04 July, 2013

Reformed Residential Zones for Victoria

The Minister for Planning has introduced new planning zones which will affect all of us. The Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ)will offer protection against opportunistic infill development but the commercial zones will open up opportunities for greater high and medium density development.
The new zones are:-

  • Activity Centre Zone (ACZ) ( Commercial 1 & 2 zones)
  • Comprehensive Development Zone (CDZ)
  • Mixed Use Zone (MUZ)
  • Residential Growth Zone (RGZ)
  • General Residential Zone GRZ)
  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ)
For many years we have been campaigning for protection for our residential areas from inappropriate/unacceptable development and we believe that that the Minister for Planning is firmly committed to provide such protection through the residential zones, especially the Neighbourhood Residential Zone and the General Residential Zone. It is reasonable to expect that most residents will want to be in the NRZ or the GRZ because they are designed to "respect and preserve neighbourhood character". Councils are responsible to draw up neighbourhood character guidelines so just how accurate these are to the reality will be important (see item below posted on 9th June 2012). We are hoping that more weight will then be placed on neighbourhood character when appeals are heard at VCAT. To date VCAT has not really taken much notice of neighbourhood character when deciding upon residents objections.This attitude to neighborhood character by VCAT must change.
What the new NRZ & the GRZ could provide for is that, if your local area is mainly single storey with some two storey homes on garden blocks, then any new development will have to be sympathetic to that style. Councils will be responsible for identifying the zone boundaries and will be able to set height limits. Third party rights to object and appeal will apply.
We understand the Minister will personally sign off on the Councils' zoning but the interesting point is that, in the past, such planning changes have usually been handled by senior officers in the DPCD under delegation arrangements. Generally the DPCD has pushed for more hardline changes so council officers have tended to lodge applications that they think might be accepted by DPCD resulting in regulations that suit developers but not residents.
It is now up to our new councillors to complete the Neighbourhood Character Study quickly so we can gain some protection before it is too late................... STOP PRESS Refer attached media release announcing the new zones

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