Planning Services Glossary


Access/Accessway (Driveway) - The path used to approach the road from within a property. It refers to what is within the site only, not on the road reserve.


Amend/amendment - Changes or additions proposed to reflect new circumstances or to improve and /or change the way land can be used or developed.

Applicant – a person who applies for or requests a planning permit.


Building Envelope - Shows the outline where buildings can be built, including the setbacks to the property boundaries and the maximum area of a building footprint.


Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) – Applies to land that might be significantly affected by bushfire. The BMO triggers the need for a planning permit for certain uses, developments and subdivisions, and requires appropriate bushfire protection measures. The CFA and the Department of Planning have a variety of useful resources for anyone developing in an area subject to BMO.


Caveat – A claim from any given party to an interest in the land. Caveats are listed on the Certificate of Title. Example of reasons of a caveat include an easement or a mortgage being held on the property. You can purchase a Certificate of Title from the Landata website. 


Consolidation - The joining together of two or more lots to make a single larger lot.

Construct – to build or erect something.

Copy of Plan (Title Plan) - A document that shows the subdivision of an original parcel of land, including legal boundaries and location of the parcel/s. It includes a diagram of the property. You can purchase a Title Plan from the Landata website

Copy of the Title - The copy of the 'original' title held in the Land Registry. This includes information relating to who owns a piece of land and any mortgages, covenants, caveats or easements affecting the land. You can purchase a Copy of the Title from the Landata website

Covenant - a registered agreement which can be placed on a land title to either ensure the owner undertakes a particular activity or are stopped from undertaking certain activities.

Crossover - The connection from the edge of a property to the road. This might cross the footpath, nature strip or kerb. More information on the considerations for new access to a property or creating a new crossover can be found on the Victorian Government website.

Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) - A written report that includes an assessment of the potential impact of a proposed activity on Aboriginal cultural heritage. See First Peoples – State Relations, for useful resources on preparing a CHMP. 


Dwelling – Refers to a building that is capable of being used as a self-contained residence (including kitchen, bathroom, and sanitary facilities). 


Easement – A right attached to a particular piece of land allowing for a specific use of that land. An easement may also mean there are restrictions on the use of that piece of land. For example, a utility company may be allowed use of the land for pipes or power infrastructure, and you may not be able to build on that portion of the land. Easements are recorded on each property’s Certificate of Title. You can purchase a Certificate of Title using the Landata website.


Effluent Disposal Area – The area dedicated to the treatment and discharge of wastewater. This is normally a septic tank or leach drain. 

Elevations (Elevation Plan) – An image that shows the sides, including dimensions, of a building, sign, or structure. Elevation Plans should include dimensions and orientation, with each side labelled as the north, south, east, or west facing side.

Endorsed Plans (Approved Plans) – Plans that have been ‘stamped’ or approved by the Responsible Authority (normally the council) and are part of a planning permit. Any development must be carried out in accordance with these plans. 

Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO) - Applies to land of environmental significance, such as habitat of the swift parrot. The ESO triggers the need for a planning permit for certain uses, developments, and subdivision, and requires consideration of ways to minimise the impact of development on the environment.

Exemptions – If particular criteria are met, some proposals may be exempt. For example, siting a shed close to a waterway or road reserve may trigger the requirement for a planning permit. If the proposed site of the shed can be moved, this might result in exemption from the requirement for a permit. 



Farming Zone – A zone intended to be used for agricultural purposes. Aims to ensure ongoing protection of productive farmland and that non-agricultural uses do not detract from that purpose.



Heritage –Individual places or a defined area (known as heritage precinct) protected as places of significance.



Industrial Zone - A zone intended to be used for the manufacturing industry and the storage and distribution of goods.



Landscape Plan – A plan drawn to scale showing the proposed site design, as well as boundaries, structures, paths, and driveways. It should include all current and proposed vegetation (including names), a planting schedule of proposed vegetation, quantities, and sizes at maturity. 


Landata - a business focused on delivering property information including title, survey, valuation and property sales, property certificates and planning certificates through their network of data information brokers, online service and in person.


Lot (Allotment) – Land that can be sold separately without being subdivided. 



Native Vegetation – includes vegetation indigenous to the region including, although not limited to, trees, shrubs, and grasses.


Native Vegetation Offset  Aims to balance the impact of removing native vegetation. This offset might include protecting, increasing the amount, or paying to have native vegetation planted elsewhere. More information on securing an offset can be found on the Victorian Government website.


