Dec 222010


VCAT’s deadline for objectors to submitting their Statement of Grounds forms is Friday the 24th, but as VCAT is closed on Friday, VCAT cautioned it best to get these forms in on or before Thursday 23rd December.

Blank copy of Form B Submission of Grounds:
VCAT Form B Statement of Grounds and VCAT Form A Information

A copy needs to be served to all of the following parties…


The Principal Registrar
Planning and Environment List
Fax 03 9628 9789

Developer (Applicant), Developers Representative:

John Cicero at BEST HOOPER Solicitors
Fax 03 9670 2954

Hobsons Bay Council:

Hobsons Bay Council
Mark Tenner
Planning and Building
Fax 03 9932 1039

 Posted by at 4:06 pm
Dec 202010

Here are our notes on last Fridays VCAT Practice Day Hearing. This VCAT session is primarily for VCAT to understand the scope and magnitude of the developer’s application, and schedule future hearing days and time required for them.

Attending were the applicant (developers solicitor), Hobsons Bay Councils solicitor, and a representative of the numerous objectors.

Observations of hearing (unofficial).

VCAT Practice Day Hearing 17th December 2010 at 10am
VCAT Reference Number: P3214/2010
Regarding: 6 Paine Street Newport VIC 3015

Parties appearing:

John Rantino (Maddocks solicitors representing Hobsons Bay Council).
John Cicero (Best Hooper solicitors representing the developer Peter Cahill).
Melissa Gojak (representing herself as an objector and speaking on behalf of other objector’s sentiment).

Also present:

Mark Tenner (Hobsons Bay Council Planner).

Observers notes of hearing:

1.       Statement of Grounds submission period ends 23rd December 2010.

2.       Statement of Grounds submission required for any objector to be represented at VCAT.

3.       Rantino requested developer’s VCAT application should be considered under Section 77 (Refusal to grant a planning permit) not Section 79 (Failure to grant a permit within prescribed time), this was agreed to by Cicero and accepted by VCAT.

4.       Rantino requested mediation hearing date be pushed back as Mark Tenner is on leave during the scheduled hearing date.  Similarly supported by Gojak. Cicero similarly requested push back of mediation hearing as the developers architects are also on leave. A date of the January 18th was proposed, and accepted by VCAT.

5.       Gojak identified that although only ½ dozen Statement of Grounds had been served so far, it is expected every objector will serve a Statement of Grounds (approximately 80).

6.       Cicero requested a representation order be made so that all objectors are represented by a smaller number of delegates at mediation/final hearing. VCAT so ordered. Gojak was identified as one representative, and others will be named and VCAT informed prior to mediation.

7.       Cicero stated that it is unlikely the developer will amend plans and resubmit, but may provide part plan amendments. VCAT clarified any plans for discussion purposes must be circulated no later than 5 days prior to mediation.

8.       VCAT reiterated Statement of Grounds submission period ends 23rd December 2010.

9.       VCAT scheduled mediation date of 18th January 2010 at 2:15pm, but this is subject to confirmation by VCAT.

10.   Timing of Final Hearing remains the 7th February, at up to three days, with the following estimates by involved parties:
– 1 day and a bit by Cicero for developers submissions (approximately 6 witnesses being called).
– Up to 1 day by Rantino for Council submissions (1-2 witnesses being called).
– Up to 1 day for objectors’ representatives’ submissions.

Here is a PDF copy of these notes: Observation of VCAT Practice Day Hearing 17th December 2010

 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Dec 172010


As mentioned earlier the developer is appealing against Councils refusal decision and hope VCAT will approve their proposal via mediation or judgement.

As far as VCAT is concerned objectors have the right to be heard and/or represented at the VCAT hearings, but objectors must complete a Form B. STATEMENT OF GROUNDS and serve it to VCAT, the Council, and the Developer before next Thursday the 23rd December.

Only six Statement of Grounds have been served so far, and unless the rest of the objectors get theirs completed, objectors will have little say in what happens at VCAT.

