Dwellings in Surf Coast's Farming Zone

One of the purposes of the Farming Zone is to ensure that non-agricultural uses, including dwellings, do not adversely affect the use of land for agriculture. Depending on the size of the lot and its location on the land, a planning permit may be required to construct a dwelling in a Farming Zone.

Farming zones in the Surf Coast Shire are important to agricultural production of the Region and the State. Increasing development pressure in rural areas, often associated with hobby farming and rural residential development is changing the rural landscape. Inappropriate use and development in rural areas increases the price of land above its productive value, decreases farm affordability, can lead to use conflict and results in the loss of agricultural land. Even if a lot is small and can't necessarily accommodate economically sustainable agricultural production in isolation, dwellings are generally discouraged. Policy encourages the consolidation of smaller lots or they may be used as part of a larger owned or leased farm holding.

You may find land in the Farming Zone that has other dwellings on neighbouring properties and you are wanting to do the same, however this does not necessarily mean that a dwelling will be supported on this land. Over time policy has changed, with a focus on strengthening agricultural production and discouraging dwellings, even where there are other existing dwellings in the area.

For those wishing to reside in a rural setting, the Rural Living Zone or Low Density Residential Zone are most suited.

If you wish to apply for a dwelling in the Farming Zone, it must be consistent with the following:

  • The dwelling is required to support productive agriculture occurring on the land

A description of the land management practice that will be occurring on the land must be provided for consideration. You must be able to demonstrate that the agricultural use is viable, and dependent upon the proposed dwelling. This will more than likely require the preparation and submission of a Farm Management Plan.

  • The land is a tenement

Clause 14.01-1L-02 of the Surf Coast Planning Scheme states that dwellings on lots below the minimum lot size should be avoided where the land is not a tenement or part of a tenement and the maximum number of dwellings on the tenement would be exceeded. The policy guidelines under this clause outline how to identify whether the land is a tenement or part of one. You may apply for Planning Property Advice to receive assistance in determining the tenement status of the land.

  • The proposal includes an appropriate land management plan

A land management plan provides details regarding how the land will be managed and enhanced for its sustainable long-term use and biodiversity protection. It should cover flora and fauna management, weed and pest control as well as soil and water management. Full details of a land management can be found below.

What is it?

This is an application to use and develop a dwelling in a rural area.

Your documents should help us to understand what impact your proposal will have on your property and the surrounding area.

Keywords: Dwelling, Rural, Farming, Agriculture 

Relevant links

Surf Coast Planning Scheme:

Application requirements

Required for ALL applications

  • Written description of your proposal
  • Fully dimensioned plans at a scale of 1:100:
  • site plans
  • floor plans (as applicable)
  • Any support documents and images (e.g. reports and photographs) (as applicable)
  • Report of selected materials, colours and finishes (as applicable)

Required for THIS application

  • Fully dimensioned plans at a scale of 1:100:
  • Site Plan which shows:
    • The boundaries and dimensions of the site.
    • The location of all buildings on the land.
    • The location of any significant features in proximity to the site including dwellings on adjoining land which are located within 100 metres of the proposed dwelling.
    • The location of the new dwelling.
    • Dimensioned setbacks from boundaries.
    • Details of all existing conditions on the land and farm layout including the location and use of existing buildings (as relevant) and proposed buildings on site.
    • Details of native vegetation to be removed and retained (as relevant) and any other biodiversity assets.
    • Location of access and driveways.
    • Waste treatment areas / the effluent disposal envelope(s).
    • Re-vegetation areas, including details of number and species.
    • Land management works (for example, fencing out stock).
    • Existing land uses on adjoining lots.
  • Floor Plans including internal layout of all floors of the dwelling and associated outbuildings.
  • Elevation Plans that shows:
    • Each elevation of the dwelling.
    • The materials and colours to be used in the construction of the dwelling.
    • Natural ground level.
  • A written submission, including:
  • Covering letter explaining the proposal and detailing how it will support the agricultural use of the land.
  • A response to the relevant decision guidelines of the Farming Zone Clause 35.07-6
  • Detail how the lot used for a dwelling meets the mandatory requirements of Clause 35.07-2

If the site is under the minimum lot size specified in the Schedule to Farming Zone

  • A Land Management Plan which details
  • Objectives of the property, i.e. will it be used for domestic, agricultural and/or environmental purposes.
  • Weed control - identify weed infestations on the property and the proposed method of control and timing for control (short and long term).
  • Native vegetation - location of any significant ecological communities on the land, including any significant flora and condition. Specify how indigenous vegetation will be managed (short and long term)
  • Fauna - identify any fauna species of significance and measures which will be undertaken to protect these species (short and long term).
  • Identify opportunities for improvement of habitat values on the land such as nesting boxes or fencing off areas from livestock.
  • Identify significant habitat corridors, areas proposed for re-vegetation or regeneration and provide a list of species, including quantity and botanical names, which will be used for re-vegetation. Providing details of timing for planting, fencing and program for fence maintenance.
  • Pasture - indicate any existing pasture areas located on the property, including areas that are either grazed or proposed for grazing.
  • Pest Animals - describe how pest animals (for example, rabbits) will be managed on the property (short and long term). Indicate any existing rabbit warrens and harbour (for example, log heaps, weeds such as blackberries and gorse).
  • Waterways - identify any existing waterway and/or wetlands and identify how they will be protected and enhanced (short and long term). Opportunities for re-vegetating riparian corridors should be investigate.
  • Salinity Areas - identify any salinity areas and associated recharge areas and document how they will be improved (short and long term).
  • Erosion - identify any existing erosion (gully or tunnel) and describe how they will be protected and addressed (short and long term).
  • Farm Management Practices - as appropriate, include current and future farm management practices and works i.e. proposed fencing or re-fencing, proposed farm tracks and dams, watering points, paddocks in need of pasture renovation etc.. Identify timing for the works (short and long term).
  • Identify areas of Cultural Heritage Sensitivity and how management practices will differ in these areas, e.g. no mechanical ripping of rabbit warrens.

Other permits/regulations you may need to consider

Onsite Wastewater Management System - Information can be obtained from Council's Environmental Health Department.

Vehicle Crossing Permit - to construct a new vehicle access point to the road. This can be obtained from Council's Infrastructure Department.

Building Permit - obtained from a Private Building Surveyor.



Contact us for advice

Our planning team is available by phone, email and in person.

Call     5261 0800

Email  planningapps@surfcoast.vic.gov.au

Visit    Our planning counter is open between 8.30am and 5pm weekdays at 1 Merrijig Drive, Torquay