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18 November 2019

City of Monash Amendment C125 – the saga may be coming to an end!

Background

Readers may recall the City of Monash prepared this Amendment some time ago 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 and recommendations. 

The Amendment essentially sought to roll-out the new residential zones (as they were at the time), but was notable for including vast areas in the Wheelers Hill region in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, and introducing a myriad of onerous provisions in the schedules to the various proposed residential zones which (in our opinion) lacked strategic rigour and justification.

The Amendment underwent public exhibition and was assessed by an Independent Planning Panel.  The Panel was critical of many aspects of the Amendment. After various ‘toing and froing’ between the Minister for Planning and the Council, the Minister split the Amendment into two ‘parts’ as follows:

  • ‘Part 1’, which approved the proposed Residential Growth Zone (but without the associated DDO) and Neighbourhood Residential Zone, and some of the proposed LPPF changes. 
  • ‘Part 2’, which dealt with the distribution and nature of the proposed General Residential Zones, was deferred with an indefinite time frame.

The Council resolved to resubmit ‘Part 2’ of the Amendment to the Minister for approval, without undertaking the recommended changes or further studies.

At its meeting on 26 February 2019, the Council resolved to refer Stage 2 back to the Minister for approval, but excluding land identified as ‘accessible areas’ or ‘boulevards’ (which would remain in Schedule 2, and be part of a separate Amendment process).

Whilst Ratio welcomed the progression of the Amendment, we were critical of the fact that the areas proposed to be included in the ‘accessible areas’ or ‘boulevards’ were (for the most part) substantially less than the areas nominated as same under the Housing Strategy – as we have identified (refer to the image)

There was also some uncertainty with respect to what would happen to the GRZ land within the ‘Monash National Employment and Innovation Cluster’, which was variously proposed to be included in a new ‘Schedule 6’ to the GRZ.

Outcome

The Minister for Planning gazetted Amendment C125 Part 2 on 14 November 2019. 

The Amendment updates the planning policy framework for residential development and rezones land to reflect the objectives, directions and actions of the Monash Housing Strategy 2014.  Specifically, the Amendment changes the Monash Planning Scheme by:

  • Replacing Clause 21.04 (Residential Development) with an updated clause of the same name.
  • Replacing Clause 22.01 (Residential Development and Character Policy) with an updated clause of the same name.
  • Introducing and applying GRZ Schedule 3 (Garden city suburbs).
  • Introducing and applying GRZ Schedule 5 (Oakleigh and Wheelers Hill Activity Centres).
  • Introducing and applying GRZ Schedule 6 (Monash National Employment and Innovation Cluster and Clayton Activity Centre – housing diversity area).

The amendment rezones most land in the municipality that was previously subject to the GRZ Schedule 2, except for land in the Glen Waverley Activity Centre, accessible areas and boulevards as defined in the housing strategy and other residual parcels in Clayton.

It is positive that the Amendment has progressed to the next stage. We remain critical of the process, and some of the provisions that are now in the planning scheme. Nevertheless, positive aspects include:

  • The planning scheme acknowledges the potential for greater change and intensification in neighbourhood and activity centres and along major boulevards.
  • Land nominated as ‘accessible areas’ and ‘boulevards’ remains in its current zoning (GRZ, Schedule 2), which does not have onerous schedule requirements.
  • The new Schedule 3 (‘Garden City Suburbs’) to the GRZ, which will apply to extensive areas of the municipality, has been amended to enable the potential use of balconies as the primary area of SPOS (noting the Council’s traditional dislike for ‘reverse living’ accommodation). We noted that the Council was also successful in implementing a (discretionary) rear boundary setback requirement of 5m.
  • A new Schedule 6 (‘Monash National Employment and Innovation Cluster and Clayton Activity Centre’) has been applied to extensive areas of land in the MNEIC and the Clayton AC which (inter alia) specifically encourages units, townhouses and apartments.

As we understand it, a separate process (either Part 3, or a new amendment) will review the planning provisions for ‘accessible areas’ and ‘boulevards’.

Now that substantial changes have been made to the planning scheme, and with no transitional provisions, it is important for landowners and developers in the City of Monash to familiarise themselves with the new provisions of the Monash Planning Scheme.

ratio: would be pleased to assist you in this regard, or to discuss this article further.

Author: David Crowder, Director: Planning

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