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Reformed Zones for Victoria

David Lock Associates (DLA) has submitted a response to the proposed reformed zones for Victoria. As part of an ongoing review of the Victoria Planning system the Government is considering:

  • New and improved residential, commercial, industrial and rural zones
  • Rationalising and removing unnecessary zones
  • Associated processes that can support the new and improved zones

In general, the principle of the zone reform is welcomed. We do believe that the rationalising of zone structure will achieve greater clarity in the planning system.  However, DLA believe the proposed reform process should be undertaken in conjunction with the emerging Metropolitan Strategy. It is considered the directions outlined in the Metropolitan Strategy will assist in strategically justifying the application of the reformed zones.

Residential Zones

The principle of the proposed reformed residential zones is supported. Identifying where growth is, or is not, appropriate is a sound approach. The reformed zones are a suitable method of managing residential growth. We feel the suite of reformed residential zones will provide a greater degree of certainty to both the community and the development industry as to where development should occur and to what form it should take. In particular, we support the use of schedules to allow municipalities discretion when establishing preferred future built form character.

However, there is limited information as to how the suite of new zones is to be implemented. Currently, no guidance has been provided as to how, or where, these new zones are to be applied. The performance of the zones in achieving an appropriate balance between consolidation and protection of valued character is dependent upon their application. We believe the proposed reform process should be undertaken in conjunction with the emerging Metropolitan Strategy. It is considered the directions outlined in the Metro Strategy will assist in strategically justifying the application of the reformed zones.

The Minister has confirmed that Council's will have discretion to apply the zones as and where they see fit. At the same time the community will be afforded an opportunity to provide input. We believe it is essential that the application of these zones be founded upon robust strategic justification. Any application of the suite of zones should be underpinned by sound planning and housing objectives and should be tested by an independent panel of experts. This will ensure the appropriate balance between State and local planning policy is achieved and housing growth is appropriately managed.

 

Commercial Zones

The principle of rationalising the five existing business zones into two commercial zones is appropriate. The simplification of business zones will provide a greater degree of clarity as to what uses are appropriate and where.

The proposed zoning reforms represent an opportunity to unlock those locations where (re)development potential is currently tempered by inappropriate zoning.  Further consideration, beyond the direct replacement of existing and proposed zones, is required in order to facilitate appropriate development. An opportunity to consider the appropriateness of zoning should be afforded after the period of consultation and prior to implementation. This will ensure that the most appropriate zone is applied that best fits the land context.

The removal of floor space caps on office and the exemption of small scale supermarkets and associated retail uses will require management. The principle of directing mixed-use retail and office development within centres of activity is a cornerstone of the VPPs. The greater land-use flexibility afforded by the new zones, including as-of-right retail uses within a Commercial 2 zone and Industrial 3 zones, has the potential to dilute existing activity centre policy. Any proposed retail use within a Commercial 2 zone should be based upon sound strategic justification that considers economic, environmental and social sustainability factors.

For further information regarding the the revised zone please click here.

 

planning, density, urban planning, policy

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