Zones and Overlays

Both zones and overlays affect how land can be used and developed.


The planning scheme zones land for particular uses, for example, residential, industrial, business or other. The zones are listed in the planning scheme and each zone has a purpose and set of requirements. A zone may also specify information that must be submitted with a planning permit application. The zone also contains information relating to land uses, subdivision of land, construction of new buildings and other changes to the land.

A zone sets out land use controls in three sections:

  • Section 1: Land uses that do not require a planning permit.
  • Section 2: Land uses that require a planning permit.
  • Section 3: Prohibited uses.

Some uses are not allowed on land in a zone because they may conflict with other uses; for example, industry is prohibited in the General Residential Zone.


The planning scheme map may show that a piece of land has an overlay as well as a zone affecting it. Not all land has an overlay and some land may be affected by more than one overlay.

If an overlay applies, the land will have some special feature such as a heritage building, significant vegetation or flood risk. The overlay information will indicate if a planning permit is required for the construction of a building or other changes to the land. An overlay may specify information that must be submitted with an application for a planning permit.

More information on zones, overlays and the Victorian Planning Scheme can be found at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

A property report can identify what zones and overlays affect your property, which can be obtained from Planning Maps Online.

Update to Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) Mapping

The State Government has announced its intention to update its Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) mapping to identify areas across Victoria considered to be exposed to extreme bushfire risk. This initiative is being undertaken in response to recommendations made in the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Details of the initiative can be viewed at website of the Department of Environment Land Water & Planning.

The Baw Baw Planning Scheme already applies the BMO to bushfire risk areas. If implemented, this initiative will extend application of the BMO in the Planning Scheme. Currently around 3,067 new properties are proposed to come into the BMO around Baw Baw, and proposed that schedules will streamline the permit process for 60+ residential lots.

Application of the BMO can trigger the need to obtain a planning permit for new developments and it requires new buildings to be constructed in a manner that improves their resilience to bushfire attack.

This is a State Government initiative. The planning scheme amendment to introduce the extended application of the BMO will be processed and approved by the Minister for Planning and not by Baw Baw Shire Council. At present no date has been identified when the new BMO provisions will be introduced into the planning schemes across the State, however introduction of the new provisions are anticipated to take immediate effect upon approval.

Maps of the proposed Bushfire Management Overlay

Maps of the proposed BMO can be viewed at the DELWP website. Please note that these maps do not distinguish between the existing and the proposed BMO areas.

The State Government is not seeking submissions on the proposed amendment. 


Enquiries regarding the Ministerial Amendment to introduce the proposed BMO maps should be directed to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

If you have a query on what the BMO does and what its requirements are, please see the department website.

If after viewing this information you still have a query, please contact Strategic & Community Planning team on 03 5624 2411.