MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire’s Planning Services department is patting itself on the back about being the busiest in the state.
Data released by the shire shows the department processes about 2100 planning applications and receives more than 37,000 phone calls a year.
Last financial year the department completed 77 per cent of the 2187 planning decisions within the statutory time frame. On top of this, the unit determined a total of 581 amendments to planning permits, 536 secondary consents and 408 extensions-of-time requests.
“This is a total of 3712 statutory decisions made for a wide range of planning permit matters,” planning services executive manager David Bergin said.
“Also, the team maintained a strong record at VCAT with more than 64 per cent of cases being decided in favour of the council.”
Mr Bergin said figures for the latest quarter showed strategic projects and Peninsula Wide teams “delivered a significant number of critical projects to ensure the shire is preparing for the long-term future land use planning pressures facing the peninsula”.
Over the financial year, he said, the team completed several major strategic projects later adopted by council, including the Housing and Settlement Strategy, Activity Centres Strategy Review, Tootgarook Wetland Management Plan and Industrial Areas Strategy.
Also, an extra 14 major planning scheme amendments were prepared and progressed to varying stages. These included the adoption of the Cresswell Street rezoning (Amendment C210), exhibition of the Mornington Peninsula Stage 2 Heritage Overlay (Amendment C214) and Western Port Land Subject to Inundation (Amendment C216).
“This equates to an enormous amount of work prepared by the team for the council’s consideration,” Mr Bergin said.
The planning compliance team has also been “very busy” this past financial year taking on a record 1508 investigations and completing 1194. The team issued 58 infringement notices, and was involved in 19 VCAT proceedings and nine magistrates’ courts proceedings.
The mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the “entire team does an outstanding amount of work that is reflected in the statistics across all of the planning services unit”.
“This demonstrates how busy the team is working to ensure we protect and enhance the unique characteristics of the Mornington Peninsula,” he said.
The shire has an area of 723 square kilometres and a population as recorded in the 2016 census of about 155,000.