Planning applications for business owners

When is a planning permit required for a small business?  

A planning permit allows permission for you to use or develop land.

If you are planning on opening a small business such as a café or gym a planning permit may be required. Examples of reasons why you might need a planning permit include:

  • to change the current use of your land or building
  • to carry out buildings and/or works including to increase the internal floor area of a building
  • to display an advertising sign
  • to sell  alcohol or change any areas in the business where alcohol can be service, or increase the operating hours or patron numbers, see our information on liquor licenses if this is the case
  • to increase the operating hours of an existing business
  • to reduce the number of parking spaces available.

Planning permits are required based on the specific planning controls that affect the site, such as the zone and any overlays. Complete our small business self assessment tool or contact 8290 3329 to determine whether a planning permit is required for your site.

Please be aware that a planning permit is a legal document that sets out permit conditions, and may include a set of plans, that control the use or development on site.

Applying for a planning permit

The following documents are required to submit your application:

  • a copy of title and relevant lot plan, this can be obtained from the Land Data website.
  • a description of the proposal.
  • floor plans of the existing and proposed layout of the site, including any proposed external building and works and signage.
  • elevations of any proposed external building and works and signage.

Once you have prepared all the documents for your application, submit the application online via our ePlanning Portal.

Your application will allocated to a planning officer and assessed. If additional information is required to assess your application, a further information request will be sent out within 28 days of lodging your application.

Application Fee

Planning permit application fees can be found here.

Additional Information

You may also be interested in information on advertising signage in a Heritage Overlay (page 32) or the Advertising Policy under the Stonnington Planning Scheme.

Our Business Permit Applications Guidelines may also be useful. 

Frequently asked questions

I want a planning permit, but I’m not the owner of the land. Can I still apply?

The applicant for a planning permit doesn’t need to be the owner of the property. However, the owner must be notified of the application as part of the declaration.

Who is the owner of the land?

The owner of the land is the person or entity listed as owner on the title. If the applicant is not the owner of the land, the current owner of the land must be notified of the permit application.

I want to make some changes to an existing planning permit. Can I do this?

If a planning permit has previously been issued, you can apply to amend the planning permit conditions and/or plans that were endorsed. The final, endorsed plans must match the development you go ahead with.

What do I include in the estimated cost of development?

Please provide an estimated cost of the development. It does not include those costs of development not being applied for in this permit application. You may be asked to verify the cost.

My application is for a minor change. Is there an easier way to get my permit approved?

VicSmart is a planning permit process that allows all local councils to assess and make decisions on minor planning permit applications more quickly. VicSmart has a number of advantages, such as:

  • a simplified application processing
  • no advertising of applications
  • information to be submitted is pre-set
  • decisions are (generally) made within 10 business days.

Planning applications which may be eligible for VicSmart assessment include:

  • minor buildings and works in a heritage overlay (this may include external painting)
  • small advertising signs
  • reduction of car parking requirements – some developments require several parking spaces, if the number of parking spaces cannot be provided on the site, you may still receive a permit, however you would have to apply for a reduction or waiver of the parking requirements
  • constructing a building or works of a smaller scale.

To help work out whether you are eligible for the VicSmart process, call 8290 3329.

How do I find out if my property is heritage listed? What does this mean for my application?

To check if your property is listed with Heritage Victoria, search the Victorian Heritage Database online. 

Heritage properties have certain restrictions on them to protect and preserve the history of the site. Restrictions might affect what you can do to the inside and outside of your business.

I’m not sure I have everything I need for my application. Can you help me?

Whether you are planning to open a new business or grow or change your existing business, we are here to make the process as easy as possible. Our business concierge team will help people considering purchasing, establishing or changing a business in Stonnington.

Providing insufficient or unclear information may delay your application, to avoid this you can:

  • speak to our planning team on 8290 3329 to discuss specific requirements.