“Relax,” said David when Libby mentioned she hadn’t seen any change to the status of our planning permit application on the Maroondah Council’s website. She thought a response should have popped up a little while after the job was assigned to a Planner.
“They’re busy people with lots of permits to review,” he added. Taking his advice to heart, Libby decided to let that particular pot come to the boil without her watching it on a daily basis. That seemed to do the trick. Well, that and David taking a holiday in Queensland.
Positive response from Council.
And there it was! The Planner had changed the status to “further information requested”. It was exciting to see the process in action. We now had a response that gave us something to work with.
After obtaining a copy of the request for more information, Libby initially thought there seemed to be quite a few items. Also, she wasn’t sure exactly what some of the terms meant. Who to ask? Who better than the people who are expert in interpreting requests from Council Planners? Off she went to the Maroondah Council offices to ask a Planner for guidance.
Apparently some of the people who roll up to the front desk and ask to speak to a Planner are not happy campers. Fortunately, Libby was there to ask them to help her so we could put together a response package that would meet their needs for further review. We didn’t want to waste anyone’s time by not getting the response right first time.
The Council Staff were helpful in their responses to her questions about clarifying the meaning of the requests. The comment that only having 9 items on the list was a good outcome pleased Libby as well. Requests for further information can run to several pages.
Back home, Libby carved up the list into a series of responsibilities and set a target to respond within 2 weeks. Responses range from a minor alteration on the subdivision drawings (Land Surveyor) to providing a drawing of the relationship between our houses and the neighbours (Draughtsman). I was signed up for providing more details about proposed tree removals.
If all goes according to plan, we’ll be back at the Planning Department with a complete package of responses before the end of September.
What did we learn from the response?
I think there are two lessons to be learned from this experience.
Firstly, putting time and effort into meeting the Council’s requirements for the application seems to have paid off in terms of the positive first response.
Secondly, Council staff were willing to help us so we could help them with the next stage of the permit review. They know what they are looking and were happy to share that knowledge with us.
What happens now?
While the focus is on finalising the planning permit, we can’t afford to ignore the preparation for the building permit. There are lots of people to talk to as we learned when David started making a to-do list. We are starting this process now so the transition from planning to building permit is seamless.
In between permit activities, I’ve whacked in a few more indigenous seedlings. My mini-forest at the back fence is coming along nicely with over 50 plants settling in. I was recently inspired by an article about growing a 100 year old forest in 10 years. Now that’s something to aim for!