Understanding Planning

Why Planning decisions are important for our region?

The Horsham Community Vision(PDF, 2MB) document describes our community's hopes, ideas and aspirations for the future of the Horsham Rural City region. Planning decisions support this and shape how Horsham will be a more vibrant and liveable hub that thrives on strong economic growth and social connectedness.

Understanding the Planning Scheme

The Planning scheme is a legal document prepared by Council and approved by the Minister for Planning. It contains policies and provisions that control land use and development by guiding decisions of Council and other authorities.

The Planning Scheme:

  • Is made up of both Ordinance and Maps
  • Separates incompatible land uses so that we don’t have inappropriate development for an area
  • Applies to all private and public land and is binding on everyone (with some exemptions)
  • Triggers referral with other important authorities outside of Council and guides their decisions on issues relating to overlays.

The administration and enforcement of a Planning scheme is the duty of Council as a responsible authority or where specified in the scheme it may be other authorities.

Planning Scheme Ordinances

Planning Scheme Ordinances are the policies and written clauses that control land use and development. They include the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS), Planning Policy Framework (PPF), Zones, Overlays and Particular Provisions that affect how a lot can be used and developed. Each ordinance has a number associated with it, for example, the ordinance number associated with the General Residential Zone is '32.08'. The tabs below outline key aspects of the Planning Scheme Ordinance.

02 - Municipal Planning Strategy

Each Council has a unique Municipal Planning Strategy and can help shape the individuality of a region. The Municipal Planning Strategy is considered with every planning permit application.

The Municipal Planning Strategy is a local strategy that encompasses the following:

10 - Planning Policy Framework

The Planning Policy Framework (PPF) encompasses different aspects that must be considered in any Planning Application. These include:

  • Clause 11 - Settlement
  • Clause 12 - Environmental and Landscape Values
  • Clause 13 - Environmental Risks and Amenity
  • Clause 14 - Natural Resource Management
  • Clause 15 - Built Environment and Heritage
  • Clause 16 - Housing
  • Clause 17 - Economic Development
  • Clause 18 - Transport
  • Clause 19 - Infrastructure

Each Clause listed above have further sub-clauses. For example, under the umbrella of Clause 16 - Housing, is Clause 16.01-3S - Rural Residential Development and Clause 16.01-3L - Rural Residential development - Horsham. In this instance, the "S" stands for "State". This means the policy is included in every planning scheme in Victoria. The "L" stands for "Local". This means that the particular Clause is localised and only relevant for Horsham.

30 - Zones

Every property only has one zone.  Zones aim to avoid conflict between different types of land uses and ensure development is appropriate for an area. Common zones include:

  • Residential zones (such as the General Residential Zone (GRZ), Township Zone (TZ), Low Density Residential Zone (LDRZ).
  • Industrial zones (such as the Industrial 1 Zone (IN1Z) and Industrial 3 Zone (IN3Z).
  • Commercial zones (such as the Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z) or Commercial 2 Zone (C2Z).
  • Rural zones (such as the Rural Living Zone (RLZ) and the Farming Zone (FZ).
  • Public Land zones (such as the Public Use Zone (PUZ), Public Park and Recreation Zone (PPRZ), Public Conservation and Resource Zone (PCRZ).

If you click on any of the links associated with the Zones above, you may notice that these Zones have 'Schedules'. These 'Schedules' are unique to Horsham and aim to localise the Planning Scheme for our region.

If you want further information on any of these zones or are looking to prepare a Planning Permit application, please visit the Planning Information & Fact Sheets page.

40 - Overlays

Overlays operate in addition to zones.  An overlay may seek to achieve certain design and building standards for a lot. Some of the different overlays are outlined below:

  • Environmental and Landscape Overlays (such as the Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO), and Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO).
  • Heritage and Built Form Overlays (such as the Heritage Overlay (HO), Design and Development Overlay (DDO) and Development Plan Overlay (DPO).
  • Land Management Overlays (such as the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), Land Subject to Inundation (LSIO), and the Floodway Overlay (FO).

Not all lots are subject to an overlay. If an overlay applies to a lot, it may specify additional requirements in relation to subdivisions, buildings and works, vegetation removal and other matters.

Just like Zones, Overlays also have 'Schedules'. These 'Schedules' are specific to Horsham and also aim to localise the Planning Scheme for our region.

If you want further information on any of these overlays or are looking to prepare a Planning Permit application, please visit the Planning Information & Fact Sheets page.

Find out what Zones & Overlays apply to your land!

You can search your property address here to generate a Planning Property Report and to view the zones and overlays that apply to your property.

You can also visit VicPlan for an interactive map that shows both the zones and overlays applying to your land.

If you need further assistance to generate a Planning Property Report, please visit the Generate a Planning Property Report page.

If you need further assistance understanding the Planning Scheme, you can visit any of the links below:

Understanding the Planning Permit Application Process

There are several steps to the Planning Permit process. However, not all applications require every step but the steps are outlined below.

Purpose of a Planning Permit

Planning considers the way land is used and developed, and how this impacts the character and amenity (liveability) of the municipality.

Horsham's Planning Scheme is what guides decision making and outlines objectives, policies and controls for the use, development and protection of land. Council assesses proposals for the land through Planning Permit regulatory process that is aligned with the Planning Scheme.

A Planning Permit is a legal document that gives you permission to use or develop land in a certain way. It usually includes conditions and approved plans which must be complied with.

Common reasons why Planning Permit's are triggered

Planning Permit's are triggered through the Horsham Planning Scheme. There are plenty of Clauses in the Planning Scheme that trigger the need for a permit, however the most common reasons are outlined below.

  • Dividing land into two or more seperate lots


  • If the property is under 300sqm in an urban area, and you wish to develop the land with a dwelling or extend an existing dwelling
  • It is proposed to construct a dwelling in a Farming Zone on a lot less than 40 hectares
  • It is proposed to construct more than one dwelling on a lot
  • The property is in a rural area and the land is under the minimum lot size in the zone
  • Overlays on the land related to heritage, bushfire, flooding, or other environmental reasons
  • The dwelling does not meet the setbacks in the zone
  • It is proposed to construct a shed that is not associated with agriculture or a dwelling in a rural area.

Rural Dwellings in a Farming Zone Information Sheet(PDF, 3MB)

Sheds and Agricultural Buildings
  • The property is under 300sqm in an urban area
  • There is no existing dwelling on the property
  • Overlays on the land related to heritage, bushfire, flooding, or other environmental reasons
  • A shed in a Farming Zone that is not associated with agriculture
  • A shed that does not meet the setbacks identified in the zone.
Vegetation Removal
  • If the vegetation proposed to be removed is native and the property is over 4,000 sqm
  • To remove non-native species of vegetation if the property is within a Heritage Overlay (HO) or Environmental Significance Overlay (ESO)
  • There are Planning Permit conditions or other restrictions or agreements applying to the property
  • The property is outside of a Bushfire Management Overlay and you do not have exemptions to create or maintain defendable space in areas affected by a Bushfire Management Overlay (see Vegetation management for bushfire protection).

    Native vegetation is not just trees and includes native grasses, areas of bush or scrub, wetlands and rushes.

Native Vegetation

Businesses in Township or Farming Zones
  • Use or development of land
  • Use of an existing building for business
  • Displaying advertising signs
  • Street trading and other statutory Planning requirements
  • A business that requires a liquor licence
  • Hours of trading allowed under a liquor licence are to be extended
  • Patron numbers under a liquor licence are to be increased
  • The licensed area (‘red line’) is being extended.

Liquor Licence