a community group or association. A third party who wishes to make a submission should write a letter to the SAT, to explain their position.
Further information may be obtained by visiting the SAT website www.sat.justice.wa.gov.au or by telephoning (08) 9219 3111.