Planning Scheme Amendment VC253

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Planning Scheme Amendment VC253 was approved by the Minister for Planning on 14 December 2023.

The amendment to the Planning Scheme simplifies and, in some cases, exempts the requirements to obtain a Planning Permit to construct a ‘small second dwelling’ on land where there is already a lawful dwelling.

Please contact Nillumbik's Planning Services Team to find out more information.

What is a small second dwelling?

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme refers to a granny flat as a ‘small second dwelling’ or previously ‘dependent persons unit.’

A small second dwelling is defined as:

A building with a gross floor area of 60 square metres or less, on the same lot as an existing dwelling and used as a self-contained residence, which must include:

a) a kitchen sink;

b) food preparation facilities;

c) a bath or shower; and

d) a toilet and wash basin.

To meet this definition the building must therefore be:

  • Located on the same lot as an existing lawful dwelling
  • Have a gross floor area of a maximum of 60m2
  • Be used as a self-contained residence.
  • Gross floor area
  • Gross Floor area is  defined as the total floor area of a building, measured from the outside of external walls or the centre of party walls, and includes all roofed areas.

Do I need a planning permit?

The planning requirements depend on the zoning and overlay controls on your land. Please refer to VicPlan to confirm your zone and overlays. Please phone Council’s Planning Services Team on 9433 3343 to discuss whether you require a planning permit.

A small second dwelling must also comply with any restrictions on the title of your land (such as covenants, Section 173 Agreements, or building envelope/siting requirements (see ‘should I review my title’ below).

Do I need a building permit?

A Building Permit is always required for a small second dwelling.

The Building Regulations set out the siting design, and access requirements for a small second dwelling.

You will need to consult with a Building Surveyor to ensure works comply with legal requirements and to issue a building permit before starting building work. Further information may be found on the Victorian Building Authority’s website.

You can obtain a building permit from Council, or alternatively engage a Private Building Surveyor. The Victorian Building Authority website provides further information in relation to appointing a building surveyor as well as a register of building practitioners to contact.

Do I need any other permits/approvals?

Septic Tanks

If your property is not connected to reticulated sewerage and you have an onsite wastewater management system (septic tank), you are required to complete an Application to Install or Alter Septic Tank System Permit if you make any of the following changes:

  • Build a second small dwelling with plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilet, basins, showers, etc.)
  • Add additional bedrooms to your existing dwelling
  • Plumb additional fixtures to your existing onsite wastewater management system
  • This must be reviewed by the Council’s Environmental Health team. Please refer to Septic tanks for more information.

Further information can be found on Council’s website here: Installing or altering a septic system - Nillumbik Shire Council


If you plan to build a structure over an easement, you will need to apply for consent before commencing work. If it is a Council easement, please see Apply to build over an easement. The easement may contain assets either from Yarra Valley Water, other authorities, or Council. Please contact the relevant authority for the asset for advice if you will be building a structure over an easement.

You may need the location of your discharge point when applying for a building permit. You can find out how to request this information here: Request infrastructure information (legal point of discharge) - Nillumbik Shire Council

If you need to create a new pipe connection, you may also need a drainage tapping or road reserve permit. You will also need a permit to construct, remove, change, or upgrade a vehicle crossing. Please see Council’s website for further information here: Working in the road reserve - Nillumbik Shire Council

What if I need to remove vegetation to construct the small second dwelling?

Approval may be required to remove trees or other vegetation on your property under the Nillumbik Planning Scheme or the Nillumbik Local Law. Please phone Council’s Planning Services Team on 9433-3343 to discuss whether a permit is needed.


Should I review my title?

Yes, please ensure you review your Copy of Title to ensure there are no restrictions that would prohibit the construction of a small second dwelling. You can obtain a copy of your property title online via Landata here: Landata


Can I subdivide land to create a separate title for a small second dwelling?

No. A permit cannot be granted to create a lot for a small second dwelling. Once the small second dwelling is built, a permit cannot be granted to subdivide the land.

The small second dwelling must always be on a lot with an existing dwelling.

What happens if I already have a dependent person's unit (DPU) on my land or approval for a DPU on my land?

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme, at Clause 52.04, sets out that the requirements of the planning scheme that applied to the use or development of land for a DPU before the approval dated of Amendment VC253 (being 14 December 2023) continue to apply.

Please refer to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme or call Council’s Planning Services Team on 9433-3343.

What if I have an existing Planning Permit that applies to my land?

You can find existing planning permits on your land here: View current and past planning permit applications - Nillumbik Shire Council

If your land is subject to an existing Planning Permit you may be required to make amendments to the endorsed plans to show any new small second dwelling proposed. Any new small second dwelling must not contravene the requirements of an existing Planning Permit.

Please call Council’s Planning Services Team on 9433-3343.