The City of Greater Bendigo is one of four Victorian councils trialling a new planning code that intends to streamline the application process for new granny flat-style buildings.
The Secondary Dwelling Code facilitates the development of small, permanent additional dwellings, such as granny flats and garden studios, on the same lots as existing homes in residential areas.
Under the code, secondary dwellings are limited to five metres in height with a maximum floor size of 60 square metres.
There must already be a dwelling on the lot, and the proposed building must be the only additional dwelling on the lot.
The site must also meet the minimum garden area requirements of the zone (and other siting and design requirements), and there is no ability to subdivide so a lot contains only a secondary dwelling.
Applications the meet the code requirements will go through the existing VicSmart process, with assessments made within 10 business days.
It is intended that the streamlined application process will reduce the burden on both applicants and council planning departments.
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The new code does not apply to dependent persons units - also often referred to as granny flats - which are moveable dwellings that can only be used by a person who is dependent on someone living in the main residence on the lot.
Greater Bendigo - along with Murrundindi, Moreland and Kingston councils - are taking part in the pilot between August this year and March next year.
The government says secondary dwellings provide greater housing options for an ageing population, multigenerational families and lower-income households.
Applications for larger secondary dwellings that do not meet the requirements of the code will go through the regular planning permit process.
More information on the code and the application process is available on the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning website.