Residential zone reform nears conclusion

The most significant reforms to Victoria’s residential zones in more than 20 years have been rolled out to 39 of Victoria’s municipalities.

“The Victorian Coalition Government committed to implementing clearer residential zones across Victoria. These zones deliver on the Government’s policy to direct residential development to defined areas and at the same time protect our suburbs from over-development,” Minister for Planning Matthew Guy said today.

“The application of the new zones strikes the right balance by encouraging new housing in locations that have access to public transport and a wide mix of services. Areas of neighbourhood character that are valued by Melbourne’s residents will be protected, with opportunities for housing diversity and change located in precincts with limited impact.

“Melbourne’s residents and our development sector have being saying all along that they want improved clarity. The old zoning system was a lottery that caused confusion and wasted valuable resources.

“With the new residential zones home buyers will more clearly understand how their neighbourhood is likely to evolve over time and developers will direct activity to locations where it is supported,” Mr Guy said.

A summary of the status of residential zones implementation:

  • Thirty nine councils have had the reformed residential zones gazetted as planning scheme amendments today. This includes seven metropolitan councils and 32 regional councils;
  • Five additional councils have previously had their residential zones implemented;
  • Eight more councils have had their residential zones approved, and will be gazetted in the coming fortnight. These councils are Bayside, Boroondara, Casey, Manningham, Maroondah, Stonnington, Queenscliffe and Wangaratta; and
  • Twenty four remaining councils will undergo a neutral conversion on 1 July. Any outstanding issues considered by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (RZSAC) will then be put in place promptly.

The residential zones have been implemented based on state policy and relevant local policies. Implementation has occurred either via ministerial intervention following a council request, or referral to the RZSAC. This flexible approach has allowed councils at various stages of implementation to participate in a suitable process.

In some cases, the Minister has approved amendments requested by councils subject to further consideration of some details by the RZSAC. This will allow for additional advice to be provided on aspects of the amendment. For example in Bayside and Boroondara the Minister has approved the application of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone while at the same time requesting assessment of some of the more detailed controls by the Advisory Committee.

Mr Guy said that 18 councils are still having aspects of their residential zones considered by the RZSAC. Reports from the RZSAC on an appropriate implementation of the zones in these cases are expected shortly. Any changes resulting from these reviews will be put in place promptly.

To support the ongoing implementation of the reformed zones for remaining municipalities the Minister for Planning will extend the operation of the RZSAC to 30 June 2015. This will provide councils and the government with an ongoing review mechanism.

Amendment VC116, converting the remaining 24 councils, will be gazetted on 1 July and will also remove the Residential 1, 2, and 3 Zones from the Victoria Planning Provisions.

Source: News Release Premier of Victoria Denis Napthine, 16 June 2014

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