Advice to assist permit applicants in planning for subdivision, and the preparation of planning applications for subdivision.

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Sustainable Subdivisions

Many councils, including Moorabool Shire Council, are currently planning for population growth and evolving climate for the next 20-30 years to achieve the net zero emissions target identified in the Victorian Climate Change Act by 2050.

Along with partnering local governments and the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) we are testing the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework through existing planning processes for an 18-month trial from October 2020 to March 2022.

casbe with subdivision

Trial framework

Council will provide an assessment of subdivision applications greater than 3 lots against the Sustainable Subdivisions Framework during the trial. Though it is voluntary to participate in this trial period as an applicant, recommendations will be made to you that will promote the sustainability principles to ensure the best outcomes are achieved for sustainable neighbourhoods.

There are no additional fees required to participate in the trial period other than additional information to be shown on your plans and assessments against the Framework for medium and large subdivision applications and of course your willingness to create liveable environments for yourself and future generations to come. 

To mitigate the impacts of future climate projections, the Framework has identified seven (7) categories that can assist in creating environmentally sustainable subdivisions

  • Site Layout and Liveability
  • Streets and Public Realm
  • Energy
  • Ecology
  • Integrated Water Management (IWM)
  • Urban Heat
  • Circular Economy (Materials and Waste)

There is an extensive array of resources available to support the Framework, please visit the CASBE website. Apart from other resources, it includes a copy of the Framework and sample submission requirements.  

Each applicant who is willing to participate, must provide a Subdivision Sustainable Management Plan (SSMP) which can be found on the CASBE website. Sample plans, case studies, and checklists for your subdivision category can also be viewed under the CASBE resources page.

Subdivision process

Subdivision involves dividing a property into smaller lots that can be sold separately. It can include the realignment or alterations to title boundaries even if the number of lots do not change. Subdivision can also allow the transfer of land between two lots through a NICO (Not in Common Ownership) subdivision. Not all land can be subdivided, even if you think it looks big enough.

Can I subdivide?

Before making an application to subdivide, make sure that it is not prohibited in the zone. All zones have different rules for subdivision and your desired number or size of lots may not be allowed in the zone. You can check the zone of any land in Victoria here. The zone, and schedule if applicable, will identify any minimum lot size. In general, the following minimums apply to the size of each new lot:

  • General Residential Zone: No minimum lot size.
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone: Varies. Confirm in the relevant schedule to the zone.
  • Rural Living Zone: 6 hectares.
  • Farming Zone: 40 hectares.
  • For all other zones, please refer to the zone and schedule or contact Council Planning Department to confirm minimum lot sizes.

Additionally, refer to the title of the land for any agreements of covenants which may restriction subdivision. It is not uncommon for some kinds of rural lots to contain an agreement under Section 173 that prohibits additional subdivision.

How to subdivide land

There are four main stages in the subdivision process:

Step 1.Planning Permit

A planning permit is required to allow you to subdivide; it does not create the new lots.

In the planning permit assessment Council will consider the appropriateness of the proposal and, if granted, establish any additional requirements to be met before the lots can be formally created. The planning permit application will generally be publically advertised.

Subdivision may be applied for at the same time as development, or applied for after development. While you can apply for subdivision before development, it is sometimes more difficult to assess this kind of development and it is generally discouraged. This stage does not require plans from a land surveyor. Depending on the scale of the proposal, you may be able to prepare the proposed subdivision plan yourself as long as it is legible, clear in what the layout is and includes dimensions.

Step 2.Certification

Certification confirms that the new subdivision plans accord with the planning permit.

After a planning permit is issued, a licenced land surveyor can draw up the formal plan of subdivision for the new lots. It will show the dimensions and any easements, restrictions or envelopes. Council will refer these plans to the relevant referral authorities (such as utility providers or state government departments) for confirmation that all requirements have been met. This may involve entering into certain agreements or making open space contributions.

Step 3.Statement of Compliance

A Statement of Compliance is the final document issued by Council and it confirms that the subdivision has been certified, all referral authorities have provided consent, and all other permit conditions have been met.

Step 4.Title Registration

Title Registration is when Land Victoria (the titles office) formally creates the new titles. This can only be done with a Statement of Compliance.

