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QLD Commercial Lease - Planning Approval Needed?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by brianwilkinson, 16 July 2014.

  1. brianwilkinson

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    My partner and myself have recently decided to open a personal training studio in Redlands, Brisbane. We were advised to check all the necessary licensing involved and in doing so we where told we needed planning approval from the council. When we got a planner in he quoted us upwards of $5000 to submit an application. What does all of this mean? Is it necessary or required under commercial law? Thank you for any assistance.
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Brian,

    Where you are converting a building's purpose of use from something prior into a personal training studio (or some other purpose), you will need a planning permit from your city council, Redlands. This is because your Council must first give you authority to change the purpose of the land/building and to use it in another way. Even if both purposes (prior and new) are for a commercial use, because the specific use is different, you will need to first get Council approval. This is also so that Council may change the purpose of use on their records for this particular property.

    You do not necessarily need a professional planner to do this. I suspect that the $5,000 quoted includes service charges and work done by the planner. The actual application fee to the Council should be lower than this. The cost of the application depends on, among other things, the nature of the change and the fact that this property is for commercial and not residential use.

    - Ask your Council to give you a copy of the planning permit application form/pack.
    - If you like, you can ask Council for a breakdown of the costs.
    - Some councils have planners working in-house who may be able to inspect the property and give you a quote for free or at a minimal charge. Ask if this is available.
    - Many applications recommend that you obtain a professional third party, but this is really for ease of mind and so that all relevant documents/measurements are made according to requirement. Depending on what is required for your particular planning permit and the planning classification, you may be able to make the application yourself, with the aid of previous plans (where you are not changing the structure, outer and inner, of the building). Again, first ask for the application form/pack.
    - Make sure you note down all verbal correspondences with the Council, including who you spoke with and at which times. If you can, verify verbal correspondences in a subsequent email to the person with whom you spoke. This is because that person, or whomever is responsible for your case, may leave or be unavailable later on and things you previously agreed upon may be misplaced in Council notes or recorded incorrectly. It is best to have a written version of events from your point of view.
     
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  3. brianwilkinson

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    Thank very much for your reply.
    Other than the cost for the planner's services, am I essentially paying for the councils approval to operate my business within the property? or are there any other factors that contribute to the price of the application?
    Say hypothetically I leased this same property (which used to be a retailer of pet supplies) and i was leasing it to also sell pet supplies, would it still be a legal requirement for me to get council approval to open this store, if so would I still be charged with fees?
    Thank you for any further assistance.
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Brian,

    1. You should not be charged with an approval fee per se. The application fee would most likely include, amongst other charges, administrative fees, processing fees, altering of the electronic record in relation to your property and possibly further inspections by Council in relation to compliance with specific regulation/code/legislation.

    Do you know which regulation and/or code the Council is using? This would give you a better idea of what the requirements are and what the planning permit application is for (aside from change of purpose of use/reclassification, if any).

    2. If the use of building does not change - so if it was a pet store before and it remains a pet store just with a change of ownership/management - then you would generally not require a planning permit. However, a change of purpose is only one of the main purposes for a planning permit. Any structural alteration (however small, inside or outside of the building) may require a planning (and building) permit. Changes to drainage/plumbing or land might also trigger the need for a planning permit. The best way would be to ask Council to make an evaluation of your situation, usually done by filling in a form with prior (or current) plans and proposed plans, and getting in writing, a response from Council on whether or not you require a permit. This is usually accompanied by a small ($100) processing fee. This is recommended as otherwise, Council may later seek enforcement where it turns out that an approval was needed where there wasn't one already obtained.

    Speak with your local Council and ask them what the planning permit is for and whether a reclassification is required. It may turn out to be a simple procedural action that is recommended for any change of ownership/management or it may be a reclassification of the purpose of the building/land.

    Again, note that costs/fees for a commercial property/use are generally dearer than that for residential properties/uses.
     
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  5. brianwilkinson

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    sorry if i don't transfer this next bit of information very well. In the email I received their is a table containing the level of assessment- code assessable, (1)not in sub-area (a)MC4 (b) MC5 (c) MC6 (d) MC8. Applicable Codes- Major Centre Zone Code, Access and parking code, Centre design code, erosion prevention and sediment, control code, excavation code, infrastructure works code, landscape code, stormwater management code.
    Schedule 1- access & Parking
    1 space per 10m2 gross floor area plus the requirments of any associated restaurants, medical centre, squash courts ect.
     
  6. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Brian,

    It appears that apart from changing the purpose of use of the property/building, there are also other assessments that need to be done by Council, including land and environment assessments. This is something that a planning department would assess when you apply for a permit. As such, it would appear that a planning permit is required.

    It is difficult to understand these codes without the relevant regulation(s) and guidelines/codebook. You would be best to make an appointment with the Council and ask:

    - What these codes refer to. They are usually happy to explain what the permit is (or permits are) for. They should have provided you with the relevant regulation and codebook with their correspondences. If not, you can easily find out by asking the Council.
    - Ask to make an appointment with the Council planner. They are best placed to explain the purpose of the permit application and what that particular council requires. Councils have discretion as to what they require and how much leeway they give to residents in relation to implementation of requirements, waivers and time for compliance. Get as much information as you can and explain your particular situation to the Council planner and see if there are options in what you can apply for (in terms of seeking approval) in your planning permit.
    - You should also be able to get some information from the planner you contacted earlier and ask them for a breakdown of the costs and the chance (in their opinion) of approval and rejection in your type of situation. At the very least, they should be able to refer you to relevant regulation/codebooks so that you have a better point of reference as to what you are required to do.
     
  7. brianwilkinson

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    Thank you very much for all of your help, I genuinely appreciate you taking the time out to assist me with these questions
     

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