MORELAND City Council last week said that its residents will now have certainty about how and where development can occur, after Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne's approval of new residential zones for the municipality.
Cr Meghan Hopper, Mayor of Moreland, said for years the council had sought a greater ability to control inappropriate development, encourage medium and high density around the transport spines and activity centres while preserving neighbourhood character.
"It is pleasing that the Minister has incorporated some of Council's submission, including accepting our boundaries for the three different zones, General Residential, Neighbourhood Residential and the Growth Zones that comes into effect today," Cr Hopper said on Thursday.
"We now have a State-backed approach that will preserve the character of our neighbourhoods. Building heights will be capped at two stories and no more than four dwellings in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone which incorporates 66 percent of Moreland."
Cr Hopper noted that not all of the Ministers changes to Moreland's residential zones were consistent with Council's objectives.
"The Minister's changes that removed opportunity for development density matched to lot size and the proposed increases to private open space per dwelling in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone is disappointing. We would welcome further discussions with the State Government to strike the right balance between development density and private open space."
Cr Hopper said she was concerned with the 'heat island' effect that often accompanies greater densification in the age of climate change.
"Big houses built right to the boundaries of properties and more dwellings being allowed on the same piece of land than we proposed will not add to the quality of life of our citizens," Cr Hopper said.
Mayor Hopper said both she and officers will continue the dialogue with the Department in coming months to progress these issues.
The Minister has also approved new residential zones for the City of Yarra, which he said delivers on his promise to ensure that planning zones 'protect, not destroy', neighbourhoods in his electorate.
According to the Minister, the neighbourhood Residential Zone, which restricts over-development, has been applied across the City of Yarra's heritage precincts. Higher densities will be supported around the commercial and former industrial areas, where taller buildings are best suited.
An independent review of the previous government's zoning process is due to be carried out soon. As the Minister for Planning, Mr Wynne said he will make sure future planning changes involve transparency and consultation.