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14th February 2017

Monash Amendment C125

The Independent Panel’s report for the controversial Monash Amendment C125 was recently received.

In short, the Amendment seeks to roll-out the various VPP residential zones in accordance with the recommendations of the adopted ‘Monash Housing Strategy 2014’ (MHS).

An Independent Planning Panel held public hearings in September and October 2016.

ratio: represented various property owners at the hearings, and made the following submissions:

  • Structural – the underlining principles governing the selection of the various residential zones, and / or their proposed schedules, were misguided.  Contrary to the MHS, a fundamental failure of the proposed amendment is that it does not adequately identify the strategic appropriateness of facilitating more intense development on land that is suitable for same, and fails to distinguish such land from the residential hinterland areas that do not share the same contextual and strategic advantages.
  • Detail - many of the provisions contained in the various proposed schedules to the zones were excessive and lacked any strategic justification.
  • Other - the extent of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone should be substantially diminished for lack of strategic justification.  ‘Density’ (as sought to be limited by the application of the NRZ) is not automatically incongruous with character, ‘garden city’, natural features, heritage and / or amenity aspirations.  Limiting ‘density’ results in fewer but bigger houses, which reduces affordability and housing diversity in hinterland areas (where people want to stay and downsize and remain part of their local community).

Some of the Panel’s recommendations include:

  • That the Amendment abandon the exhibited rezoning to the Residential Growth Zone (Schedule 3) and General Residential Zone (Schedule 6) of land in the ‘Monash National Employment Cluster’ and maintain the current General Residential Zone (Schedule 2) for the land.
  • Land currently in the GRZ2 remain in this zone (as a holding zone pending future investigations) if it is identified in the Housing Strategy as having future redevelopment potential (ie – NEC; accessible areas, major boulevards etc).
  • A new combined General Residential Zone schedule based on the proposed General Residential Zone (Schedule 4) replace the proposed General Residential Zone (Schedule 3) and General Residential Zone (Schedule 4).  Further, the requirements in the schedule to the GRZ be watered down and less restrictive.
  • Local policy be amended to recognise that the broad character areas include distinctive areas, and that appropriate responses will be different on main roads and residential hinterland sites.
  • ‘Development envelope’ rather than ‘number of dwellings’ on a block, should be the primary focus in managing residential development impacts.
  • Multi‐unit development plays an important role in adding to housing diversity and the planning framework should not preclude these forms of housing unless there is sound justification to do so.
  • Apartments are envisaged as part of the Housing Strategy, and are an important housing form to support housing diversity and affordability, and this should be recognised in the standards (balconies/rooftop open space) and neighbourhood character policy.

You can read the full panel report at here.

ratio: is aware some people are now in a very difficult position, because they purchased land on the understanding that they could do something ‘more’ than what the current provisions allowed and / or what a ‘contextual’ approach would reasonably allow.  One ‘silver lining’ is that the Panel appears to be saying the planning controls proposed for such areas (eg – around Monash University and the Clayton Activity Centre) were possibly ‘undercooked’, and potentially there would be opportunities for greater change than what the Amendment contemplated following further investigation.

Council is expected to consider the Panel’s recommendations at its meeting at the Monash Civic Centre (293 Springvale Rd, Glen Waverley) on Tuesday 28 February, from 7pm.

We will endeavour to keep you informed of the outcomes.

David Crowder  (Director - Planning)

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