What is existing use rights?
What is an Existing Use?
Existing use occurs when your land is being used in a legal way, either with an approved permit or an approved use where a permit is not required, but then subsequent changes to the planning controls prohibit that use.
For example, you may have an existing permit to operate a factory in a large area zoned industrial, but that later gets re-zoned to Residential, effectively prohibiting its use. Alternatively, you may own a house in an area that was zoned residential, but has since been zoned commercial.
How do I prove Existing Use Rights?
By obtaining a Certificate of Compliance issued by Council which formally confirms:
- that an existing use or development complies with the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme (i.e. does not require a planning permit); or
- that a proposed use or development complies with the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme (i.e. does not require a planning permit).
In either case, the certificate states the facts at the date of the certificate. Unlike Council’s informal written advice, a certificate is a legal document and therefore has significant legal weight.
What are the benefits of obtaining a Certificate of Compliance?
A certificate can give certainty if you wish to confirm that a proposed development, such as an industrial activity in the Green Wedge, does not require a planning permit were this to be challenged in the future by an enquiring third party. It may also be useful to a person other than the developer who needs to rely on it, for example a financial institution lending on the security of the land.