In the fifth of our article series providing legal guidance for those in the fitness industry, we’re sharing more advice from Scott McKenzie from Mills Oakley. This time Scott helps you understand how to secure a 24/7 gym permit.
It’s important to understand that applications for planning permits (including extensions to operating hours) must be delicately handled to optimise prospects for success. And particular importance is often placed on any impact to public amenity that the change may have.
Case: Genesis Fitness vs Glen Eira City Council
In this case, the Council initially granted a planning permit to use the land as an indoor fitness centre with a condition restricting the hours of operation from 6am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sundays.
Over the previous 12 years, the fitness centre had evolved. The current owner of the centre sought to operate the gym 24 hours a day.
The Council refused to grant the extension to the hours of operation, against a recommendation of the Council’s assessment officer, on the basis that the proposed unrestricted hours of operation would have an unreasonable impact on the residential amenity of adjoining properties by way of noise emission, car parking and artificial light. A number of adjoining residents supported this decision of the Council.
VCAT was satisfied that operation of the gym for individual or personal fitness training in the extended hours can be managed to maintain reasonable amenity to nearby residents. However, the hours for operation of more intensive use of the centre (e.g. for group fitness, child minding or massage therapy) should be constrained.
VCAT determined to allow an amendment to the permit, but only to allow 24-hour operation of the indoor fitness centre for individual or personal training so to preserve amenity.
Securing a 24/7 operating permit is like cardio. You’re going to get left behind if you don’t do it. Delicately managing your relationship with the council, sculpting a carefully considered permit application and monitoring your compliance with your obligations are all essential measures to safeguarding the longevity of your permits (and indeed your business).
To read previously published articles in this series click the links below: