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17 January 2018


Hidden amongst the rush of approvals at the end of last year was the long awaited ministerial approval of Port Phillip’s Amendment C123 that applies new residential zones (Neighbourhood Residential Zone - NRZ, General Residential Zone - GRZ and Residential Growth Zone - RGZ) to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme.

For those familiar with the history of Amendment C123 and its predecessors C113, C114 and C118, the approval of the amendment will be seen as long overdue.

Amendment C123 brings the Port Phillip Planning Scheme in line with the new zone regime that was introduced by VC8 in 2013 and provides much needed clarity and certainty for development. The Amendment allows for the use of the full suite of updated residential zones and removes the now redundant Business Zones (replaced with Commercial 1 and 2 Zones).

Whilst the amendment indicates that Port Phillip will heavily rely on the Fishermans Bend Precinct for future housing provision (75% of housing growth is sought to be in this area) it does not appear to have considered its physical links to this area. Both the Panel Report and the Explanatory Report only mention the Fishermans Bend Precinct as an area of future housing growth, and do not specifically assess the amendment’s relationship with the framework which in some instances is likely to create a somewhat awkward transition between the areas.

In summary, Amendment C123 includes the following;

  • The amendment of General Residential Zone (GRZ) - Schedule 1.
  • The creation of new GRZ Schedules 2-9.
  • The insertion of Clause 32.09 - Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) and creation of 6 associated Schedules.
  • The insertion of Clause 32.07 – Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) and the creation of 1 associated Schedule.
  • All redundant Business 1, 2 and 5 Zoned land has been rezoned to Commercial 1.
  • All redundant Business 3 Zoned land rezoned has been rezoned to Commercial 2.

The nine GRZ schedules have been included to include variations to the 11 metre / 3 storey height requirements set out in the primary zone. These schedule variations align with mandatory height limits within existing Design and Development Overlays (DDO). For example, GRZ - Schedule 2 increases the mandatory maximum building height to 15 metres and 5 storeys for the Albert Park and Middle Park Foreshore in accordance with the applicable DDO5.

The NRZ schedules utilise Clause 1.0 - Neighbourhood Character Objectives of the schedules for distinct character precincts. Notably, schedules 2 and 6 also increase the mandatory height limit to 10 metres and 3 storeys (which varies the ‘standard’ 9 metre /2 storey requirement of the NRZ).

The schedule variations to the mandatory heights ensure that the zones align with other requirements such as those set out in applicable DDOs, providing consistency across the scheme and what building heights are envisaged in certain areas.

The variation to the number of storeys to align with the mandatory heights sought is a welcomed approach and avoids technical discrepancies such as those being experienced for applications in the City of Stonnington.

The RGZ has been applied sparingly across the municipality and has generally been limited to specific strategic sites and areas located on sections of main roads or near established activity centres. No specific schedule requirements have been included in the schedule to this zone with the height limits remaining discretionary.

In summary, while the number of schedules is arguably unnecessary, many believe having this long-awaited amendment approved will provide direction and certainty for those looking to develop land in the City of Port Phillip. However, we are aware of a number of instances where the lack of transitional provisions has prejudiced applicants that have already lodged applications for three storey apartment buildings, which now have a mandatory 2 storey height limit.

If you are looking to develop land within the City of Port Phillip and are interested in Amendment C123, please contact us.

Read more about the amendment on the City of Port Phillip’s website here.


Authors: Andrew Guthrie (Town Planner) and Blanche Manuel (Associate: Planning)

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