Significant landscape overlay

Many residential areas within Nillumbik are covered by a planning control known as a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO). This overlay is concerned with identifying, protecting and enhancing the visual and/or aesthetic landscape qualities of a particular area within the Shire.

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme has seven separate schedules to the SLO, meaning that the planning controls and desired landscape outcomes of the SLO vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Therefore, the planning controls for one property covered by the SLO may differ from another property affected by the SLO.

Due to the complexity of these planning controls, it is imperative that you confirm permit requirements with Council’s Planning Unit before commencing any construction works and/or vegetation removal. Please note that substantial penalties apply for any illegal vegetation removal or destruction, or illegal buildings and works.

In making a decision on an application for development in areas covered by the SLO, Council will take into account the potential impact of the proposed buildings and works (and any associated vegetation loss) on the natural environment, the built form and the existing and preferred neighbourhood character of the area. The possible impact of building height, location, bulk and general appearance on the character of the area will be considered, in addition to the impact of vegetation loss on the landscape character of the area. As such, applicants may be required to modify, relocate and/or screen buildings and structures in order to retain, preserve and/or enhance existing vegetation.

The provisions of the SLO should be read in conjunction with Council’s Neighbourhood Character Policy at Clause 22.12 of the Nillumbik Planning Scheme, which specifically outlines the existing and preferred character of each neighbourhood precinct covered by the SLO (refer to planning advice 8 – Neighbourhood Character).

Please note: the removal of vegetation is often found by Council to generate concern amongst other community members who may not be aware that you have obtained planning permission to remove vegetation. Council therefore strongly recommends that you advise any nearby neighbours of your intention to remove the vegetation and that you have obtained permission to do so before you proceed to remove the vegetation. Failure to do so may result in Council officers being obliged to visit your land, and also potentially delay the vegetation removal process while compliance with permits is checked.

SLO Schedules

A brief outline of each schedule to the SLO follows:

  • SLO1 - new schedule - detail to be added
  • SLO2 - Bush and Semi-Bush Residential Areas
    • Many residential and low density residential areas of the Shire appear as natural bush settings and are characterised by dense understorey with more open bush gardens around houses
    • Buildings are often obscured from the street by topography or indigenous vegetation
    • This schedule ensures that buildings and works, access driveways and earthworks are sensitively sited to consider these characteristics and that native vegetation is restored and enhanced where necessary
    • A permit is required to construct buildings and works (including any fence), unless the requirements of the schedule are met
    • A permit is required to remove, destroy or lop any native vegetation, unless the requirements of the schedule are met
  • SLO3 - Bush Garden
    • Areas covered by SLO3 are characterised by mature native and indigenous trees planted in bush style gardens
    • Dwellings in these areas are set among the trees and are sited to minimise disruption to the landform and vegetation
    • A permit is not required to carry out buildings or works provided the building or works are more than 5 metres from the base of any substantial tree and no higher than 7.5 metres above natural ground level where a substantial tree is defined as vegetation with a circumference greater than 0.5 metres at one metre above ground level
    • A permit is required to construct a front fence
    • A permit is required to remove, destroy or lop any substantial tree where a substantial tree is defined as vegetation with a circumference greater than 0.5 metres at one metre above ground level
  • SLO4 - Garden Court
    • These areas are characterised by residential development set within predominantly native vegetation
    • Large native trees dominate the skyline and are common in gardens and reserves
    • A permit is not required to carry out buildings or works provided the building or works are more than 5 metres from the base of any substantial tree where a substantial tree is defined as vegetation with a circumference greater than 0.5 metres at one metre above ground level
    • A permit is required to construct a front fence
    • A permit is required to remove destroy or lop any substantial tree where a substantial tree is defined as vegetation with a circumference greater than 0.5 metres at one metre above ground level
  • SLO5 - Eltham Central
    • This schedule takes in the residential areas close to the Eltham central business area
    • These areas are characterised by frequent native and indigenous high canopy trees and the siting of any residential development is within these trees
    • A permit is required to remove destroy or lop any substantial tree where a substantial tree is defined as vegetation with a circumference greater than 0.5 metres at one metre above ground level
    • A permit is not required to construct a building or carry out works
  • SLO6 - new schedule - detail to be added
  • SLO7 - new schedule - detail to be added

Disclaimer

This advice is to be used as a general guide only. Council has made all reasonable effort to ensure the information is true and accurate. However, it is recommended that readers seek professional advice before acting or making decisions on the basis of this information. For any questions or clarification, please contact Council’s Planning Services on 9433 3343.