Overlay – An additional control on land. Aimed at controlling developments related to and potentially affected by flooding, bushfire, heritage, or environmental significance. The overlay on land will impact how the Responsible Authority will assess a planning permit application and any conditions placed on the permit. 


Planning Consultant – Planning professionals that can be engaged by applicants to assist with preparing a planning permit application. 


Planning Permit - A legal document that allows a certain use and/or development of land.

Planning Scheme - Controls land use and development within a local government area. Contains state and local planning policies, zones, overlays, and other provisions that affect how land can be used, developed, and protected. The Northern Grampians Planning Scheme can be found on the Department of Transport and Planning website.

For more information relating to planning schemes in general, visit the Department of Transport and Planning website.   

Potable Water – Water that has been treated to meet Australian guidelines for safe drinking water. 

Pre-Application Process – A process to help identify any planning issues prior to lodging an application. This helps the applicant to understand the information needed to include in their planning application and get accurate guidance early in the process, which helps the application process to be smooth and efficient.

Provisions - General operational requirements that are consistent across the state. 


Road Reserve – The area of land set aside for potential road construction. It might include nature strips, roads and unused land and is generally fence line to fence line.


Referral Authority (Referrals) – An internal department of the council or an external authority who provides specialised comments relating to flooding, traffic, animal welfare, or electricity. For example, the Planning Team may seek specialised advice from the engineering department of the council, from the Department of Transport, or the CFA. 

Responsible Authority - The decision-maker on planning permit applications, normally the local council.

Request for Further Information (RFI) - A Responsible Authority seeking more information from an applicant before they can make their assessment to grant a planning permit. Common requests include a copy of an up-to-date Title (three months old or less), fully completed application including development cost, or a more detailed site plan. 

Rescode - Is a provision included in all Victorian planning schemes and the Victorian Building Regulations to prescribe requirements for the siting and design of residential buildings, including dwellings in Victoria.

Reticulated Water Supply – Piped water.

Rural Living Zone – A zone intended to provide residential use in a rural environment and for agricultural uses, which do not adversely affect the amenity of surrounding land.


Secondary Consent – Permission from the Responsible Authority allowing for minor changes to the endorsed plans to be made, after a permit has been granted. Secondary consent requests cannot change the wording or conditions of the permit. An example of changes sought under secondary consent might include amendments to the landscaping or a change to the colour of an external wall.


Section 173 Agreement – A legal contract between the council and another party that determines what can or cannot be done on any piece of land. A Section 173 Agreement can be recorded on the Title of the Land and applied to future owners and occupiers of the land. 

Setbacks – The horizontal distance from a boundary or building.

Site Plan – A birds-eye view of the site. A site plan may include details of existing and proposed property boundaries, buildings, vegetation, driveways and roads. Site plans should also include dimensions and orientations and may include annotations. Insufficient site plans are one of the most common reasons Responsible Authorities request further information, therefore ensuring they are detailed is important.

Example-of-existing-and-proposed-site-plan.pdf(PDF, 134KB)

SPEAR - An online system that allows subdivision planning permits, certification applications and other land administration dealings to be compiled, lodged, managed, referred, approved and tracked online.

Subdivision – The process of dividing a property into smaller lots that can be sold separately or the realignment or altering of title boundaries.



Title An official record of who owns a piece of land. Can also include information relating to mortgages, covenants, caveats and easements affecting the land. You can purchase a Certificate of Title from the Landata website


Title Search (Search Statement) – Shows the information held by the Victorian Register of Land at the time the search is conducted. Includes the registered proprietors’ names and addresses, mortgage details, and information about other encumbrances affecting the land.You can purchase a Title Search from the Landata website.

Township Zone – A zone intended to be used for residential development and a range of commercial, industrial, and other uses in small towns.

Trafficable Width – A sufficiently wide road, accessway or crossover, appropriate for emergency vehicle access. 

Transport Zone (TZ) – Land zoned for transport such as roads and railways. Zone 1 includes major transport infrastructure and Zone 2 includes the roads in the principal road network, including declared arterial roads. 

Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) – The three-dimensional extent of the space a tree occupies above and below ground, that is set aside for the protection of the tree.  


VicSmart – A streamlined assessment process for straightforward planning permit applications.


Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) – The body that resolves disputes and makes decisions relating to planning permit applications and objections. You have a right to appeal to VCAT if you feel a planning decision is misguided.



Zone States how the land can be developed or built on and details what is prohibited.