Scheme Amendments 

A local planning Scheme Amendment is a change to the City's Local Planning Scheme. 

What is a Scheme Amendment?

A Scheme Amendment is the process to make a change to the Local Planning Scheme. The process is determined by the State Government’s Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015

You may have heard of the term ‘rezoning’, when the zone over a property is changed from one to another. The zoning of a property is what determines the ‘uses’ and ‘development’ that may be allowed on that land (refer to the Local Planning Scheme page to learn about zones).

When is a Scheme Amendment required?

Scheme Amendments occur for different reasons, such as:

  • a change in zoning to accommodate development
  • a change in the R-Codes to increase residential density
  • a change in the Scheme’s wording
  • to correct any inconsistency or error

How do I request a Scheme Amendment?

There is no formal application form for the consideration of a Scheme Amendment.

Information should be detailed in a letter addressing all relevant considerations, including:

  • the address of the subject lot or lots
  • an accurate description of the requested change to the Scheme
  • justification for the application (referencing any applicable Council strategies or policies)

Concept plans or other supporting information further clarifying the purpose of the requested change may be required. 

The initial request, including full justification and explanation, should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer and submitted by email or post.

What is ‘Spot rezoning’?

This is where a rezoning is requested over an individual property, such as a change to a zone, residential density coding or building height limit. ‘Spot rezonings’ are generally not supported outside a wider review of the Scheme.

‘Spot rezoning’ will generally only be supported if the particular site-specific circumstances are unique, the requested rezoning is of a special or urgent nature, and the resultant development will not adversely affect surrounding areas. Rather, the request should relate to a broader, more logical area, or be considered as part of a major Scheme review.

Types of Scheme Amendments

There are three types of Scheme Amendment defined by the Regulations:

  • Basic - a streamlined process for predominantly administrative Scheme Amendments.
  • Standard - for Scheme Amendments of less strategic significance or complexity that are neither a basic or complex amendment.
  • Complex - for Scheme Amendments that are significant in scale and/or inconsistent with the planning framework.

The City will determine the type of Scheme Amendment based on the information provided in the Regulations.

Do I need to use a Planning Consultant?

It is recommended to use a Planning Consultant given the sometimes complex nature of the process and matters that need to be considered. A Planning Consultant will prepare the Amendment document, which will be used throughout the process:

  • providing the basis for the City’s report to Council
  • the advertised document
  • for forwarding on to the Western Australian Planning Commission for consideration and decision.

What information needs to be included in a Scheme Amendment?

A Scheme Amendment document template has been prepared and is provided at the bottom of this page to guide applicants in the preparation of their own Scheme Amendment documents.

The City strongly recommends that applicants follow this standard format, as it will assist in ensuring that all relevant information is included within the report.

However, it should be noted that this list is not definitive and additional sections and/or figures may be required in relation to specific amendment proposals. In some cases the information may not be required if it has no relevance to the proposed scheme amendment.

What is the process for a Scheme Amendment?

When undertaking a scheme amendment, the City must follow the process contained in the Regulations. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website contains flowcharts for the Scheme Amendment process. 

The steps generally involve the following:

Initiation of Scheme Amendment

Following an assessment of the application, a report will be submitted to the Council to determine if the amendment should be initiated. Should Council resolve to refuse to support initiating the amendment, the applicant will be advised accordingly. If Council considers an application has merit, it may resolve to initiate a scheme amendment for the purposes of public advertising.

EPA Referral

If Council resolves to initiate the amendment, the amendment documents will then be referred to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to determine whether there is a need for an environmental assessment to be undertaken and to seek approval to advertise.

If it is determined that the amendment is a complex amendment, the City must also seek approval to advertise from the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

Advertising

On receipt of approval to advertise the amendment, the City will arrange advertising in accordance with the Regulations. The consultation period is a minimum of 42 days in the case of a standard amendment, and a minimum of 60 days in the case of a complex amendment.

Consideration of Submissions

Following the advertising period, a report on any submissions received will be prepared and referred to Council. Should Council resolve to adopt the scheme amendment with or without modifications, the City will forward the submissions together with Council’s comments and recommendations to the WAPC. Should Council resolve not to adopt the scheme amendment it must still forward the documents to the WAPC.

Final determination

The WAPC will make a recommendation to the Minister for Planning who makes the final determination on all scheme amendment applications. If the Minister agrees to grant final approval, the City will then arrange for the scheme amendment to be published in the Government Gazette, at which point it legally comes into effect.

 

How much and how long does it take?

The application fee depends on the complexity of the proposal. For instance, a ‘standard’ Amendment commonly costs between $7,500 and $10,000.

The Scheme Amendment process is lengthy and complex, usually involving consideration at two ordinary Council meetings, a public consultation period (except for ‘basic’ Amendments), and processing at State Government level, before being finally determined by the Minister. It is usually the case that this process takes nine to twelve months and sometimes longer.

How are Scheme Amendments advertised?

The Regulations require ‘standard’ Amendments to be advertised for 42 days and ‘complex’ Amendments for 60 days.

The advertising process for ‘standard’ and ‘complex’ Amendments will always involve:

  • The provision of all relevant information on the City’s Your Say page
  • a notice to be published in the local newspaper
  • the Amendment document to be made available at the front counter of the City Administration building 
  • an invitation to comment to all relevant government agencies that might be affected by the proposal.

In most cases, directly affected landowners will be contacted by letter and made aware of the proposed Amendment. These landowners will be directed to the City’s Your Say page for details on the Amendment.

Sometimes a sign will be erected on the site, but only when a practical location can be found.

‘Basic’ Amendments are not required to be advertised.

Related Information

Local Planning Scheme

Structure Plans, Activity Centre Plans and Local Development Plans

Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage

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