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by Stephen Digby - Friday, 27 March 2009, 05:00 AM

The State Government is proposing to introduce New Residential Zones to replace the existing Residential zones 1, 2, & 3. with the aim of creating more housing density in our suburbs and provide the development industry with more certainty.

The new zones will allow varying degrees of population density, each will deliver maximum building heights and allow more site coverage.

Attached is a Consultation Draft sent out to BRAG by the Department of Planning & Community Development which is intended to provide an explanation of the proposed changes ( see above ).

This document needs to be read very carefully as “the devil is in the detail.” You can make a submission - to be lodged by 9th April 2009- refer Pages 10 & 11.

Although we will all be affected, the document has not been sent out to residents, which is an indictment on the government. How can the government consult with those most affected if we are not informed? It seems the government expects BRAG to alert you to the proposed changes, which we will do, but with appropriate warnings. Also the document needs to be read understanding that councils will be required to create “schedules” for each zone based upon each councils design characteristics for that zone.

Note : it is difficult to condense the information contained in the 48 page Consultation Draft into a few short sentences. The document requires interpretation so if you have queries ring the government information line on 1300 366 356 but beware of P.R. type responses.

The New zones are:-

SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE ZONE ( includes Activity Centres and is anticipated to replace existing zone 2) : will deliver high density housing of four storeys or more ( 13.5 metres unless varied higher by council)

Reduced side and rear setbacks and site coverage could exceed 60%. This could result in side boundary to side boundary building.

Council can “schedule’ exemptions for notice and review.

INCREMENTAL CHANGE ZONE ( Anticipated to replace existing zones 1 & 3) : will deliver medium density housing up to three storeys ( 9 metres unless varied higher or lower by council ). Council can also “schedule” exemptions for notice and review.

LIMITED CHANGE ZONE (anticipated to replace existing zones 1 & 3 that have a protection overlay e.g. heritage or environmental overlays etc.

Will deliver medium density housing up to three storeys ( 9 metres unless varied lower by council ).

Council can “schedule” exemptions for notice and review.

There are many other changes, too many to include in this post, but it is likely that more than one dwelling per lot will be encouraged ( confusing item on page 47 indicates that the maximum number of dwellings on a lot in the Limited Change Zone must not be less than two)??????

These dramatic changes will result in Melbourne being very different from the low scale leafy streetscapes we have today. In future we could be living in street after street of three and four storeys of dwellings and apartment complexes and much of the existing tree canopy will be removed to make way for the additional buildings. It might take time but it could happen much sooner than we think.

WHAT YOU CAN DO : Lodge a submission by 9th April.

We urge you to make a written submission and we suggest you could point out that three or four storeys all over our municipality is unacceptable.

Research indicates that over 80% of Melbournians want to live in a dwelling on a suburban lot and its time the government got that message.

The government statements, about delivering certainty in planning applies only to those in the development industry and certainly not to residents.

The real certainty is that the proposed changes will deliver unacceptable density to our suburbs and change Melbourne from a ‘liveable city” into an overcrowded unliveable city.

The resultant coverage on residential lots will denude the suburbs of foliage and tree canopy, which provide the lungs of our city.

The overcrowding will cause a massive rise in carbon emissions as well as overloading the existing infrastructure - water, power, sewerage, public transport, traffic, parking etc.

Tell Premier Brumby that his ambition to make Melbourne bigger than Sydney is not one you share.

You could also point out that the solution to population growth is not to cram people into high-rise in our suburbs but to start now a programme of regionalization, or better still, the time now is to start planning for another major city in this state to take up the growth.

The short term solution is for the federal government to cut back on immigration and for the state government to cut back its encouragement of migration from other states.

We recommend you tell the government that Melbourne 2030 planning outcomes and the government’s plan to introduce Development Assessment Committees to take over planning control in activity centres are so riddled with shortcomings they must not be given any support by the Advisory Committee.

We are sure you can think of more objections. Use your own words and email your submission to - planning.systems@dpcd.vic.gov.au or write to :

Statutory Planning Systems Reform, Department of Planning and Community Development, GPO BOX 2392, Melb. 3001.

In addition, write to the editors of major newspapers and your local newspaper. Ring Talkback radio.

Also talk to your local councillor and ensure he or she will vote for a council response that supports our position on this vital issue.

If you say nothing, they will think you don’t care.

Check out our other websitewww.marvellousmelbourne.org .au or use the link above.


When announcing these dictatorial changes to the governments planning policies, the Planning Minister , Justin Madden, said


Just shows this government has lost sight of our democratic rights.