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Council recommends new residential zones for Yarra

30 April 2014

Council has recommended new residential zones for Yarra that will guide future residential development and protect the city’s prized heritage areas.

The new zones were introduced by the State Government and will apply to every municipality in Victoria.

Click here to read more about the zones.

Councils have until the end of June 2014 to recommend to the Minister for Planning where the zones should apply, before the Minister makes a final decision.  

The State Government’s three new zones include the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (limited housing growth), the General Residential Zone (moderate growth), and the Residential Growth Zone (higher-density growth).

The new zones are restricted to Yarra’s current residential zone and do not relate to commercial, mixed use or industrial zones.

Under Council’s recommendation, the majority of Yarra’s current residential zone  – around 74% - would be in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, allowing for little change to Yarra’s heritage precincts. The maximum height for buildings within this zone would be eight metres, with a sliding scale for the number of dwellings that can be built, depending on lot size.

Council is proposing that the General Residential Zone apply to about 23% of Yarra’s current residential zone. This zone closely resembles Yarra’s current residential zone, but provides additional protections by including nine metre building heights. The current zone does not include any maximum building heights.

A number of sites – comprising 2.4% of Yarra’s current residential zone - have been potentially identified for the Residential Growth Zone. Council originally proposed not to apply this zone because rapid larger-scale development is already occurring in Yarra’s mixed-use and commercial areas. The State Government however, recently advised that all councils are required to incorporate the Residential Growth Zone in their recommendations. 

Properties identified for the Residential Growth Zone will be referred to the State Government’s Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee for further consideration and community input.

Yarra Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky said recommending the new zones was a significant challenge and responsibility.  

“The new zones represent one of the most significant planning reforms this Council has seen,” Cr Fristacky said. 

 “Along with limiting overdevelopment in neighbourhood heritage areas, the new zones, through mandatory building heights, will provide greater certainty for both residents and developers about the permitted scale and density of new developments.” she said.

“This is fundamental and significant.

“There has been widespread community response to the new zones, evidenced by the near 400 written submissions received and 200 people attending last night’s Council meeting.

“Council revised its final proposal, taking on board the range of feedback received by our community.

“In applying the new zones, Council aimed to deliver the best outcomes for Yarra as a whole, to protect Yarra’s residential heritage character, while identifying areas for housing growth.

“Yarra’s heritage properties are a valued asset not only for Yarra, but for the rest of Melbourne, providing an important link to our past and attracting domestic and international visitors.

“Council is proposing to the Minister for Planning that these areas are protected under the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, which would allow for limited change in about three quarters of Yarra’s current residential zone.

“Council also appreciates that Yarra has a significant role to play in accommodating extra housing growth to meet the needs of Melbourne’s growing population.

“It is important to recognise that more than 70% of Yarra’s residential growth has occurred in non-residential zones in mixed-use, commercial areas, and in former industrial sites. However, Council has identified some areas in its current residential zone where additional housing growth could occur.

“In response to residents’ concerns, Council will undertake a heritage gaps study in Richmond and Cremorne and a further review of heritage precincts in Abbotsford and Collingwood.”

Council will request that the Minister for Planning prepare and approve an amendment to the Yarra Planning Scheme to introduce the new residential zones.

To view the report considered by Council, visit the Council meetings webpage.

Further information
Strategic Planning Unit
9205 5023

Media enquiries
Bernadette Collins
Acting Senior Communications Officer
9205 5042




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