When thinking about purchasing property, changing the use of a property or developing property, it is important to have a clear understanding of the specific planning regulations that apply. Overlays are one tool that a planner can use to highlight the unique attributes of a property, and therefore the special planning considerations that should apply to that land.

Here is some information about overlays and details of common overlays used in the Moonee Valley Planning Scheme.

What is an overlay?

An overlay is a tool that is used to designate an area for having a unique attribute. For example, some parts of Moonee Valley are old and as a result is covered by a heritage overlay. This indicates that the buildings in the overlay contribute to the historical and/or cultural significance of the area.

Generally overlays will apply to a single issue, such as heritage, flooding, or environmental concern. Therefore, it is not uncommon for an area to be covered by multiple overlays.

For example, a group of houses that are located next to the Maribyrnong River may have both a heritage overlay and a land subject to inundation overlay (or flooding). This signifies that the area is historically significant and that there may be a risk of flooding. These two factors may mean that the development of the land is more restricted, must adhere to certain heritage guidelines, or may require certain building specifics.

How do I know which overlays apply?

To identify if there are overlays that apply to your site you can:

Common overlays in Moonee Valley

There are a number of different overlays used in Moonee Valley. This is a guide only and it is strongly advised that you speak with a Council planner for further information.

Design and development overlay

A design and development overlay (DDO) is applied to areas where there is a need to provide extra guidance on new buildings. For example, with regards to heights and set back of buildings from property boundaries.

Heritage overlay

A heritage overlay is applied to any heritage place that has been recognised on the Victorian Heritage Register or identified in local heritage studies.

Heritage can relate to a wide variety of places, including a building or group of buildings, site or area, land or a landscape, a memorial, a tree, garden or parkland, the place or a historical event, urban areas, towns, industrial sites, archaeological sites, as well as spiritual and religious places.

When heritage overlays are being prepared, a statement of significance is developed for each overlay area. It will give you a description of the place and list the important elements such as building style, landscaping, or streetscape.

Under a heritage overlay a planning permit is required from us to:

  • subdivide or consolidate land
  • demolish or remove a building (including part of a building)
  • construct a building (including part of a building, or fence)
  • externally alter a building
  • construct or carry out work
  • construct or display any signage
  • externally paint an unpainted surface, and
  • externally paint a building if the painting constitutes an advertisement

In some instances, external paint controls, internal alteration controls and control over trees may also apply. The schedule to the heritage overlay will identify whether these additional controls apply.

Neighbourhood Character Overlay

A Neighbourhood Character Overlay generally applies to small areas where dwellings are considered to display a unique and exemplary character, compared with other areas across the municipality.   The areas where the overlay applies have a relatively consistent look in their buildings.

The purpose of the NCO is to ensure that new development respects the key features of the existing or preferred neighbourhood character.  This might be in terms of ensuring consistent building setbacks and roof styles and recessing any second storey elements. 

Under the Neighbourhood Character Overlay a planning permit would be required from Council for the following:

  • To construct or extend a building or an outbuilding
  • To demolish a dwelling

Therefore all new dwellings and extensions in areas where a Neighbourhood Character Overlay applies will require a planning permit.

In the areas where the Neighbourhood Character Overlay has been applied, a Design and Development Overlay also applies to front fences.  What this means for property owners, is that front fences which exceed the common height of other fences in the street may require a planning permit.

Environmental audit overlay

An environmental audit overlay is applied to any land known, identified or reasonably suspected of being contaminated

Moonee Valley has an industrial history. As land uses change, the community, Council and other levels of government often have to deal with issues caused by these past industrial activities, one of them being soil contamination.

In areas where an environmental audit overlay applies, an environmental audit may need to be completed before the site can be developed for certain uses including residential. Depending on the results of the audit, the site may also need to be treated.

Land subject to inundation overlay

A land subject to inundation overlay is applied to areas that are not part of the primary floodway, but flood storage or flood fringe areas affected by the ‘one in 100 year flood’. There is land subject to inundation overlays around the Maribyrnong River.

This overlay makes sure that any development does not interfere with the free passage of floodwaters, and will not cause any significant rise in flood level or increase the rate at which the water flows.

Similarly, the special building overlay applies to urban land that is subject to stormwater flooding. In these areas you may be required to obtain a planning permit for works that you otherwise would not need planning permission for.

This way we can help you ensure that your property is appropriate and safe for the special conditions that apply to this area.

Want to know more?

For more information about overlays, call our Statutory Planning unit on 9243 8888 or enquire in person at the Statutory Planning counter at the Civic Centre.

Last updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2017, 11:35 PM