COVID-19 Planning Information 

In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic the City of Vincent and the State Government have introduced a series of changes to the local and state planning legislation, frameworks and schemes.

These changes aim to remove barriers within the planning system to support businesses and enable flexible responses in a changing environment.

What is the City of Vincent doing?

To make it easier for businesses to adapt during this period, Council at its 30 March 2020 Special Council Meeting approved temporary uses and temporary changes of use to occur without requiring planning approval.

For example, if you operate a restaurant or café in the City and want to temporarily change the use of your premises to only offer takeaway in response to COVID-19 then you would not require planning approval.

Council has also approved additional delegations to decrease the number of applications requiring determination by Council and therefore reducing application processing times. These updated delegations are effective as of 3 April 2020 and can be viewed in Clause 16.1.1 of the City’s Council Delegations Register.

What is the State Government doing?

On 8 April 2020 the Minister for Planning issued a Notice of Exemption in response to COVID-19 which outlines a range of temporary exemptions from certain approvals and requirements, including for the following:

These temporary exemptions apply to certain changes including the following:

  • Businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use and associated temporary works;
  • Restaurants and cafés required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions;
  • People operating their businesses from their homes in residential zones;
  • A two-year timeframe extension for all current planning approvals;
  • Parking shortfalls associated with non-residential development;
  • Businesses needing to change signs;
  • Companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times;
  • Parking commercial vehicles on residential properties; and
  • Medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources

More Information

Contact the City’s Planning team at mail@vincent.wa.gov.au or 9723 6000 between 8:30am to 5:00pm so we can provide assistance.

  • The property must not be zoned Residential. To check this, please refer to the City’s online maps here and click on the ‘Local Planning Scheme No. 2’ module.
  • The use is not prohibited in this zone. To check please refer to the zoning table in the information sheet available
  • No more than two food businesses can be registered at the property. If unsure, please contact the City’s Health team via mail@vincent.wa.gov.au or 9723 6000 between 8:30am to 5:00pm.
  • Prior to commencing the change the City and adjoining residents should be notified in writing.

This exemption expires 90 days after the current State of Emergency for Western Australia has ended. After this a planning application is required to continue operating.

FAQ's

Where can I see exactly what is exempt?

For planning approval exemptions during COVID-19 please refer to the information sheet available here.

If I intend to utilise any of the planning exemptions do I need to do anything?

Yes. You must notify the City within 7 days of taking up the exemption you can send an email to statutory.planning@vincent.wa.gov.au include your name, property address and the exemption you are proposing to use i.e. Restaurant now operating takeaway.

Do I need to notify my neighbours that I’m taking advantage of these exemptions?

Yes. They should be notified in writing and this should include the following:

  • The nature of the use, change or works that is occurring.
  • The details of any operations or any operational changes
  • The business or property owner/occupier’s contact details in case of any issues arise.

All adjoining residents should be notified in accordance with the diagrams below:

Draft letters that can be adapted to suit individual circumstances have been prepared to assist with this communication and are linked below:

The City has also prepared a guide to effective neighbour communication which is available here.

What if I decide to continue the business after the State of Emergency has ended?

If you want to continue operating a business that is only exempt during the State of Emergency then you will need to lodge for Planning Approval. It is recommended that you apply as soon as possible to avoid any delays.

Do I need planning approval to change the use of my business, such as to change my restaurant to only offer takeaway?

Planning approval is not required, subject to the following:

  • The property must not be zoned Residential. To check this, please refer to the City’s online maps here and click on the ‘Local Planning Scheme No. 2’ module.
  • The use is not prohibited in this zone. To check please refer to the zoning table in the information sheet available here.
  • No more than two food businesses can be registered at the property. If unsure, please contact the City’s Health team via mail@vincent.wa.gov.au or 9723 6000 between 8:30am to 5:00pm.
  • Prior to commencing the change the City and adjoining residents should be notified in writing.

This exemption expires 90 days after the current State of Emergency for Western Australia has ended. After this a planning application is required to continue operating.

Do I need planning approval to start a new business?

Planning approval is not required, subject to the following:

  • The property must not be zoned Residential. To check this, please refer to the City’s online maps here and click on the ‘Local Planning Scheme No. 2’ module.
  • The use cannot be not prohibited (i.e an X use) in this zone. To check please refer to the zoning table in the information sheet available here.
  • No more than two food businesses can be registered at the property. If unsure, please contact the City’s Health team via mail@vincent.wa.gov.au or 9723 6000 between 8:30am to 5:00pm.
  • Prior to commencing the change the City and adjoining residents should be notified in writing.

This exemption expires 90 days after the current State of Emergency for Western Australia has ended. After this a planning application is required to continue operating.

Do I need planning approval for temporary works associated with the change to my business or my new business?

Planning approval is not required for temporary works associated with the following uses:

  • Shop;
  • Restaurant/café;
  • Convenience store (excluding those selling petroleum products);
  • Consulting rooms; and
  • office.

This is subject to following:

  • No new permanent structures are required (with the exception that car parking bays are permitted);
  • The land is connected to all reticulated utility services, and does not depend on any onsite effluent disposal;
  • The property is not Heritage Listed; and
  • Compliance with the relevant Health and Building requirements and legislation.

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked, after this a planning application is required if you do not want to remove the temporary works.

Do I need planning approval for medical or health-related activities associated with COVID-19 response?

Planning approval is not required for the use of land, or for works on land where these relate to medical or health related activities in response to COVID-19.

