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During the pre-Christmas rush the Minister was busy approving a number of amendments, including Amendment C159 to the Moreland Planning Scheme.
This amendment essentially seeks to rename and reshuffle a number of the former Neighbourhood Activity Centres (NACs) and Local Activity Centres (LACs) and substitutes them with 12 new Neighbourhood Centres. At the same time, it introduces a new Design and Development Overlay (DDO24) and a new Schedule to the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ2) that includes a number of new height controls within Neighbourhood Centres.
The amendment introduces mandatory height restrictions to 8 of the 12 of the Neighbourhood Centres, where previously there were discretionary height limits or no height limits. These eight Neighbourhood Centres that now include the new RGZ2 and have a mandatory height limit of 13.5 metres. The remaining RGZ1 land within Neighbourhood Centres retains a preferred height limit of 13.5 metres.
Significantly, no transitional provisions have been included and current applications (yet to be determined) that exceed the mandatory heights may be caught out and rendered prohibited, even if lodged prior to the gazettal of Amendment C159.
DDO24 includes reference to 11 of the 12 of the Neighbourhood Centres and offers built form guidance regarding preferred / maximum building heights, street wall heights, outlooks and boundary setbacks.
In summary, Amendment C159 includes the following;
- Updates the Strategic Framework Plan to reflect the renaming and redesignation of the Neighbourhood Centres and Local Centres;
- Amends Clause 22.01 to designate Neighbourhood Centres as Substantial Changes Areas;
- Amends Clause 22.01 to designate Local Centres as Incremental Change Areas;
- Creates and applies the Design and Development Overlay – Schedule 24 (DDO24) to 11 of these Neighbourhood Centres – this includes a range of preferred and mandatory height controls
- Applies a new schedule to the Residential Growth Zone (Schedule 2) for 8 of the Neighbourhood Centres to align with the mandatory height requirements set out in the DDO24;
- Rezones specific sites to Commercial 1 or 2 Zones;
- Applies the Environmental Audit Overlay to identified sites;
- Implements the Moreland Neighbourhood Centre Strategy as a reference document.
The application of mandatory height across the majority of the Neighbourhood Centres clearly indicates that Moreland are looking to put a ‘cap’ on the scale of buildings in these centres. Where discretionary height limits have been applied, greater heights will be entertained, however this will presumably be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
This approval adds to the current discussion regarding the application of mandatory height limits in activity centres, with local and State Government are increasingly introducing mandatory height limits while expert Planning Panels and the wider industry continue to recommend discretionary height limits that are performance based.
In the case of Amendment C159, the Panel found that there was no justification for mandatory height limits and that discretionary limits were advisable. Council did not adopt this recommendation with the resultant mix of mandatory and discretion height limits within Neighbourhood Centres seemingly being due to the Minister’s subsequent tempering of this position. Also, Council’s resolution to rezone several sites from the Residential Growth Zone to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone did not get approved by the Minister.
The 12 designated Neighbourhood Centres are:
- Grantham/Union Streets, West Brunswick
- Melville Road/Albion Street/Victoria Street, West Brunswick
- Nicholson Street/Holmes Street/Moreland Road, Coburg/Brunswick
- Bell Street/Melville Road, Pascoe Vale South
- Gaffney Street/Pascoe Vale Station, Pascoe Vale
- Gaffney/Sussex Streets, Coburg North
- Elizabeth Street, Coburg North
- West Street, Hadfield
- Bonwick Street, Fawkner
- Snell Grove, Oak Park
- Merlynston Station, Merlynston
- Moreland/Melville Roads, West Brunswick.
If you have a current application or are looking to develop land within the City of Moreland that is located in a Neighbourhood Centre, get in contact with ratio: to discuss your application.
Authors: Blanche Manuel (Associate: Planning) and Andrew Guthrie (Town Planner)