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The Victorian planning scheme provides the framework to where the government wants to encourage development

When it comes to property development, there are plenty of people with an objection. 
Developments co-founder and real estate agent Grant Lynch points out, you’ll read about a developer going too far almost every week in the paper.
But, he points out, not all of them do go too far. In fact, there’s a system in place to stop that.
“Nearly every week you pick up the paper and read about a property developer going too far,” Mr Lynch said.
“A neighbour might question whether the height of a build is suited to a suburban street, or if they should be able to get that many homes on to the one block.
“Sometimes this can just be a concerned neighbour that doesn’t want to live near a building site. At other times, the development is truly inappropriate.”
For those trying to understand the motivations of developers looking to push the envelope, he points out that it is a financial matter.
If they can get three properties on a block instead of two, generally they are making more money,” Mr Lynch noted.
“So if they squeeze a fourth on there, then school fees are taken care of for the next 10 years.”
But they do still have to play by a set of rules. And those rules should stop the dramatic changes in a street or area that could significantly alter its property market, he added.
“The Victorian planning scheme provides the framework as to where the government wants to encourage development, and where they don’t,” Mr Lynch said.
“Then you have council planning schemes, which look at suburbs right down to street level, and will make decisions on a case-by-case basis.”
Both of these scheme’s come into the equation when a developer applies to build multiple properties on a block.
“When a developer submits plans to council, they need to comply with council’s planning scheme,” Mr Lynch said.
“Those that push the envelope must work within the confines of the Victorian planning scheme. Some developers will add another level or property in, just in the hope they get it through.”
“The one’s that go too far tend to result in lawyers becoming involved,” Mr Lynch added.
“If the plans don’t comply with council, then the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) will decide if they adhere to the Victorian planning scheme,” he said.
“If the plans don’t comply with council or state planning schemes, then regardless of the best lawyer, they won’t be approved.
“This is one of the great things about Australia. We have great laws and processes that prevent pushing the envelope too far.”
For those buying a development site that is caught between an appropriate size and one that might be beyond an acceptable level, Mr Lynch had one piece of advice.
“When you have a property that is too small for three units, and too big for two, my advice is to go for more,” he suggested.
“You may as well use the site fully. Just don’t knock down trees or ruin the neighbourhood in the process.”

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