Amendments C286yara and C306yara - Public open space contributions

We are proposing to increase the public open space contributions from developments that subdivide land in Yarra, to help support our growing population. This change would be introduced through an amendment to the Yarra Planning Scheme, known as Amendment C286yara.

Yarra’s Open Space Strategy was adopted in September 2020 and informs this amendment. It identified the public open space needs of existing and future residents of Yarra, gaps in the provision of public open space and opportunities to address those gaps. Currently the amount, quality and accessibility of open space varies considerably across the suburbs of Yarra. 

Reconvened Panel Hearing

The reconvened Directions Hearing for Yarra City Council Planning Scheme Amendment C286yara was held on 7 December 2023. 

The reconvened Panel Hearing will commence at 10am on Monday 5 February 2024 and conclude on Friday 9 February 2024. The hearing will be held both in-person at Planning Panels Victoria and by MS Teams video conference.

Parties to the Hearing have been contacted by Planning Panels Victoria regarding these arrangements. The Panel will hear this matter in an open forum, consistent with its obligation to conduct hearings in public.

To observe proceedings, you can access the Panel Hearing at: 

In-person

Hearing Rooms (Ground floor)

Planning Panels Victoria

1 Spring Street

Melbourne 3000

Video conference (MS Teams)

Join the Yarra C286yara Panel Hearing here

Meeting ID: 436 844 480 65

Passcode: xMj5oe

If you have any questions, please contact Planning Panels Victoria at [email protected] and quote Amendment Yarra C286yara.

As with in-person hearings, please be advised that the Panel Hearing must not be recorded in any part or in any way without permission from the Panel. This includes audio and video recording.

What stage is the Amendment at?

 In October 2023, Council lodged a request to reconvene the C286yara Planning Panel hearing to progress Amendment C286yara.

Council considered two reports on Amendment C286yara in August and September 2023:

  • Council noted a peer review prepared in response to a recommendation from the Planning Panel on 15 August 2023. 
  • On 12 September 2023, Council resolved to request Planning Panels Victoria reconvene the Amendment C286yara Planning Panel hearing and refer the peer review to the Panel for consideration.
  • Council also resolved to adopt 'the use of the 10 per cent margin above CIV as recommended in the Interim Panel Report, and a consequential public open space contribution rate of 8.67 per cent.’

More general information on the stages of Planning Scheme Amendments can be found on Council's webpage

Timeline

Authorisation

Report to seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit Amendment C286 to the Yarra Planning Scheme considered by Council on 20 September 2020.

Authorisation to exhibit the amendment received on 18 June 2021.

Exhibition

Amendment C286yara was publicly exhibited in September–October 2021. 72 submissions received. 

Consider submissions 

Council considered submissions and resolved to refer the amendment to an independent Planning Panel to consider the submissions in October 2021.

Planning Panel Hearing

Panel hearing was held in December 2021 and February 2022.

Interim Panel Report issued in April 2022 (PDF 1.2MB). A correction report was issued on 16 May 2022. 

The Panel acknowledges the current rate of 4.5% on residential properties in the Yarra Planning Scheme, is inadequate. It recommended Council request a new planning scheme amendment which includes a public open space contribution rate of 7.4%

The Panel also recommended if Council wishes to ultimately pursue a higher rate than 7.5%, it should undertake a 'peer review' of the 'apportionment of cost methodology' used by the Council consultant. 

Consider Panel Report

Findings of the interim Panel Report considered at a Council Meeting on 31 May 2022. 

Request a ministerial amendment, Amendment C306yara, which applies the rate of 7.4% lodged in June 2022. (A ministerial amendment under s 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 does not involve public exhibition or a panel hearing.)

What is open space?

Open space is land that is set aside for outdoor recreation, enjoyment and nature conservation and is open to the sky. 

Public open space includes public parks, gardens, reserves, waterways and squares. 

Private open space is all open areas that can exclusively be used by residents of a home or building. It includes back yards, balconies and rooftop gardens. 

Access to open space is important for not only our physical health but also mental health and wellbeing. It is important that we exercise more and be outdoors in the fresh air and natural sunlight to balance our indoor lifestyles and increasing reliance on electronic devices.

Why have we developed these Amendments?

Amendment C286yara is designed to help us better meet the need for public open space in the City of Yarra.

Over 85% of Yarra’s population lives in medium and high-density housing, compared with 33% in Greater Melbourne. This means that our residents have less private open space available to them and they rely on public open space. 

As an inner city municipality, Yarra’s population is expected to grow by 40% in the next 15 years. Forecasts also expect a 47% increase in workers visiting the area in this time. This will significantly increase the demand on existing space in Yarra. 

The extent of forecast growth varies across different parts of Yarra. Many of the areas that are forecast to change the most are former industrial and manufacturing areas which historically did not have public open space. With increased numbers of people working and living in the former industrial precincts there is an increased need to provide it. 

What do these Amendments do?

Amendment C286yara

The Amendment proposes to update the public open space contribution rate for all subdivisions. This is a recommendation from Yarra’s Open Space Strategy. 

Under the Amendment, any development in the City of Yarra that subdivides land would be required to provide a contribution to public open space at a rate of 10.1%. This is more than double the current rate, which is 4.5%.

The Amendment also updates Clause 22.12 which provides guidance on the collection of open space contributions.

NOTE: At 12 September 2023 Council meeting, Council adopted ‘the use of the 10 per cent margin above CIV as recommended in the Interim Panel Report, and a consequential public open space contribution rate of 8.67 per cent.

Amendment C306yara

Amendment 306yara implements the recommendation from the Amendment C286yara Interim Panel Report. 

The amendment proposes to request a Ministerial amendment to apply a public open space at a rate of 7.4% and to update the planning policy.

Council was advised on 27 November 2023, the Amendment was refused by the Minister for Planning. Council has written to request reasons for this decision.

Amendment documents

Amendment C286yara (exhibited amendment)

Amendment C306yara (request for Ministerial Amendment)

Supporting documents

Council reports and minutes

12 December 2023 – Public Open Space amendment update

12 September 2023 – Council resolved to reconvene the panel hearing and refer the peer review to the panel

15 August 2023 – Council noted the peer review

31 May 2022 – Council considered interim panel report

19 October 2021- Council considered submissions and referred submissions and the amendment to a planning panel

15 September 2020 – Council resolved to seek authorisation to prepare and exhibit Amendment C286yara

1 September 2020 – Council adopted the YOSS