Property Development Project Update – to VCAT or not to VCAT

Property Investing, Property Development, Property Plans

Last time I gave an update on our property development project things were looking like going a little pear-shaped!  We’d been given the news from council that although the town planning department supported the application, it was looking like being refused due to some objections received and one councillor who was opposing the permit.  This threw me into a little  bit of a spin for a while as I worked out what I was going to do next and whether we would take the issue to VCAT (Victorian Civil and Adminstrative Tribunal) to appeal.  It all seemed a bit hard…

I discussed the situation with a few friends of mine and found that a couple of my friends had actually been involved in similar situations and had been to VCAT.  One as a person who was opposing a development project and another as someone whose development project had been opposed.  It was really interesting to hear their stories and gave me a little confidence to pursue the VCAT option.  One friend, who is involved in the legal profession gave me some great advice about how to arm myself with enough knowledge and confidence to represent myself – therefore negating the requirement to spend lots of money on the process.  This really appealed to me as it was the thought of spending several thousand dollars more on what could possibly be a losing battle that really had me thinking twice.  She advised me to:

  • Read the VCAT website and learn as much as I could about their role and the processes involved
  • Attend a VCAT hearing that was similar to mine to learn how the hearing operates (they are open to the public to attend)
  • Learn as much as I could about the objections made against the application
  • Formulate my position on each of the objections so that I could ‘make my case’ in the hearing
  • Find out if there were any concessions that I could offer in response to each objections (even if my concession didn’t appease others it would at least demonstrate my willingness to compromise and to find a solution that would make everyone happy)

So after speaking with my friends and formulating my plan, I was at peace with the next stage of the journey.

Now, of course, I had done all of this research, discussion and decision making prior to the actual ruling being made by the local council on my planning application – this was waiting on a council meeting to be held and a vote taken.

This meeting occured late last week and so I called the council today to find out what had happened and much to my surprise, the vote had been in favour of granting the planning permit!

So this is fantastic news!  It’s been a good learning experience as well, going through the whole scenario of ‘what if’ and we may still have to go to VCAT as people can still object and take the issue to VCAT themselves, but at least we’ve passed the first hurdle!

In other exciting property development news I’ve taken the first steps in our new property development project in Traralgon.  I’ve contacted a company to provide a proposal to develop drawings for the project and to coordinate the planning permit application.  So stay tuned as we get the second property development project going!

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