report from the roundtable – 22 oct
At last night’s council meeting council had to
consider Planning Scheme Amendment C126,
a set of Design and Development Overlays (DDOs) that introduce a set of design guidelines
for new town centre development across the Yarra Ranges. I was pleased to be
able to move the motion to endorse the DDOs to proceed to the Minister for
Planning for approval.
As part of the public exhibition process council received
72 submissions, the majority of those from community members in the Dandenong
Ranges concerned about the prospect of more convenience restaurants in the
hills. McDonalds also submitted to the public exhibition process, citing
concerns with the DDOs around the ‘step down’ approach to building heights, the
retention of buildings that contribute to the character of the town centre, the
need for verandas to be designed based on established veranda design and
lastly the provision to discourage drive throughs associated with convenience
Because there were unresolved issues as part of the public
exhibition process council referred the C126 amendment to a Planning Panel.
Panel members conducted the hearing over two days and heard from a number of
community members as well as landowners of prominent sites in the Shire and
The panel has since presented its report
to council and last night was the opportunity for councillors to consider the
report, the panel recommendations and what should be in and out of the DDOs.
For me there were a number of key issues I thought important
to highlight as part of speaking to the motion.
The panel was concerned about council’s inclusion of
the guideline “buildings that include drive
through sales facilities associated with a convenience restaurant are discouraged”.
The panel considered that this guideline was in effect a form of control over
the ‘use’ of the land which is in conflict with the underlying zone. Council
did not support the panel’s recommendation in relation to this issue, given the
guideline is about townships with a strong pedestrian focus, fine grain
development form and disruption to retail street frontage and not land use
council endorsed an amended guideline “Building
and works that comprise drive through sales facilities are discouraged”.
It’s important to note that the DDOs provide a set of
guidelines and are not mandatory controls therefore the language in them needs
to reflect that. I know a number of community members submitted that the word
prohibit should be used rather than discourage but in the context of DDOs this
was not possible.
There were a lot of submissions about building heights
and the panel suggested that building heights should be expressed in the DDOs as a number of storeys with no
reference to a building height in metres.
Given other Yarra Ranges DDOs express height in metres (Lilydale and
Chirnside Park) council considered that we would retain reference to the
building height in meters and include an additional statement to give clarity “for
the purpose of this schedule ‘building height’ means the vertical distance
between the highest point of the building and the natural ground level immediately
below that point…”. This guideline discourages building forms on sloping sites
that result in acceptable heights on only some boundaries of the site with
excessive heights on the other boundaries and is an important consideration in
the hills where most sites are sloped.
It's also important to note that this particular guideline applies to the townships of Belgrave, Kallista, Mt Dandenong, Olinda, Sassafras and Tecoma.
Environmentally Sustainable Design
The panel did not support council’s desire to include
a guideline that requires a management plan showing how proposals will adopt
environmentally sustainable design principles on developments of more than 1500
square meters. Council did not agree with the panel recommendation and endorsed
the view that there is an imperative to build this expectation across our
planning policies and the reality is that there is an increasing expectation
and acceptance of the need to consider ESD principles in the assessment of
major development proposals.
In speaking to the motion I talked about the role of
councillors, that we don’t have to accept or agree with the panel’s
recommendations. We are the democratically elected representatives, we
understand the aspiration of our community at a much deeper level than the planning
I talked about the development of Vision2020
by Design, the founding document of the DDOs, the enormous body of work and
community consultation that had gone into the development of the DDOs and the
importance to guide built form throughout Yarra Ranges.
I said the DDOs reflected the aspirations of the
community and looked forward to the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy,
supporting council in its aspiration for the Yarra Ranges Community. It is an
opportunity for the Minister to support Yarra Ranges in what it’s trying to
achieve on behalf of the community.
I’m pleased to report that the majority of councillors
supported the motion.
Crs Samantha Dunn, Noel Cliff, Len Cox, Terry Avery,
Andy Witlox, Maria McCarthy and Jason Callanan.
Cr Fiona McAllister
Absent from the chamber due to a Conflict of
Cr Jim Child
Labels: c126, cr samantha dunn, vision 2020 by design, yarra ranges