Thursday, May 28, 2009

housing strategy endorsed

report from the roundtable - 26th May

This week's council meeting saw us consider the housing strategy which will provide a planning framework to deal with increased housing in the Shire over the next 20 years.

The strategy has been a long time coming. When I was first elected to council in 2005 it was already a work in progress some 3 years old. Since that time there has been extensive consultation about the housing strategy.

In the first iteration of the strategy increased housing densities were proposed in the Dandenong Ranges towns of Belgrave, Upwey and Tecoma. The community was outraged and rejected the notion of smaller lot sizes, pressure on the environment and increased housing densities in these areas.

This latest version of the Housing Strategy responds to those concerns and no increase in densities is proposed in these towns. The only increases in density that apply in these towns are ones that apply have always applied. There is a very limited corridor of Residential 1 zoned land and within that there is the potential to subdivide. This has always been a possibility and the Housing Strategy does not change this in any way. It must be noted that all land zoned Residential 1 in these towns is categorised as a 'least change precinct'.

No changes will be made to Low Density Residential Zones which covers the majority of residential areas in Belgrave and Tecoma (the towns I represent) and the controls in place in these areas will be maintained.

There was some confusion by some of our submitters that the background research document,, was what council was adopting. The paper referred to infill development in Belgrave and raised the alarm of some community members. However the research had only identified what has always* been possible in this town. *note: 'always' refers to the time since council amalgamations.

It was abundantly clear to me in our local consultations on the housing strategy that our community did not want changes to their townships (see
blog & blog).

The Housing Strategy is an important step in guiding new housing in Yarra Ranges, particularly in the consolidation areas of Lilydale, Chirnside Park, Mooroolbark, Healesville, Yarra Junction, Kilsyth, Mt Evelyn and Yarra Glen. Yarra Ranges is the land of the single detached three bedroom home which does not meet the needs of the changing demographics and type of households in the Shire. The strategy will address housing diversity needs and it will encourage sustainability in house design with a focus on water and energy efficiencies.

Another important element of the Housing Strategy will see the implementation of our Neighborhood Character Study. In the past Yarra Ranges has seen many developments erode our neighborhood character. The Housing Strategy's residential planning framework will provide us with legislative framework in the planning scheme to protect and encourage our neighborhood character.

It was great to see the Housing Strategy endorsed unanimously by council, it has been a long time coming but certainly worth the wait.

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At 5:30 PM, Blogger Samantha Dunn said...

I'm sorry I used the term always and will ensure to change my entry to read "since amalgamations".


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