Fellow objectors are available to assist you complete the forms and get them served. If you have not yet been contacted and offered assistance, email and someone will come and help.

Also, objector representatives are volunteering to attend the VCAT hearings on behalf of the many who cannot show up personally, so you don’t need to show up yourself, but you must serve a Statement of Grounds form to be involved in any way whatsoever.

It cannot be emphasised more strongly how important that these forms are completed and served in order to be heard at VCAT.

Blank copy of Form B Submission of Grounds:
VCAT Form B Statement of Grounds and VCAT Form A Information

 Posted by at 2:59 pm
Dec 102010

Following Council’s refusal of the developer’s proposal, the developer has submitted an appeal to VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal).

Please read this summary of recent correspondence and make sure you read the IMPORTANT section at bottom of this post.

Everyone who objected to the development will have by now received a letter and attachments posted to them from the developers solicitor Best Hooper. Here is an extract from the letter…

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re:    Permit Applicant: Peter Cahill
VCAT Reference No. P3214/2010
Subject Land: 6 Paine Street, Newport
Planning Permit Application No. PA1020902

We act for the permit application in the above matter.

As directed by the Tribunal, we enclose by way of service the following:

(a)    copy Application for Review against a failure to grant a planning permit within the prescribed time;
(b)    Information form (A); and
(c)    Statement of Grounds form (B).

Please be advised this matter has been listed in the Major Cases List and the following dates have been allocated:-

Practice Day Hearing 17 December 2010 10:00am
Mediation: 11 January 2011 10:00am
Hearing: 7 February 2011

Yours faithfully

John Cicero

Enclosed with the above letter is a copy of the developers solicitors’ application letter to VCAT, and the application form. It is important to note that the applicant has three reasons to select from as the basis for requesting a VCAT review:

[X] Failure to grant a permit within the prescribed time (section 79)
[  ] Refusal to grant a planning permit or an amendment to a planning permit (section 77)
[  ] Conditions in a permit (section 80)

The application has chosen “Failure to grant a permit within the prescribed time“, and documented the timeframe calculations (enclosed Reference 1) where they reflect Council took too long to grant/refuse the permit. Also enclosed is a copy of the applicants planning permit (Reference 2).


Although the developer is appealing to VCAT on the basis of the timeframe it took Council to review the planning application, (according to VCAT) VCAT could hear and consider the entire application. You will notice in the developers appeal form to VCAT (section 8 Hearing conduct, time and complexity) they have request VCAT mediation and estimate they will take 8 hours to make their submission, and will bring 6 expert witnesses to the VCAT sessions. So it would appear the developer is not simply preparing to talk about more than just timeframe issues.

Shortly will follow another post on this website outlining the next steps objectors should take. Which will include the critical step of completing in triplicate and submitting the Statement of Grounds (Form B) as soon as possible. And we will be requesting volunteers to assist objectors with that task via photocopying and posting assistance.

Also being considered is a call for volunteers to speak at these hearings on behalf of groups of residents, as its a difficult time for objectors to turn up in person this time of year.

 Posted by at 5:44 pm
Dec 082010

The Hobson’s Bay Council recently sent out letters to objectors notifying them of the Council’s refusal of the developers proposal. The cover letter reads as follows…

Planning Permit Application No. PA1020902
6 Paine St, Newport VIC 3015
Construct four three-storey buildings comprising 46 dwellings and a reduction in on-site car parking.

After careful consideration of this application and of all objections received, it has been decided to refuse the application on the grounds listed in the enclosed Notice of Refusal to Grant a permit.

The applicant now has a right to appeal against this decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). If an appeal is lodged, you will be advised by VCAT and will have a further opportunity to speak against the proposal.

Should you have any questions regarding this refusal please contact me on 03 9932 1157.

Yours faithfully
Mark Tenner
Team Leader Town Planning

Here is a copy of the refusal: Councils Refusal to Grant a Permit

This is as expected/hoped, and also as expected the developer will apply to VCAT on some grounds. You will read in the next post, that the developer has already applied to VCAT. More details of that shortly.

 Posted by at 6:41 pm