Checklist for planning assessment

The following information (as a minimum) must accompany any planning permit application for development and/or vegetation removal on land within the Significant Landscape Overlay:

  • Appropriate application fee (schedule of fees available on Council’s website or at the Shire offices)
  • Completed application form (available on Council’s website or at the Shire offices)
  • Full copy of property title, searched from Land Victoria within the last 6 months, along with any related plan of subdivision, restrictions, covenants or agreements (available from Land Victoria or at www.land.vic.gov.au) - see planning advice 4 - Obtaining a Copy of Title
  • A detailed description of all components of the proposal (ie. buildings and works, change of land use or activities on your land, vegetation removal, etc)
  • For proposed vegetation removal, this written submission must include
    • the number and size of any trees to be removed and/or pruned
    • the reason for seeking the removal and/or pruning of the vegetation
    • a demonstration of the steps that have been taken to
      • avoid the removal of native vegetation, where possible
      • minimise the removal of native vegetation
      • appropriately offset the loss of native vegetation, if required
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Existing Conditions Plan, showing (as a minimum)
    • the location of all existing buildings, structures, earthworks, dams and vegetation
    • internal building layout for existing buildings and structures
    • the location and layout of driveways and car parking areas
    • contours/site levels
    • the location of the effluent disposal system (for non-sewered properties)
  • Three copies of a scaled and fully dimensioned Site Plan, showing (as a minimum)
    • the location of existing buildings on adjacent properties (including nominated setbacks from the common boundaries to the subject site)
    • the location of existing and proposed buildings
    • any existing or proposed earthworks
    • location of existing individual trees within 10 metres of all proposed buildings, structures and excavations
    • all trees to be removed and those to be retained
    • the setback of the buildings and works from title boundaries
    • details and location of any car parking structures, areas and accessways
    • details for the retention of stormwater on site
    • the proposed location of all reticulated services and method of installation (note if to be excavated, it must be demonstrated that it avoids or minimises vegetation removal)
    • details of any lighting proposed

For applications affected by an ESO and/or Clause 52.17, the following must also be provided:

  • location and details of vegetation type (ground, middle and upper storey vegetation) within 30 metres of the proposed development, which may require modification for fire management purposes
  • Three copies of scaled and fully dimensioned Floor and Elevation Plans, showing (as a minimum)
    • floor plans of the proposed buildings and structures (including nominated setbacks from boundaries and other key site features)
    • natural ground levels and finished floor levels
    • wall heights and overall building heights for each elevation
    • external colours, finishes and materials
  • One set of photo reduced A3 plans of all plans outlined above
  • A written submission detailing how the proposal responds to the provisions of the relevant zone, overlays, particular provisions and State and local planning policies (as appropriate)
  • Where possible, a CD containing a copy of all plans and associated reports in a PDF format

The application types listed below also require the following information:

  • Tree Removal
    • For applications requiring the removal of 0-10 trees, an Arborist Report must be submitted as outlined in the previous dot point. This report will then be used by Council to ascertain appropriate offset requirements for the native vegetation removal proposed
    • For applications requiring the removal of 10+ trees (and/or the removal of vegetation within significant patches of remnant vegetation – which may include understorey vegetation), a Flora and Fauna and Net Gain Assessment (in accordance with the State Government’s Native Vegetation Management Framework) prepared by a suitably qualified professional will be required to calculate appropriate offset planting requirements
    • Where there are existing trees on the subject site or trees on adjoining properties proximite to the proposed buildings, a report from a qualified arborist (an Arborist Report) must be obtained and submitted. This report should provide the following details
      • the species, height, girth, canopy width and approximate age of the tree/s to be removed
      • a statement regarding the health, structure and vigour of the tree/s
      • comments in relation to the future health of the tree
      • a recommendation based on all of the above
    • Photographs of native vegetation proposed to be removed, destroyed, pruned or lopped
    • Offset (Replacement) Planting Plan for any native vegetation proposed for removal. Refer to the information requirements below to calculate the appropriate offset planting on a plan. Indigenous species of plants should be selected from the Council publication Live Local Plant Local
    • Replacement Planting Plan for any trees being removed (if applicable), including the location of replacement planting and at a tree planting density specified in the particular character precinct under the Neighbourhood Character Policy which applies to the subject site. If no tree planting density is specified or the density is already exceeded, a tree replacement density of 3 trees to every 1 removed must be applied
  • New dwelling and/or dwelling addition that increases the number of bedrooms
    • Three copies of a Land Management Plan for the future use of the site. Refer to Planning Advice Sheet No.14 for guidance and an information checklist for Land Management Plans
    • For residential applications on non-sewered lots, a Land Capability Assessment prepared by an appropriately qualified professional should be provided which demonstrates that the land is capable of treating and retaining all wastewater in accordance with the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) under the Environment Protection Act 1970

The above checklist ensures that all documents are submitted to Council to initiate the assessment of the planning application. Additional information may be required depending on the precise nature of the proposal and any site-specific considerations. If applications are lodged without sufficient information for Council assessment, Council will formally request further information in accordance with the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Please check other Council planning advice web pages (and their attached checklists) for relevance to your proposal. If applicable, the information requirements outlined in that checklist should also be provided when lodging your application. Planning advice pages which may also be relevant in this particular circumstance are planning advice 12 – Native Vegetation Protection and Removal.

Updated 2 February 2015