Christmas Notification Blackouts

Once again at this time of year Councils across the state will implement ‘blackout periods’ restricting the advertising of planning applications over the festive season. As is the case year-in-year-out the dates and restrictions of the ‘blackouts’ vary from Council to Council.

Permit applicants should contact their relevant Council for details, but here is an example of what some Councils have announced will not count towards the normal 14 day public notification period.

Glen Eira:           Dec 22nd 2017 – Jan 5th 2018

Port Philip:          Dec 18th 2017 – Jan 8th 2018

Brimbank:           Dec 20th 2017– Jan 25th 2018

Boroondara:       Dec 8th 2017– Feb 5th 2018

 Moonee Valley: Dec 8th 2017– Jan 5th 2018

In most instances a sign must be erected for 14 ‘continuous’ days (not including the dates above). During these dates some councils allow advertising, however the sign(s) must be maintained on site for 28 days or the duration of the ‘black out ‘period. So it is often in an applicant’s best interest to not erect the sign on site until after the blackout period has ended.

It is also noteworthy that the Planning and Environment Act does not authorize Council to ‘blackout’ days over the Christmas period, even though it has become common practice.

Regular readers will be aware that changes to the VCAT Act that require VCAT application fees associated with ‘failure to determine’ appeals to be borne by Council, at the direction of the Tribunal, unless the Council can convince the Tribunal that no such order should be made.

Clause 1 believes Councils that enforce ‘blackout periods’ over the Christmas period could be inadvertently exposing themselves to ‘failure’ appeals from more-aggressive applicants and may well find themselves liable for the associated appeal fees, due to the fact the ‘blackout days’ are still likely to count towards the 60 day period in which Council should make its decision.

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