Planning Process and Development Plan Overlay (DPO)

What planning process is BSL going through?

We’ve been working with the Yarra City Council and the State Government to ascertain the possibilities and the appropriate planning for the project.

Our view is that the planning process that bests suits and that will provide a framework for development of a site this size is a Development Plan Overlay (DPO). It involves work not only by BSL, but also government, local council and expert advisors.

What is a Development Plan Overlay (DPO)?

A DPO is a planning framework to guide future development of land, such as an outline development plan, range of land use, built form guidance and design requirements. It is issued by the State Minister for Planning. A permit approval process follows and will also include community input.

The gazettal of a DPO is one part of a wider project approval process. The work BSL is doing to reimagine the Fitzroy site will take a significant amount of time and will offer many opportunities for stakeholders and the community to contribute.

Why has BSL chosen to apply for DPO?

BSL has applied for a Development Plan Overlay (DPO) to give us flexibility to consider a wider range of options for what might be done on our Fitzroy site in the future. This includes consideration of heights above the level that is proposed under the City of Yarra planning scheme.

The DPO proposed for the BSL site aims to facilitate future development on the site in a coordinated way.

Has BSL worked with the City of Yarra?

Yes. BSL has met with Yarra City Council's Council Community Services, Councillors and Planning areas. We have presented the DPO work and received valuable and detailed Council Planning Officers’ input and advice. We are grateful for that and will continue to work cooperatively with the Council.

What is the status of the DPO application?

BSL has submitted the DPO application to the Department of Environment Land Water Planning (DELWP). Recognising that BSL is now working to finalise a new organisational strategy, and given recent changes in leadership, BSL has decided to delay progress of the DPO, and will provide the further information requested by DELWP after completing more community consultation and after we have an updated and Board approved Strategic Plan.

What happens if/when BSL resumes the process to complete the DPO application?

After receiving the requested information from BSL, DELWP will provide a report to the Minister on the merits of the DPO application under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 ( (page 57 onwards).

The Minister will then consult with the Responsible Authority (Council) and the community (e.g. neighbours) to ensure that community views about the application are heard before a decision is made.

The Minister may seek an Advisory Board to advise on the merits of the DPO prior to determining the outcome of the Application.

What happens if/when the DPO is approved?

If the DPO is approved, BSL will need to prepare, and submit (via a Planning Permit Application) a Development Plan which meets the requirements of the DPO. This needs to be approved by the Responsible Authority (the Minister for Planning) prior to any works commencing.

What heights are BSL looking at for the site?

We have not committed to any heights.

BSL has engaged experts to help us understand the possible built forms for the site, and a range of indicative future built-form studies have been completed to assess impact and support the DPO application.

We have examined the potential impact for neighbours, including visual impact and overshadowing of public spaces and footpaths. The indicative studies suggest that structures between two and four storeys along street frontages and a centrally located area of up to 12 storeys could be possible.

Why would BSL want a 12-storey building?

This is an indicative maximum for assessing a range of options. BSL has not yet made any plan that would require such a height.

What will the development design look like?

We don’t know yet, as we have not settled on the core concepts required to brief or appoint design architects.

Will there be any allowance for open space?

Yes. Open space has always been a part of BSL's history and remains a part of our service delivery.

Can the public view the DPO?

Not yet. The DPO is currently in draft form and will evolve. We committed to the Privacy Code of Conduct via a DPO application and, as such, have not formally presented information to the public until advised by the Authorities (both Council and State Governments).

When we finalise the application, the department will put the DPO application out to the community for consultation. This will not be before 2023.

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