the roundtable - 23 apr
night’s meeting council had to consider an application
for a subdivision of green wedge land in Yarra Junction.
application was “called in” by the ward councillor, Yarra Ranges Mayor Cr
Child. This means that rather than planning officers making the decision,
councillors would need to make the decision at a full council meeting.
The site has been the subject of previous applications,
with an application of resubdivision being refused by council and upheld by
VCAT in 2003 and an application for a dwelling refused by council and upheld by
VCAT in 2006.
The main concerns in relation to this application were that a subdivision would
be contrary to the objectives of the Green Wedge Zone and rural land policies
that seek to protect productive agricultural land. Officers had recommended a
refusal, so the ward councillor ‘called in’ the application.
I could not
support the application for subdivision. The zoning, in this case Green Wedge
4, is land reserved for broad acre farming in Yarra Ranges, to see it carved up
would put at risk land put aside for this specific purpose. I was concerned
that smaller lots would see the development of hobby farms/lifestyle properties
which generally conflict with agriculture due to residents complaining about ‘agricultural
noise’ such as bird scarers, equipment and the like.
concerned about the viability of this land into the future for broad acre
agriculture should it be subdivided and highlighted that there was consistent
support from VCAT for councils past decisions in relation to these issues.
I said it
was not good orderly planning of the area and that our municipality was made up
of a number of green wedge zones (1 to 6) which catered for smaller farms and
more intensive farming so there is ample provision of smaller parcels of
agricultural land and there was no need to subdivide this land in green wedge
about the primary focus of our Green Wedge Management Plan,
being agriculture and how important it is to support agricultural pursuits and
ensure supply of land appropriately sized.
It was a
highly contested application with division amongst councillors, here are some
comments that struck me (please note this is not a comprehensive account of
what councillors said).
Cr Child: I’ve
known the family for 3 generations, the land will be sought after and we need
to look at the merits of this application….I’ve called in this application as
its well within the realm of the planning scheme.
The loss of agricultural land is a world wide problem and we need to protect
our agricultural land.
McAllister: We should avoid ‘future gazing’ when considering the application….we
shouldn’t be preemptive scenario gazing about the what if, we need to look at
what’s on the table.
Samantha: The Planning and Environment Act is very clear on it’s intent in that
the purpose the Act is to establish a framework for planning the use,
development and protection of land in Victoria in the present and long-term
interests of all Victorians)
We need to protect agricultural land, there’s opportunity for Yarra Ranges to
be the foodbowl for Asia.
This is opening up opportunities for the future with two new landowners.
Cr Cox: The
risk with the new subdivision is that they become hobby farms and they’d be
ideal hobby farms.
clear from the debate that there was quite a division of views around the
Witlox, McAllister & McCarthy
Avery, Cox & Cliff
As the vote
was 4/4 the vote was won on the casting vote of the Mayor, going against the usual
protocols at Yarra Ranges of retaining the status quo on deadlocked votes.
Labels: cr samantha dunn, green wedge, yarra junction, yarra ranges