The Sands Torquay is a diverse, unique and integrated golf course development located adjacent to a sensitive foreshore environment and the Karaaf Wetlands which require ongoing review.

Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ2) an Overview

The Sands Torquay is a diverse, unique and integrated golf course development located adjacent to a sensitive foreshore environment and the Karaaf Wetlands within the Surf Coast Shire. The planning requirements for this zone were developed by the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) and approved by the Surf Coast Shire Council (SCSC) to reflect both the sensitivity and importance of this site.

The ARC was constituted under an agreement (between the Surf Coast Shire Council and the estate’s developer – Golden Wood Pty Ltd & Patrick and Helen Handbury) pursuant to Section 173 of the Planning and Environmental Act 1987, and the ARC was also a specified requirement of the Sands Estate’s planning code, CDZ2.

The Sands Torquay development’s planning requirements are contained in Schedule 2, of “The Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ2)”. Under this zone a building permit isn’t required to construct a dwelling on a lot. However a dwelling must be in accordance with “The Sands Torquay Building and Environmental Management Code (the Code)”. This requires the dwelling plans to be approved by SCSC as being “to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority”. The responsible authority is the ARC.

“The Code” was prepared to ensure that the Sands development had appropriate and consistent housing styles, materials and lifestyle environmental controls. The code was developed by the ARC, which had been established to manage the approvals process for the Sands development.

The ARC is a legally constituted entity to both define and manage the approvals process. It provides a recommendation to the SCSC on compliance with the Code. The SCSC then makes the decision to approve or refuse the plans.

Current Situation

  • All lots have now been sold including the hotel and golf course;
  • There are only 6 undeveloped lots on the estate;
  • The Sands architect is currently being funded by the Owners Corporation (OC1) as the estate’s developer has ceased funding the ARC;
  • The SCSC’s preferred approach is to wind up the system of external review (the ARC) and implement the key standards from the code as permit exemptions under the CDZ2. This is an incentive based approach where development which meets the standards can proceed without a permit.
  • This will simplify the process making it a one stage instead of two and remove the funding obligation from the Owners Corporation (OC1).

The council has amended the CDZ2 as a draft to reflect their preferred approach and allocated a budget of $17k to fund the community consultation. The amended CDZ2 contains all the core building and siting requirements as defined by the ARC in the Code and will be circulated to all lot owners.


Aerial photo of the wetlands and walk bridge between the 15th and 16th holes.

Next Steps

The Sands lot owners must review the amended CDZ and provide their feedback. This can be done to their OC1 Committee Member, Austin Swain or directly to the council. If the feedback is supportive the Surf Coast Shire will approach the minister for approval to proceed formally.

The SCSC’s amended CDZ2 is a draft document for consideration and feedback. All lot owners will receive notification from the council and the amended document will also be advertised and comment sought.

The Owners Corporation advised by the lot owners, their planning lawyer and their planning advisors will carefully review all feedback to ensure that it maintains the values that the estate was established on and lot owners’ responsibilities under their “Environmental Management Plan” .

The Sands Community meeting will be held at “Peppers the Sands” at 2pm, on Sunday July 1st . All lot owners are urged to attend.

Changing the CDZ2 requires an amendment to the Surf Coast Planning Scheme. The council must first obtain approval from the Minister for Planning to prepare the amendment; it is then publicly exhibited and submissions may be made opposing or supporting the amendment. The council will look to resolve any conflicts and then decide whether to adopt the amended document.

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