Additional Considerations

ResCode - Clause 56 Residential Subdivision

Subdivision of land in residential zones (General/Neighbourhood Residential Zone, Mixed Use Zone, Township Zone) must be assessed against the relevant requirements of Clause 56 of the Moorabool Planning Scheme during the planning permit stage. This is known is ResCode. There are separate ResCode requirements for both subdivision and development and the requirements vary by zone and scale. Some parts of Clause 56 require specific responses. Download the checklist here(DOCX, 67KB)  to see the relevant requirements and provide your own assessment response.

What is a Section 173 Agreement?

A Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement made between Council and another party or parties under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. The landowner is the other party to the Agreement, while in some cases a third party, such as a referral authority may also be involved. An agreement provides additional planning controls where a condition on a permit or Planning Scheme controls is insufficient.

The obligations and requirements of a Section 173 Agreement are recorded on the new property titles after subdivision. Therefore, the new landowners of these properties should be aware of the requirements and obligations placed on them by the Section 173 Agreement.

If a planning permit requires you to enter into a Section 173 Agreement (which are usually prepared by a solicitor), all costs through to the registration of the agreement are to be met by the applicant.

Subdivision before development (for urban land)

For all land in residential zones, while it is possible to apply to subdivide your land before obtaining approval to develop your land, it is Council’s preference that approval for a development is obtained before applying to subdivide your land. This will enable all development matters to be considered in the planning process. Some exceptions may apply to larger subdivisions (ie. more than 10 lots) on residential zoned land.

Subdivision in rural areas

There are minimum lot sizes to consider and often additional concerns which may impact on the suitability of subdivision such as bushfire safety, waste water disposal (capacity for septic systems) and native vegetation. Contact the Planning Department for more information.

Development plans

Land within the Shire that is covered by a Development Plan Overlay (DPO) in the Moorabool Planning Scheme has an approved ‘development plan’ which sets out broad strategies, layouts, and subdivision requirements. Subdivisions proposed within these locations should be planned in accordance with the approved development plan and may not necessarily provide capacity for further subdivision.

Public open space contributions

When proposing to subdivide land into three or more lots, assessment is made for a contribution to Council for the upgrade and/or purchase of land for open space such as public parks, playgrounds and reserves. Please note, this also applies to two-lot subdivisions where the lots could potentially be further subdivided. Under Section 18 of the of the Subdivision Act 1988, you may be required to pay to Council a percentage of the site value not exceeding 5%, or set aside up to 5% of the land on the plan of subdivision for public open space, or a combination of both.

Other approvals

Applicants will need to satisfy the requirements of Council’s Infrastructure Department (for roads, vehicle crossings and drainage), the building regulations, Environmental Health requirements (for septic tanks and effluent disposal where relevant) and local laws (where relevant), as well as the requirements of relevant referral authorities for the servicing of the land.

Checklist for planning assessment

The following information (as a minimum) must accompany any planning permit application for the subdivision of land.

  • Completed application form (form available at Shire offices or on Council’s website).
  • Appropriate application fee (schedule of fees available at Shire offices or on Council’s website). This is generally requested after acceptance and not require on submission.
  • Full copy of property title, searched from Land Victoria within the last 3 months, along with copies of any restrictions, covenants or agreements.
  • A scaled and fully dimensioned Existing Conditions Plan, showing (as a minimum):
    • the location of all existing buildings, structures 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 effluent disposal system (for non-sewered properties)
  • A scaled and fully dimensioned Site Plan, showing (where relevant):
    • 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 (including nominated setbacks from boundaries and other key site features)
    • 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
  • A proposed Plan of Subdivision drawn to scale showing:
    • the proposed configuration of the lots, including any common property
    • any existing or proposed easements
    • dimensions of boundaries
    • lot sizes
    • adjoining roads
  • A written report including information on:
    • the number of lots
    • the lot sizes
    • access details for each of the lots
    • type of roads
    • the existence of stormwater drainage infrastructure
    • the services to be provided and
    • other details (as relevant)
  • For applications relating to residential subdivision the following must be provided:
    • a Subdivision Site and Context Plan, as required by Clause 56.01-1 of the Moorabool Planning Scheme (ResCode),
    • a Subdivision Design Response, as required by Clause 56.01-2 of the Moorabool Planning Scheme (ResCode)
    • 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)

For applications where native vegetation would be impacted:

Where there are existing trees on the subject site or trees on adjoining properties proximite to future buildings within the subdivision, 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 in support of removal, retention or alternative actions based on all of the above.

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 Department.

Related Information

Planning Permits
Planning Information Request