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BRAG: New Residential Zones: Council votes to approve the government’s new residential zones proposals.
Picture of Stephen Digby
New Residential Zones: Council votes to approve the government’s new residential zones proposals.
by Stephen Digby - Friday, 25 April 2008, 11:35 PM

Last night our councillors voted 5 to 4 to approve the new zone proposals subject to particular assurances ( refer attached for more detailed info).

While other Councils have rejected the new zones out of hand, our council officers recommended that we “ oppose the application of the new residential zones unless the minister provides assurances that Council has the ability to determine where the zones will be applied” etc. Whilst BRAG had some concerns that the assurances did not go far enough to protect our democratic rights, we were prepared to accept Phillip Healey’s motion to oppose, subject to the conditions as set out.

However, Councillor Heinz Kreutz, Chairman of the planning committee, pushed hard to change the wording to “approves the application” subject to the same conditions.

Only one word change but with a massive change in meaning. This decision will give the government a real bonus in that it will now claim as part of it’s public relations spin that the Boroondara Council has approved the new residential zone proposals ( ignoring the conditions of course).

Councillors Coral Ross, , Heinze Kreuitz, Dick Menting, and Mary Halikias-Byrnes aided by Jack Wegman all voted for the change of wording. Councillors Luke Tobin, Phil Meggs, Nicholas Tregas and Phillip Healey all argued vigorously against the change but were outvoted by the Chairman’s casting vote.

BRAG believes that this change of wording will play into the government’s hands to control planning in Victoria, by removing our right to be notified, object and appeal etc. to planning proposals that will change your way of life.

There were about 20 residents who attended the meeting, which was very disappointing. Had there been a larger attendance the result may have been different.

We urge you to email Council (boroondara@boroondara.com.au – for attention of all councillors, CEO and Director of Planning) and express your concerns at the decision to approve these disastrous proposals.

Jack Roach BRAG

Council Officers Recommendation (in part).

That Council opposes the application of the proposed new residential zones for Victoria, unless the Minister provides assurance that Council

  • · Has the ability to determine where the zones will be applied.
  • · Can specify the design standards with which the development must comply in the different zones.
  • · Can specify prescriptive design statndards.
  • · Has the ability to develop controls which reflect differing urban characters across the city rather thanbeing requires to apply ‘one size fits all” ResCode standards.
  • · Will be supported by the Minister in specifying its standards in schedules aoolicable to the zones.
  • · Can expect the Minister for Planning to amend the Planning and Environment Act to ensure that VCAT must applu local policy and schedules attached to the new zones.

There were further provisions applying to multi-unit developments and a final assurance that

  • · Wherever appeal rights are removed for neighbours, they should also be removed for applicants.