State Government's proposed changes to planning zones
The State Government has foreshadowed significant changes to Melbourne's planning zones.
In March 2013, Planning Minister Matthew Guy signalled the State Government's intention to replace exising residential zones in the Victorian Planning Scheme with three new residential zone types – the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, the General Residential Zone and the Residential Growth Zone.
The new zones would replace the existing Residential 1, Residential 2 and Residential 3 zones.
It is intended that the new zones will come into operation on 1 July 2013, with Council then having 12 months to introduce the reformed zones in local areas – including the crucial decision about which of the new zones will be applied to specific areas in Yarra.
The criteria for implementing the zones will be further developed by the State Government between March and May this year.
The new residential zones explained
- The Neighbourhood Residential Zone is intended to provide a high level of protection for local neighbourhood character, including restrictions on lot subdivision and a mandatory eight metre height limit. It will recognise areas of predominantly single and double-storey residential character, and will limit opportunities for increased residential development.
- The General Residential Zone is designed to encourage 'moderate' growth and housing diversity in areas with good access to services and transport. A maximum building height and other built form requirements can be specified by Council in these zones.
- The Residential Growth Zone will be applied in areas which are appropriate for increased growth and density, and will support medium-density development in buildings up to and including four storeys, and some minor commercial uses to provide local services to residents.
Changes will also be made to some other existing zones – including the Mixed Use Zone, the Township Zone and the Low Density Residential Zone – to make them consistent with the new residential zones.
The new zones have emerged from recommendations of the Reformed Zones Ministerial Advisory Committee and from public consultation which occurred in the second half of 2012.
For more information on the zoning reforms, visit the Department of Planning and Community Development website.
Summary of initial changes proposed in July 2012
Community feedback was initially sought on the proposed changes and due by 21 September 2012.
Council held a community information session about the proposed changes on 27 August 2012 and made an initial submission to the State Government on its proposals.
Council staff undertook a preliminary assessment of the changes and understood that the changes could result in the following:
- In business and some industrial zoned areas, a supermarket of up to 2000 square metres with an additional 500 square metres of shops could proceed without the need for a planning permit
- In some of the residential zones, small shops, offices and cafes could proceed without the need for a planning permit if they are within 100 metres of a business/commercial zone and if they share the same street frontage.
- Medical centres of up to 250 square metres could proceed without the need for a planning permit in all of the proposed residential zones.
The changes could therefore mean that some developments and changes in land uses could go ahead without public input and Council assessment under the proposed zone provisions. Significant changes could occur in local neighbourhoods without an opportunity for community members to lodge formal objections and without an opportunity for Council to weigh up the issues and decide whether or not to issue a permit.
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Coordinator - Strategic Planning