Whitehorse Planning Amendment C174 has been gazetted – taking effect from 12th November, 2015. Schedules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone have now been introduced into the Whitehorse Planning Scheme at last.
This means our park, and Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, McCubbin Park and Jamieson Reserve (Below the Lake) too, are all surrounded by housing in the NRZ1 or NRZ3 zones excepting our boundary with Middleborough Road and the schools/bowls club.
This affords our parks better protection against unwelcome developments such as that proposed [and now approved by VCAT – “the developers’ friend”] – for 60 Main Street.
With reference to our 15/2/2015 update, the amendment C174 panel hearings by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee regarding the proposed Neighbourhood Residential Zone schedules (NRZ 1-5) were conducted 7-9th April, 2015.
Those schedules more finely define neighbourhood character within Whitehorse and introduce additional protections for preservation of significant characteristics – importantly, including within the NRZ1 and NRZ3 neighbourhoods which surround our park:
The Panel’s report is expected in “due course”.
With reference to our 21/10/2014 update, the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee invited views of the proposed Neighbourhood Residential Zone schedules (NRZ 1-5). The deadline for submissions was 5:00PM Friday, 6th March, 2015. The Committee set Hearing dates for the week starting 23rd March, 2015.
Update 21/10/2014 We understand from a Whitehorse Leader article (20/10/2014 edition, page 9) that the only change made was to remove the mandatory height limit proposed for the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) areas. However, none of the NRZ specific schedules were approved – the NRZ7 zoning is generic and adds no additional controls. The specific NRZ1-5 schedules will be referred to the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee which will review the schedules – with no final result expected until late 2015 (!). Apparently, Government has concerns “including ResCode variations”. It seems we are nowhere near “out of the woods” despite the length consultation / decision making process and the delay in State Government approval.
Update 15/10/2014 The new zonings were gazetted on 14/10/2014. As can be seen from the map below, with the exception of Laburnum Primary School and housing on the other side of Middleborough Road, the neighbouring housing is all zoned NRZ7 – which, along with the new policy covering neighbourhood character, gives the Creeklands park a measure of protection against inappropriate development on its boundaries. Update 22/9/2014 Ms Dee Ryall (State MP for Mitcham) passed on a press release saying that Planning Minister Guy approved Council’s residential zones on 12/9/2014 and that Amendment C160 to the Whitehorse Planning Scheme will be gazetted “shortly”. There was no information on what changes, if any, were required by Mr Guy’s department. The Whitehorse Leader of 22/9/2014 carried a small piece on this news on page 3.
Update 8/8/2014 Ms Dee Ryall (State MP for Mitcham) has advised that Mr Guy’s decision is imminent. We do hope the news is positive for the park….
- All residential properties bordering the Blackburn Creeklands are proposed to fall under the Neighbourhood Residential Zone 1 under the new “reformed” zones.
- The Whitehorse Leader (23/6/2014 Page 9) reported that Matthew Guy, the State Planning Minister, confirmed that Whitehorse Council’s new zones would not be approved by his department in time for the 1/7/2014 deadline set by Government. Whitehorse therefore defaulted to the General Residential Zone for all residential properties (without schedules) – worryingly, this means that properties proposed to be in the more protected Neighbourhood Residential Zones have lost 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 despite the obvious shortcomings with the Government’s process.
- 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.
- 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.
- To expedite the processing time by Government, 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.