Wednesday, April 30, 2014

C126 is go

Great news to hear that the Minister for Planning has approved Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme Amendment C126 without changing the wording submitted by council.

The journey to get to this point has been a long one and started back in May 2008 with the development of Vision2020 by Design.

Amendment C126 is an articulation of Vision2020 by Design, a document which provides guidance on desired built form outcomes across the Yarra Ranges.  C126 is a translation of Vision2020 by Design into Planning Scheme controls known as Design and Development Overlays (DDOs).

The newly approved overlays will provide design guidelines for new developments across town centres in Yarra Ranges. They are all about the built form component of new developments. The design guidelines will make it easier for potential applicants and other interested parties to understand Council’s design objectives for the future development of town centre areas.

Amendment C126 received a high level of media interest due to the inclusion of a provision that “Buildings and works that comprise drive through sales facilities are discouraged”, with this provision covering the townships of Belgrave, Kallista, Mt Dandenong, Olinda, Sassafras and Tecoma.

As part of the public exhibition process council received 73 submissions, the majority of those from community members in the Dandenong Ranges concerned about the prospect of more convenience restaurants in the hills. McDonalds also submitted to the public exhibition process, citing concerns with the DDOs around the ‘step down’ approach to building heights, the retention of buildings that contribute to the character of the town centre, the need for verandas to be designed based on established veranda design and lastly the provision to *discourage drive throughs associated with convenience restaurants (*note the final wording of this provision was changed to: buildings and works that comprise drive through sales facilities are discouraged).

It should be noted that the DDO’s give greater weight to built form outcomes and will be useful planning policy into the future, sadly we didn’t have the weight of planning scheme policy when considering the McDonalds application and could only rely on Vision2020 by Design which does not have the same status as a Design and Development Overlay.

I congratulate the Minister for approving the amendment as presented, certainly has made a lot of locals very happy and the new DDOs will be part of the many tools available when assessing built form elements in new developments across Yarra Ranges into the future. 

The next step in affording greater planning protections to the Dandenongs is the development of a Localised Planning Statement, Yarra Ranges is one of 4 councils in Victoria to have this additional policy control granted by the Minister for Planning. I’m currently in discussions with the Minister for Planning to ensure it includes the Dandenongs.

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