VicSmart Application FAQ

About us

Hi, my name is Ben, I have a Masters of Social Science in Urban Planning and a background in online development. I designed this site with Stephen Franklin Design handling all of the development. We hope you find it useful.

I'm interested in what urban planning can achieve and how it contributes to our quality of life. I'm also interested in how people participate in planning, and I hope this guide goes a little way to improving people's experience of planning by increasing knowledge about planning applications, helping to "streamline" the VicSmart process and achieve more successful planning outcomes.

The reason for this site...

In July of 2014, I was reading about the impending introduction of VicSmart because I wanted to know what "streamlining" the planning process would look like, how it would be implemented and where the benefits would be. I was interested in the feedback the government received in response to the discussion paper, 'VicSmart - A New Planning Permit Process for Victoria' - particularly from the MAV, PIA, MBAV and council submissions (such as Yarra council).

Amongst concerns raised about the implementation of VicSmart, the MAV mention that a "significant proportion of applications (in some instances up to 80%) do not include the required information"; in a separate sample the expectation for incomplete applications ranged from 40%-70% per council. While the reason can be as simple as needing to include a copy of title, the quality of applications is also a concern, particularly as those to be classed as VicSmart are generally done by individuals and small businesses, and not town planners (due to their "low-impact" nature).

What's good about VicSmart, from an applicant's point of view, is that, while you are expected to submit all of the necessary information, this information is set and relatively straight forward - compared to regular planning permit applications where in depth planning knowledge is required. The VicSmart process is also clearly defined, from eligibility (in the various planning zones, overlays and provisions, and the operation of VicSmart applications and process in Clause 71.06 of the VicSmart planning provisions) through to the information requirements and decision guidelines (Clause 59). Currently though, I don't think it's as accessible, as it is intended to be, to anyone who is not a planner. This guide is designed to help bridge that, and a few other gaps in the process.

These are basically the conditions that make an online guide for planning permits possible for the first time. So, I've set up a business called "Victorian Smart Planning Permit Application Services" (ABN 45 695 956 240) and built the Complete VicSmart Guide. I believe you'll find it useful and improve your chances of getting a VicSmart permit.

Hopefully the site answers all your questions about VicSmart applications and permits, but feel free to contact us if it doesn't, or if you have any feedback -

regards,

Ben McKenna
The Complete VicSmart Guide

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