Secondary Dwelling Pilot Program 

In a recent article we reported on Moreland City Council’s Planning Scheme Amendment C190, which proposes a new class of local VicSmart application that would allow planning permit applications for two dwellings on a lot within the General Residential and Neighbourhood Residential Zones. If successful the Amendment would allow such applications to be processed under the VicSmart provisions, without the need for public notification and third party appeal rights, if strict criteria are met.

The State Government is now taking this concept one step further and is trialling a Secondary Dwelling Code to facilitate small-scale ‘granny-flat or garden studio’ style accommodation on the same lot as an existing dwelling in a residential area. The pilot program is being trialled in the municipalities of Murrindindi, Moreland, Greater Bendigo and Kingston.

The program creates a “Code Assessment” for small secondary dwellings, that met the following criteria:

  • Located within one of the following zones:
  • Township Zone;
  • Mixed Use Zone;
  • Residential Growth Zone;
  • General Residential Zone and
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone.
  • Meets the garden area requirements of the zone, where applicable.
  • Meets a range of siting and design requirements including not exceeding a gross floor area of 60 square metres and not exceeding 5 metres in height. Specified Clause 55 requirements must also be met, including those relating to overlooking, side and rear setbacks and solar access to open space.
  • A secondary dwelling will not require a car space.
  • A subdivision must not create a new lot which only contains a secondary dwelling.
  • The secondary dwelling’s location must be on the same property as an existing dwelling and be the only secondary dwelling on the property. If a Dependant Persons Unit is already located on a property you can’t have a secondary dwelling.
  • The secondary dwelling must have a kitchen sink, food preparation facilities, a bath or shower and a toilet and washbasin.

However, if a property has an Overlay which introduces an additional permit trigger (such as a Heritage Overlay), then the standard permit assessment pathway (non-VicSmart) will apply. Unlike a Dependant Persons Unit, there are no requirements around who may live in the secondary dwelling, and unlike a Dependant Persons Unit a secondary dwelling is a permanent dwelling.

The pilot program will run from August 2020 to March 2021 at which stage the data from the pilot program will be analysed to inform the consideration of introducing the code into all Victorian planning schemes for use.

If you have applications that you think might qualify for the pilot program we would be very keen to speak with you and we look forward to reporting on the outcomes of the program in the new year.

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