VICTORIAN Planning Minister Matthew Guy this week said that the most significant reforms to Victoria's residential zones in more than 20 years have been rolled out to 39 of Victoria's municipalities, following the gazettal last week of amendments to almost half of the state's planning schemes.
The amendments incorporate the new Residential Growth, General Residential and Neighbourhood Residential zones, which were introduced last year by the Victorian Government to replace the Residential 1, Residential 2 and Residential 3 zones and provide greater clarity about the type of development that can be expected in residential areas.
"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," Mr Guy said.
"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.
The 39 planning scheme amendments affect seven metropolitan councils and 32 regional councils and is in addition to the five councils whose planning schemes have already been amended to incorporate the new zones (Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Greater Bendigo, Swan Hill and Campaspe).
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.
Mr Guy said the remaining councils will undergo a neutral conversion on 1 July, with any outstanding issues considered by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (RZSAC) to be put in place promptly. The Minister also said that to support the ongoing implementation of the reformed zones for remaining municipalities, the operation of the RZSAC has been extended to 30 June 2015.
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.