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Readers may recall the City of Monash prepared this Amendment to introduce the ‘Monash Housing Strategy 2014’ as a reference document into the planning scheme, and to update the LPPF / zone provisions to reflect its inclusion.
The Amendment underwent exhibition and was assessed by an Independent Planning Panel. Ratio made submissions to the Panel. The primary concern was that there was a substantial disconnect between the recommendations contained in the ‘Monash Housing Strategy 2014’ (which, whilst watered-down by political input, remained essentially sound) and the proposed amendments to the planning scheme.
The Panel made a number of substantive recommendations. Most notably:
- The Panel recommended that the Amendment abandon the rezoning of land to the Residential Growth Zone (Schedule 3) and the General Residential Zone (Schedule 6) in the Monash National Employment Cluster, and rather maintain the current General Residential Zone (Schedule 2) for the land pending further strategic investigation and analysis.
- The Panel did not support the introduction of more restrictive provisions as an ‘interim planning framework’ in areas identified in the Housing Strategy as having ‘future development potential’. Specifically, the Panel recommended that land identified as having ‘future redevelopment potential’ under the MHS (including activity / neighbourhood centres, ‘accessible areas’, boulevards and residential land in the National Employment Cluster) should be retained under the current General Residential Zone (Schedule 2) as the ‘interim’ planning framework, and the LPPF should be strengthened to recognise the policy intent for these areas.
- The Panel recommended that Clause 22.01 be revised, including the ‘Preferred Future Character’ statements, to recognise that change is supported in areas identified as having future development potential including in the ‘accessible areas’ and on main roads.
The adopted version of the Amendment, which was forwarded to the Minister for approval, did not follow any of these recommendations.
The Minister for Planning recently advised the Mayor that the Amendment would be split into two ‘parts’. ‘Part 1’ will approve the proposed Residential Growth Zone (but without the associated DDO) and Neighbourhood Residential Zone, and some of the proposed LPPF changes. However, the distribution and nature of the proposed General Residential Zones has been shifted to a separate ‘part’ of the Amendment (Part 2), with an indefinite time frame.
The approval of Part 1 is a positive step, as it will update the LPPF and reference the Housing Strategy. It will also provide greater certainty for owners of land where the proposed Residential Growth Zone and Neighbourhood Residential Zone are proposed to be located.
The separation out of the General Residential Zone ‘part’ of the Amendment can also be viewed positively. Council clearly ignored many recommendations of the Panel with respect to the nature and distribution of the different ‘schedules’ to the zone. The deferral of this ‘part’ of the Amendment may (hopefully) enable this to be reviewed and rectified. However, in fairness, the mandatory ‘garden area’ and ‘building height’ provisions now in the General Residential Zone came into effect after the Panel released its report, and it is reasonable that the distribution and nature of the ‘schedules’ to the General Residential Zone be reviewed in light of this.
It is anticipated ‘Part 1’ of the Amendment will be approved shortly.
The timing of the approval of ‘Part 2’ is unknown, and may potentially be some time away as additional exhibition may be required.