Once again, at this time of year Councils across the state will implement ‘blackout periods’, restricting the advertising of planning applications over the holiday season. The dates and restrictions of the ‘blackouts’ vary significantly from Council to Council.
Permit applicants should contact their relevant Council for details, but here is an example of what some Councils have already announced will not count towards the normal 14 day public notification period.
Stonnington: Dec 20th 2019 – Feb 11th 2019
Manningham: Dec 24th 2019 – Jan 2nd 2020
Frankston: Dec 16th 2019 – Jan 6th 2019
During these dates most Council’s will not count the ‘black out’ days as part of the required advertising period. This generally means sign(s) must be maintained on site for all of the ‘black out’ date plus 14 days.
In some instances, Council’s require the sign to be erected for 14 ‘continuous’ days (not including the black out dates). In such circumstances, if your sign is erected 10 days prior to the black out period, remains up over the black period and is required to be maintained for 14 ‘continuous’ days after the blackout period, your sign will be erected for more than 6 weeks.
As a result of the elongated advertising period, it is often in an applicant’s best interests to not erect the sign on site until after the blackout period has ended.
It is noteworthy that the Planning and Environment Act does not authorise Council to ‘blackout’ days over the Christmas period. Despite that, VCAT regularly supports the notion of ‘blackout’ periods when issuing Orders that require advertising over the holiday season.
Clause 1 is of the opinion that the inconsistency in ‘black out’ periods across Victorian municipalities and the lack legislative support for these ‘black out’ periods has created a confusing, frustrating and unnecessary time delay for permit applicants.
Practitioners should be aware that the ‘black out’ period can be added to the 60 day statutory timeframe and Councils that enforce ‘blackout periods’ over the Christmas break could be inadvertently exposing themselves to ‘failure’ appeals from more-aggressive applicants and may well find themselves liable for the associated VCAT-appeal fees
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