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Shire of Yarra Ranges - Amendment C143 LDRZ Subdivision Reforms - Refused by Planning Minister

Council formally submitted a Planning amendment request to the Planning Minister & Department of Transport, Planning & Infrastructure (now DELWP) in December 2014.

The requested amendment seeks the following:
* Generally seeks to enable consideration of subdivision to mimimum of 2000m² in many of the Low Density Residential Zoned areas of the Shire of Yarra Ranges, where serviced by sewer.
* Removes LDRZ properties within Belgrave, Belgrave South, Upwey, Tecoma, Upper Ferntree Gully & Selby from the reforms, maintaining 4000m² as the minimum subdivision size for these Dandenong Ranges sensitive areas.
* Includes Warburton LDRZ properties within the reforms, enabling LDRZ properties connected to sewer in Warburton to apply for subdivision down to 2000m².  These properties would still need to satisfy the requirements of the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) and other planning criteria before a permit will issue.

The Minister for Planning in December 2015 appointed an Advisory Committee to provide advice on Amendment C143 before making a final decision on the amendment. The Advisory Committee hearings were undertaken on 24th & 25th November 2016.

Please note the Planning Minister amended the Terms of Reference for the Advisory Committee on the day prior to the Public Hearings commencing. This change now means the Advisory Committee must consider the proposed Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) expansion, despite the BMO expansion documents still not being defined or adopted and draft documents only being available to the submitters on the day of the Public Hearing. It is disappointing that the proposed BMO expansion had not been provided to the submitters prior to the hearing, enabling an thorough & considered review & response to be prepared as part of our submissions at the hearings.

URBIS prepared & presented a submission to the Advisory Committee on my company and clients behalf, including an on the spot response to the unknown proposed changes to the BMO and its affect on the proposed LDRZ subdivision reforms. Our view is the BMO should be an additional consideration of the subdivision planning permit application, and not used a a "blanket prohibition of subdivision" across LDRZ properties affected by the BMO. The existing BMO does not prohibit subdivision in other zones.

The Advisory Committee has completed their report and this report has been submitted to the Planning Minister for his consideration.  The Advisory Committee Report has now been made publicly available. The report generally supports the adoption of the Amendment, subject to some possible further refinement & changes. A copy of the Advisory Committee RReport is available through the Link below.

https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0030/90768/Yarra-Ranges-LDRZ-AC-C143-Report.pdf

The BMO reforms have recently been implemented by the Planning Minister.

The Planning Minister has this week finalised his decision on the Shire of Yarra Ranges LDRZ Subdivision Reforms (Amendment C143), and this Amendment has been refused by the Planning Minister. The details of the reasons for this refusal are in the Ministers letter available through the following link.

https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/webdocuments/planning-building-health/strategic-planning/planning-building-strategic-planning/c143_-_letter_of_refusal_of_amendment_from_minister_for_planning.pdf

The refusal is based on the recent expansion of the BMO, which only became of relevance to the Amendment C143 Advisory Committee process the day prior to the public hearings when the Planning Minister altered their terms of reference, and which the submitters only heard about on the day of the hearings. The submitters to Amendment C143 Advisory Panel needed to make impromptu submissions to address this issue of bushfire risk, based on the very limited detail available on the days of the Advisory Committee Public Hearings.

The BMO expansion had no public consultation, and no opportunity for proper review and input by the submitters to Amendment C143 and/or Council in relation to Amendment C143. The Advisory Committee report appears to provide reasonable support for adoption of Amendment C143 in some form including within some of the BMO areas of the Shire, but it appears this independent report was ignored by the Planning Minister.

Amendment C143 was refused based on insufficient justification being provided in relation to the BMO expansion, which is ironic given the Planning Minister in implementing the BMO expansion gave no oppurtunity for public submission and/or submission by Council.

Yarra Ranges Council & Planning Department is still in the process of reviewing the effects of the Refusal of Amendment C143 by the Minister. They have not yet reached any consesus view on possible future reforms for further infill subdivision opportunity within the Low Density Residential Zones of the Shire. We are hopeful Council will soon make a decision on how or if they wish to proceed with a new planning amendment for subdivision reform within the LDRZ areas of the Shire. Any new amenment is likely to be at least 3-6 months from public consultation, and likely at least 2 years from any further decision by the Planning Minister & possible implementation into the Yarra Ranges Planning Scheme, as it would need to undertake a complete planning amendment process from scratch. Any new amendment would need to satisfactorily address the Bushfire Risk issues as raised by the Planning Minister in his refusal of amendment C143.

We also have an alternate approach that could be considered by LDRZ Land owners. Please contact my office should you wish for advice on an alternative method in relation to your land.

Posted: Wed 13 Jun 2018

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