New Residential Zones

In April 2014, Council recommended new residential zones for Yarra.

The process for implementing the new zones requires two separate amendments to the Yarra Planning Scheme, Amendment C176 and draft Amendment C179.

The zones determine the level of housing growth that can occur in residential areas of Yarra, including the height and density of new developments.  

The three new zones were introduced by the State Government and apply to all municipalities in Victoria.

The new zones are:  

Neighbourhood Residential Zone – provides a high level of protection for neighbourhood character and limited opportunity for increased residential development.  

General Residential Zone – encourages moderate growth and housing diversity in areas with good access to services and transport. 

Residential Growth Zone – provides for increased housing growth and density.  

Councils were given until the end of June 2014 to recommend to the Minister for Planning were the zones should apply. If no recommendation was made before that time, the current residential zone would default to the General Residential Zone.  

The new zones are restricted to Yarra’s current residential zone (Residential Zone 1) and do not apply to commercial, mixed-use or industrial areas, which fall under different zones.

 The State Government has introduced a default residential zone to Yarra known as the General Residential Zone. This zone will apply until a decision is made on Council’s preferred options for the new residential zones. The General Residential Zone came into effect on 1 July 2014 and replaces the former Residential 1 Zone.

Council’s recommendation

At its meeting on 29 April 2014, Council determined to recommend to the Minister that:

  • The Neighbourhood Residential Zone apply to the majority of Yarra – about 74%. This zone would allow for limited change to Yarra’s heritage precincts and would restrict building heights to eight metres, including a sliding scale for the number of dwellings that can be built depending on the size of the land.

  • The General Residential Zone apply to about 23% of Yarra. This zone is the most direct translation of Yarra’s current residential zone, but with the added protection of maximum building heights of nine metres. (Yarra current residential zone has no maximum building heights).  

  • The Residential Growth Zone apply to 2.4% of Yarra’s current residential zone. Council originally proposed no Residential Growth Zone because significant housing growth is already occurring in Yarra’s commercial and mixed-use areas. The State Government however later advised that all councils were required to incorporate the growth zone into their current residential zones.

A map outlining where the new zones are proposed appears below:
pdf format New Residential Zones Map - July 2014 (3.67 MB)

In applying the zones, Council aimed to achieve a balance of protecting its prized heritage areas, while identifying areas that could accommodate housing growth to meet the needs of Melbourne’s surging population.  

Council believes that by specifying building heights and dwelling numbers, the new zones offer greater certainly to residents and developers about what type of development can occur in Yarra, plus greater protection against inappropriate or overdevelopment.  

Council has also proposed addition controls to the zones, known as 'schedules'. An overview of the schedules for each zone appear in the document below:
docx format Summary table of zones and schedules - July 2014 (17.24 KB)

To read the report considered at Council’s meeting, which includes detailed information about Council’s proposal, visit the Council Meetings webpage.

Amendment C176
Council’s recommendations for the Neighbourhood Residential Zone and the General Residential Zone have been submitted to the Minister for Planning. The proposal is known as Amendment C176 to the Yarra Planning Scheme.

Draft Amendment C179
Sites identified for potential inclusion in the Residential Growth Zone will be referred to the State Government’s Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee for further consideration and for residents and owners of those properties and neighbouring properties to provide feedback. The draft amendment for further consideration by the committee is known as Draft Amendment C179. After the completion of the advisory committee, the committee will prepare a report for the Minister for Planning.

Heritage studies

A number of residents and property owners raised concern about the impact of the zones on areas believed to be of heritage significance. In response to these concerns, Council will conduct a heritage gaps study in Richmond, which is expected to be completed in October 2014. A further review of heritage precincts in Abbotsford and Collingwood will also be undertaken. 

Further information
Erika Russell
Strategic Planner
9205 5322

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