Whitehorse Housing and Neighbourhood Character Review (Re-re-updated)

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  • The Whitehorse Leader (23/6/2014 Page 9) reports that Matthew Guy, the State Planning Minister, has confirmed that Whitehorse Council’s new zones will not be approved by his department in time for the 1/7/2014 deadline set by Government.   Whitehorse will default to the General Residential Zone for all residential properties – worryingly, this means that properties proposed to be in the more protected Neighbourhood Residential Zones will lose their protection until the State Government acts.  Mr Guy is quoted as saying the new zones “will be applied shortly thereafter” which gives some comfort.  It seems that 52 councils will have their Neighbourhood Residential Zones in place by 1/7/2014 but Whitehorse is one of 24 that will not – apparently due to the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure not being able to process Council’s proposal in time to meet its own deadline…
  • Whitehorse Council, at its meeting on 28 April 2014, Council resolved to:
    • Adopt Amendments C160 and C162 with changes following the phase 3 community consultation.
    • Adopt the Whitehorse Housing and Neighbourhood Character Review 2014 comprising the:
      • Whitehorse Housing Strategy 2014
      • Whitehorse Neighbourhood Character Study 2014
      • Whitehorse Neighbourhood Activity Centre Urban Design Guidelines 2014.
    • Request the Minister for Planning to consider and approve Amendments C160 and C162 to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme under section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
  • The minutes can be downloaded from Council’s website at http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/Agendas-Minutes-2014.html or here specifically for the minutes only.

Improvements of relevance to the park and the corridor were made in the schedules:

  • Increasing requirements for canopy trees to be a minimum of two 12 metre canopy trees (instead of 8 metre)  in all Bush Environment and Bush Suburban neighbourhoods and two (instead of one) 8 metre canopy trees in all Garden Suburban areas.  This requirement would apply per dwelling.  A preference for indigenous trees will also be expressed.
  • Where part of the neighbourhood character, amending the requirements regarding landscaping in the schedules for Neighbourhood Residential and General Residential Zones to encourage the retention and/or planting of trees and requesting that development should provide for the replacement of any significant trees that may have been removed in the three years prior to the application being made.  At present, developers are required to detail the vegetation that has been removed in the previous 12 months, a practice which has tended not to discourage “moonscaping” – the clearing of all vegetation on sites. Extending this period to three years should assist in deterring this unfortunately very common practice.

Background

  • The State Government has released reformed residential zones to replace the current Residential 1, 2 and 3 Zones by 1st July, 2014.  Whitehorse Council has been working on Housing and Neighbourhood Character strategies for the last eighteen months or so – to provide Council with a tool to translate our existing residential zones into the “reformed zones”.
  • Drafts from Stage 2 of the review were open for comment in September/October, 2013.  Because Committee had concerns about potential impacts on the park from the drafts as they stood then, we made a submission to Council and a summary was e-mailed to Friends on 21/10/2013.
  • A final phase 3 round of community consultation ran for 4 weeks from 14 February to 14 March, 2014.
  • Feedback from the Stage 3 public consultation was presented to council on 28 April, 2014.
  • The new zones were to be implemented via Planning Scheme Amendment C160.  If the State Government is unable to process Councils’ amendment requests before the 30 June 2014 deadline, there may be a temporary period of time where all Residential 1 Zone land in Whitehorse is zoned General Residential Zone, without any schedules.  To expedite the processing time, Amendment C160 was split into two parts –Amendment C160 (revised) which seeks to implement the Housing Strategy, Neighbourhood Character Study and introduction of new residential zones, and Amendment C162 which addresses the Neighbourhood Activity Centre Urban Design Guidelines and related DDO4.
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