To take advantage of this exemption confirmation must be provided by the Department of Health that the activities are necessary in response to COVID-19.

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked, after this a planning application is required to continue operating or so to not have to remove the works.

Do I need approval to setup a Home Business or work from home?

No. Temporary home businesses can be set up without planning approval from the City provided that:

  1. You are operating in a Residential zone or
  2. Where a dwelling (Single, Multiple, Grouped) is a permitted land use

You may require approval from the City’s Health Team for any food or skin penetration businesses.

Please be aware that this approval is temporary for 90 days or until the date the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to affect or revoked. A planning application will be required to submit a following this to continue operating a home business.

I have a Commercial Vehicle (greater than 3.5GVM) do I need approval to park this at home?

No. However any proponent who wishes to commence use of this exemption must notify the local government within 7 days.

Example: If you are a delivery driver or have a similar service and need to temporarily park your vehicle at home in response to COVID-19 requirements.

Please be aware that this approval is temporary for 90 days or until the date the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to affect or revoked.

My approval has a condition limiting delivery times for my business, can I now receive deliveries of good and services for my business at any time?

Yes. Loading and unloading of goods and petroleum is to still be undertaken in accordance with other relevant legislation (such as health, road traffic) with regards to matters such as noise, odour, traffic management and the like.

Does this exemption mean I can start receiving my good and services outside of the loading and unloading times now?

Yes, however any proponent who wishes to commence use of this exemption must notify the local government within 7 days.

Does this mean that I can now operate my business without any unloading or loading time restrictions?

No. The exemption under this clause will only remain in effect until 90 days (3 months) after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked.

After this time, restrictions for loading and unloading will return in full effect and must be complied with at all times. 

I don’t think I will be able to substantially commence my development within the 2 year timeframe, what can I do?

Any development approval that was still valid on the 8th April 2020 is eligible for an additional 2 years to commence development.

Example: This means if your approval was due to expire 10th April 2020 your new expiration date is the 10th April 2022.

This applies to any development approval granted on or before the date upon which the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked. 

Do I still need to comply with the car parking requirements if I want to establish a temporary use?

You do not need to meet the parking requirements for a temporary business if:

  1. You are proposing non-residential development; and
  2. The shortfall is not more than 10 parking bays.

Example: I am proposing a takeaway café and required 8 parking bays but have no onsite parking.

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked after this a planning application is required to continue operating.

I have a condition to pay cash-in-lieu for parking on my existing approval, I cannot afford this right now what can I do?

We want to help ease the financial burden during this time, until the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked you do not need to continue to make payment.

This applies only to non-residential development that has a condition to pay cash-in-lieu. 

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked.

Do I need approval to start serving takeaway food at my business (restaurant/café, tavern, hotel or similar venue)?

No.

Example: I have approval for a ‘Restaurant’ as defined under the City’s Local Planning Scheme No.2 which refers to sale of food and drinks for consumption on the premises in provided seating. The current restrictions do not allow for this and I want to switch to takeaway only. No approval is required.

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked after this a planning application is required to continue operating. 

If you would like to continue operating this additional portion of your business after the exemption period you will be required to lodge a development application.

I have an existing liquor license for my business and want to offer takeaway, what do I need to do?

Proponents are advised to visit the Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor (RGL) website - https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/racing-gaming-and-liquor/liquor/liqour-applications/state-of-emergency-direction-occasional-liquor-licence which details the parameters in place and application form.

What if I want to get a liquor license for my business?

Proponents are required to lodge an application with Department of Racing Gaming and Liquor (RGL). Details regarding the application form, fees and licensing types are available on their website - https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/racing-gaming-and-liquor/liquor/liqour-applications/new-licences 

I need to make some alterations and additions to my building to be able to operate a takeaway food service, what do I need to do?

You do not require planning approval for any works that are minor and temporary in nature. Eg. Installation of a service window.

You are still required to obtain a Building Permit.

Once the State of Emergency Declaration period ceases, the works are to be removed and the building made good (returned to its previous appearance). Should you wish to make these works permanent, a development application is required.

This exemption does not apply to heritage protected places. If your building or tenancy is heritage listed/protected by the State or Local Government, please contact your Local Government to discuss the application process.

I want to install some additional signage to notify patrons of my new business operations, do I need approvals for this?

No planning approval is required. However, only if you meet the following criteria:

  1. signage is not installed in a residential zone;
  2. signage relates only to the business conducted on the premises; and
  3. signage does not contain any illumination, animation, movement, reflective, retro-reflective or fluorescent materials in its design structure.

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked after this a planning application may required to continue operating.  Any additional signage after this time may be subject to an application and approvals with your local government

I want to modify my existing business signage to reflect the changes to my business operations as a result of COVID-19 do I need any approvals?

No. You can make modifications to your existing approved signage to reflect changes to your business provided that:

  • The signage is not located in a residential zone;
  • The signage is not displayed on a Heritage-Protected place;
  • The signage relates only to the businesses conducted on the premises; and
  • The changes do not:
    • Alter the size of the approved sign; or
    • Contain any illumination, animation, movement, reflective, retro-reflective or fluorescent materials in its design structure.

Example: You have a café/restaurant business and you wish to alter your existing approved signage to specify ‘takeaway only’, or similar. You are exempt from requiring planning approval provided the changes meet the above requirements.

This exemption expires 90 days after the State of Emergency Declaration ceases to have effect or is revoked after this a planning application is required to continue operating.