How we assess planning applications

Find out the assessment process, what to do if we need more information, if someone objects, and how we decide the outcome. 

You can log in and track your application progress online at any time.


Council has 60 days to decide on a planning application.

For VicSmart applications, a streamlined 10-day process applies. For more information, visit VicSmart planning applications

The assessment process

Initial assessment

A planning officer will review your application to make sure it is complete.

If we need more details or have initial concerns, we’ll contact you within 28 days. 

We ask for more information if needed

Council requires a minimum standard of information to assess your application.

We may write to ask you for more information. For example, plans, supporting reports, or details about the proposal. The letter will list a date by which you need to send us the information.

The 60-day assessment timeframe is paused to allow time for submitting the information. It is then reset to zero when we receive the information.

Making changes to your application

You can make changes at any stage including:

  • when responding to our request for more information
  • where we have raised concerns with your proposal
  • if responding to objections
  • if you decide to change your proposal.

For changes after the advertising period, fees apply.

To make changes, you can upload plans and documents to your application online.

Timeframe: When you change your application, the 60-day assessment timeframe resets.

Referrals to other authorities

We may need to refer your application to internal Council departments for feedback. For example, we may consult with our heritage advisor if the property is in a Heritage Overlay.

We also refer some applications to external authorities for advice and comment. For example, applications in the Special Building Overlay - Schedule 1 will be referred to Melbourne Water. These ‘referral authorities’ may object or specify certain conditions to be included on the permit.

Community consultation

Notifying neighbours (advertising)

We notify neighbours of planning applications if they may be affected by the proposal.

This process is called advertising, which can take the form of:

  • sending letters to neighbours
  • displaying signage on the property.

Advertising takes 14 days and is part of the overall 60-day time frame. Read more about advertised planning applications.

Objections to the proposal

If your application is advertised, we may receive written objections to your proposal. Anyone can object to an application, and we must consider all objections. However, objections must state the reason for the objection.

Objections can be submitted at any stage of the planning process, with most received during the advertising period.

You can respond to objections. Responding allows you to address objector concerns and may lead to minimising or withdrawing objections.

Read more about objections.

Consultative meeting

If we receive many objections, we may arrange a consultative meeting. This is an informal discussion between the applicant, objectors, Ward Councillors, and planning officer. It’s an opportunity to better understand the application, ask questions, and discuss any issues.

You can negotiate changes during a consultative meeting, but a final decision will not be made at the meeting.

Final assessment and decision

Planning decisions are made by either the planning department or Council during a Council meeting.

To assess the application, the planning officer prepares a report including:

  • a description of the proposal and the land
  • review of any referral advice
  • review of any objections
  • assessment of the proposal against the Stonnington Planning Scheme
  • a recommended decision.

A planning decision can be one of the following:

  • a planning permit, with no objections received
  • a ‘Notice of Decision’ to issue a planning permit, with objections received
  • refusal to issue a planning permit if Council does not support the application, with or without objections received.

We email a copy of the decision and the officer's report to the permit applicant and any objectors.

About the Notice of Decision

A ‘Notice of Decision’ to issue a permit means we intend to grant a permit but can only do so after the appeal period. Objectors have 28 days to appeal a decision. If no appeals are made, the permit will be issued.

After your permit is issued

  • Read and familiarise yourself with your permit conditions. You may need to meet extra requirements before you start. For example, you might need to submit amended plans or documents.
  • Check if you need additional approvals, such as a building permit or tree works permit.
  • To change your permit after it has been issued, visit change or extend a planning permit.

Many planning permits include conditions that require you to submit amended plans, called 'Plans to comply'.

Before you can start any works approved by the permit, you must provide these plans and we must approve them. You can upload these plans to your application online.

Start now

Alternatively, you can send us your plans in writing with a cover letter.

If unhappy with the outcome, applicants and objectors can appeal a decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Find out how to appeal a planning decision.