Jul 20

Reading the Yellow Signs


Ryan St Brown HillYellow signs appear on the streets of our area to advertise that a developer wants to do something. You must read it, talk to you neighbours, ring the council, read the application. This is the only way we can stay informed. One of our members tells the story that on first read she saw 14 dwellings and 35 blocks, thinking this was 14 dwellings altogether.  What it actually meant was 14 townhouses built together as well as 35 separate small blocks.  A very big difference indeed.

It’s imperative that when planning applications are made that the Ballarat East community has the opportunity to make submissions, comment on the nature of these and the effect they would have on such things as Neighbourhood Character, Good Design, the environment and population density (to name but a few) and attend mediation meetings where they are set, to contribute to the way our neighbourhood has been developed.

If you DO see a yellow sign (euphemistically referred to as “The Yellow Peril” -as a result of recent over-development in the Ballarat East area) on a fence post or on a stake on a block of land please read it carefully and give consideration to the following; as these are things YOU as a resident can do.

If you see one of these signs it means an application has been made to the Ballarat City Council planning department.  The Planning Department will determine if the application needs to be advertised. This can be in the form of letters to neighbours, an advertisement in the local paper or “The Yellow Peril”.  It is good that we take note of these signs so we can follow up on the nature of the application.


Once you spot a sign and you are concerned about what is mentioned in it – even if you are not sure, talk to your neighbours and those around you to find out what they know about it, and their opinions.  You can look up the Ballarat East Network (BE Net) website http://ballarateast.net to see if is referred to there or get in touch with them (info@ballarateast.net) if it is not so others can be alerted to it through the blog.


Go into the Ballarat City Council (or check the website), where the Planning Officers can give you more information about the application – you have every right to see the plans and ask questions to ensure that you understand what the developer or owner is whoever is planning.


The parts of the sign are: (note the items down that are in bold or take a pic with your phone)
  • Land affected:  this is the address that the planning application is for
  • The application is for a permit to: This is the important part, what is it saying?  Once again go to the Ballarat City Office and speak to the Planning Department to clarify if you need to and look at the plans. The city has now got these plans online, however go in if you need help to access these.
  • Applicant name: Who is making the application
  • Application Reference:  eg PLP/2012/number this year


Lodging an objection is free and must be done during office hours at Ballarat City Council. Ask them to stamp it with the date to show acknowledgement and receipt-KEEP A COPY FOR YOURSELF.


  • anyone can lodge an objection -(you don’t need to be a legal guru, if you are worried about a development, chances are others are too, someone has to get the ball rolling, and don’t think someone else will do it as they may not and then it could go through with limited scrutiny)
  • it must be in writing (email is okay as long as you get a reply email that its been received)
  • it must include reasons for the objection,
  • it must include how the objector will be affected
  • include any reasonable planning concerns that you have (concerns about traffic/drainage/garbage/development, as well as items mentioned above)
  • be careful to look for the timeframe in which objections need to be put in by, go to the e-services site at Ballarat City Council for submission closing dates.
  • after the closing date advertised you can still object, check with the Planning Department (there is usually one Planner who will be handling that application, it’s useful to find out who that person is for future communication) to see how many other objections there have been.  If there are others there could be a chance that there will be a moderation meeting regarding the application.


If the planning scheme specifically states that advertising is not required, or if council is satisfied that the application will not have a negative impact or cause material detriment to any person, the application will not be advertised, so keep your eyes out and your ears to the ground.


Cheers  Alice

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