Wednesday, October 29, 2014

low density residential zone– changes for some

report from the roundtable – 28 oct

At last night’s council meeting councillors had to make a decision on the review of the Subdivision minimum lot size provisions of the Low Density Residential Zones  (LDRZ) across the shire.

Lots of Hills people in the gallery, in the main to support
submitters speaking about the Olinda Pool.
The review came about after the Minister for Planning amended the LDRZ to a minimum subdivision of 2,000 sq mtrs (from 4,000sq mtrs) back in July 2013. At the same the Minister introduced a schedule to the LDRZ (apologies for planning jargon) to retain the 4,000 sq mtr subdivision size on an interim basis to allow council time to consider any changes.

There’s been an enormous amount of community consultation on the issue with over 2,400 online surveys received along with 54 written submission and 45 verbal submissions at a special meeting of council. Opinion was divided, depending on what part of the Shire you came from, but what was consistent was the majority opposition to changes in the Dandenong Ranges and that a one size fits all approach across the Shire was not appropriate.

It was an issue I’d rather not be contemplating, I didn’t think we should be making any changes to LDRZ, however that wasn’t the majority view of my colleagues.

I moved a motion which sought to exclude the townships of Belgrave, Belgrave Heights, Belgrave South, Selby, Tecoma, Upwey and Upper Ferntree Gully from any changes to the LDRZ subdivision controls. I am pleased to report that the motion was supported unanimously by councillors (note: Crs Callanan and Witlox absent).

The way it panned out, rather than be a blanket change across all LDRZ land in the Shire, there were some parameters about where it should be contemplated:

·         Council generally supported the change of 2,000 sq mtr minimum subdivisions for LDRZ across the Shire with the exception of Belgrave, Belgrave Heights, Belgrave South, Selby, Tecoma, Upwey and Upper Ferntree Gully, however there are further parameters that limit the extent of subdivision across the Shire.
·         Areas within the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO - per our council report attachments 3 to 10) will not be subject to the lower subdivision provisions of 2,000sq mtr and will remain at a minimum of 4,000sq mt.
·         Cr Child amended the motion to exclude properties in the BMO when it came to Warburton (attachment 5), citing the lack of fire risk for LDRZ in the township, so that means the minimum of 2,000sq mtrs will apply in the Warburton LDRZ.
·         It excludes the areas of uniform subdivision in Attachment 8 – Lilydale, so the 4,000 sq mt minimum will be retained there.
·         It excludes what’s known as the Bickleigh Vale subdivision (Heritage Overlay 75) on attachment 8 - Montrose, so the 4,000 sq mt minimum will be retained there.
·         It excludes LDRZ lots outside of the Urban Growth Boundary, attachment 3 - so the 4,000 sq mt minimum will be retained.

There’s been a long history of strategic planning for the Dandenongs which resulted in the development of the Regional Strategy Plan which makes specific reference “there shall be no net increase in the total provision for residential development in the Dandenong Ranges…”. The Regional Strategy Plan can only be amended by both houses of parliament, is the only one of its kind in Victoria and carries much weight in terms of the strategic direction of the shire.

I’m pleased to say that councillors supported the motion to exclude any changes to Belgrave, Belgrave Heights, Belgrave South, Selby, Tecoma, Upwey and Upper Ferntree Gully.
This is an excerpt from The Dandenong Ranges report,
back in 1974 the Victorian Public Interest Research Group
undertook a study which led to the development of the
Regional Strategy Plan, it ring true today, 40 years later.
Given the history of strategic work to support no changes in the Hills, the level of community opposition to any changes, with 78% of verbal submitters from the Dandenongs opposed to any change and of the written submissions 68.7% opposed in Upper Ferntree Gully, 70% opposed in Upwey, 67% opposed in postcode 3160 (Belgrave, Belgrave Heights, Belgrave South and Tecoma) and 74% opposed in Selby, it was good see that councillors took that into account by supporting the motion to exclude those townships.

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