Frankston City Council has developed an innovative program, called Priority Planning, to facilitate significant commercial precinct development within the Frankston city centre, industrial precincts, and potentially other parts of the municipality, which demonstrate significant economic benefit.
The process seeks to ‘cut red tape’ by ensuring more efficient planning decisions are made on applications that drive employment and/or activate the Frankston city centre, whilst encouraging high quality developments.
What does the process involve?
The first and most important component of Priority Planning is to commence the conversation with Council early. It is encouraged that pre-application meetings between Council and the applicant occur to provide early guidance and avoid unnecessary delays in processing the application, and for the Planning Department to ensure regulatory requirements are met within Council timeframes.
Council’s improved efficiency in processing planning decisions has been demonstrated with reduced processing times over a five-year period, as shown on the graph (pictured below). Recent applications such as the South East Water headquarters, The Peninsula on the Bay and Airio apartments are just some of the successful planning outcomes achieved under this efficient process.
The streamlined application process
As shown in the table (pictured left) there are two streams in the streamlined application process. Stream 1 deals with moderate sized applications that can be delegated to Council officers. Stream 2 deals with major applications with a development cost of over $ 5 million and/or three or more levels, which must be considered by Councillors.
The streamlined process encourages a number of the steps to be actioned simultaneously depending on the nature of the application. Council manages these applications to ensure that statutory and Council requirements are met within agreed timeframes, set according to which processes are required (i.e. further information request, internal / external referrals, notice, decision making method). Council's Economic Development, Events and Tourism Department becomes actively involved throughout the process, ensuring that such streamlined applications continue to move through the process.
So far, Council has approved several major developments utilising the stream 2 process. This has included Airio Apartments, a 14-level apartment tower; 446-450 Nepean Highway, an 11-level office tower, and; a four level aged-care facility at 411 Nepean Highway. All of these developments are located in the Frankston city centre and are also deemed by Council to carry significant economic benefit.