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Planning Enforcement

Planning schemes are designed to regulate the use and development of land and protect vegetation where appropriate, to meet agreed community objectives. A planning scheme is a law that regulates the way land can be used and developed. As with any other law or regulation, planning schemes are only effective if their requirements are enforced.

The responsible authority (which in the case of the Maroondah Planning Scheme is Maroondah City Council) is required by law to enforce a planning scheme.

Enforcement will occur when there is a clear breach of the Planning and Environment Act, the planning scheme, permit condition or Section 173 agreement and the breach warrants enforcement, especially if it causes detriment to the community or compromises development standards. The main emphasis of enforcement is to obtain compliance rather than on prosecuting offenders, however, punishment for some types of offences may be necessary as a deterrent.

Depending on the nature and seriousness of the problem, the responsible authority can do one or more of the following:

  • Negotiate informally with the alleged offender to obtain compliance.
  • Serve a planning infringement notice – usually for less serious breaches or matters.  A planning infringement notice is the same as an on the spot fine.
  • Prosecution in the Magistrate’s Court. This may be needed to follow up either an infringement notice or an enforcement order. The court can impose a fine of up to $120,000 plus court costs .
  • Apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an enforcement order to achieve compliance.
  • Apply to VCAT for an interim enforcement order where there is a need for immediate action.
  • Request VCAT to cancel or amend a permit – for example, for a substantial failure to comply with the conditions of a permit.
  • Contempt charges for non-compliance with Enforcement Orders can be heard before VCAT or a Court with fines of up to $500,000 or 5 year jail terms. 

Other enforcement options may be available in certain circumstances, including seeking injunctions from the courts or in rare cases carrying out the works to secure compliance and then seeking to recover the costs.

Council employs Planning Enforcement Officers to assist with planning enforcement matters.

Paying a Planning Infringement Notice

If you have been served a Planning Infringement Notice, you can pay in the following ways:

  • online - you will need to enter the Reference Number found on your Infringement Notice
  • in person at our Customer Service Centres
  • by mail to Maroondah City Council, PO Box 156, Ringwood 3134.

Further information

If you are uncertain whether your proposal requires planning approval, or to report a planning infringement, please contact Maroondah City Council Statutory Planning on 1300 88 22 33.

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