Managing growth

Yarra is becoming an increasingly desirable place to live. Our unique lifestyle, close proximity to the city, access to services and good public transport connections are expected to draw an extra 29,000 people to our municipality in the next 15 years.

One of the most challenging issues for us, both now and into the future, is managing growth and development.

What can we expect? 

Yarra’s growing population is expected to mostly live in apartments. Many new residents will choose apartment living because it is generally more affordable than a house. 

Where will the apartments be built?

We have prepared a Housing Strategy to help guide the location of residential development in Yarra. The new strategy will help determine the capacity of different areas of our city to accommodate population growth. We will be seeking feedback on the new in April.

The Housing Strategy identifies that new housing will be built on 

  • strategic redevelopment sites identified in the planning scheme
  • in activity centres
  • in neighbourhood activity centres

Where are the strategic redevelopment sites?

The Yarra Planning Scheme identifies strategic redevelopment sites.

Development on these sites will be managed via the planning permit process as development of these sites requires a planning permit from Council.

How is Council managing change in activity centres?

We are managing the growth of our activity centres by introducing built form controls into the planning scheme.

It is vital that we balance the needs of future growth while protecting the heritage streetscape. 

We are preparing Design and Development Overlays (DDO) for all our activity centres which will have clear requirements for heights and setbacks appropriate to each centre.

Which activity centres will have DDOs?

We have prepared a DDO for Johnston Street which was publicly exhibited late in 2017.  You can read more about the proposal at Johnston Street

We have prepared DDOs for Swan Street and Queens Parade.  We have asked the Minister for Planning to exhibit what we propose and are awaiting his decision.

The preparation of DDOs is underway in Bridge Road, Victoria Street, Brunswick Street and Smith Street.

We anticipate that they will be on public exhibition late in 2018.

What about commercial development?

We are preparing an Economic and Employment Strategy which will help guide employment and economic growth in Yarra. We have consulted with local business in Yarra to better understand their experience of doing business in Yarra. 

We will be seeking feedback on this draft strategy in April.

How does rewriting the local section of the Yarra Planning Scheme manage growth and change?

The planning scheme sets out how land can be used, developed and protected.  We are rewriting the local section of our planning scheme to update policies so that the planning scheme helps us better address the physical changes Yarra has undergone since the existing policy was prepared

We undertook a review of the planning scheme in 2013-14 to help inform the rewrite process which helped us identify which areas of local policy needed to be strengthened.

The review included external legal and planning peer reviews as well as consultation with Councillors, Council planners and urban designers, developers, community groups and identified various strengths and weaknesses of the current policy.

For example, the rewrite will enable the work on the Housing Strategy and the Spacial Economic and Employment Strategy to be incorporated into the scheme to better identify where future housing and commercial development should be located.  

What input has the community had into the planning scheme rewrite?

We undertook an extensive engagement process with the Yarra community called Liveable Yarra which asked how Yarra can adapt and change to the challenges and opportunities brought about by growth and change. The feedback the community gave us has been directly fed into the scheme rewrite. 

How can I have my say?

We will be undertaking extensive community consultation on all of this work.  

Housing Strategy

We will be consulting the community on the Housing Strategy in March 2018.  If you want to learn more you will be able to attend information sessions and you’ll also be able to have your say via Have Your Say page on our website.

Spacial Economic and Employment Strategy

We will also be consulting the community on the Spacial Economic and Employment Strategy in March 2018.  If you want to learn more you will be able to attend information sessions and you’ll also be able to have your say via Have Your Say page on our website.

Design and Development Overlays (DDOs) in activity centres

When the DDOs for Swan Street and Queens Parade go on exhibition later this year, we will run a comprehensive statutory consultation programme which will consist of:

  • Writing individually to affected owners and occupiers
  • Preparation of a fact sheet which will be sent out with the letters
  • Running consultation sessions for people wanting to get more information, and
  • Seeking written submissions about the amendment which will be presented to a full Council meeting.

We will undertake the same statutory consultation for Bridge Road, Victoria Street, Brunswick Street and Smith Street when those DDOs are prepared.

Planning Scheme rewrite

We anticipate that the next phase of community consultation on the Planning Scheme will get underway late 2018. You will be able to have your say when we ask the community about it.