Yarra Council Recommends New Residential Zones

01/05/2014 7:51 pm

Yarra_logo_officialYarra Council in Victoria has recommended new residential zones that will guide future residential development and protect the city’s prized heritage areas.

The new zones were introduced by the State Government and will apply to every municipality in Victoria.

Councils have until the end of June 2014 to recommend to the Minister for Planning where the zones should apply, before the Minister makes a final decision.

The State Government’s three new zones include the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (limited housing growth), the General Residential Zone (moderate growth), and the Residential Growth Zone (higher-density growth).

Under Council’s recommendation, the majority of Yarra’s current residential zone – around 74% - would be in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, allowing for little change to Yarra’s heritage precincts. The maximum height for buildings within this zone would be eight metres, with a sliding scale for the number of dwellings that can be built, depending on lot size.

Council is proposing that the General Residential Zone apply to about 23% of Yarra’s current residential zone. This zone closely resembles Yarra’s current residential zone, but provides additional protections by including nine metre building heights. The current zone does not include any maximum building heights.

A number of sites – comprising 2.4% of Yarra’s current residential zone - have been potentially identified for the Residential Growth Zone. Council originally proposed not to apply this zone because rapid larger-scale development is already occurring in Yarra’s mixed-use and commercial areas. The State Government however, recently advised that all councils are required to incorporate the Residential Growth Zone in their recommendations.

Properties identified for the Residential Growth Zone will be referred to the State Government’s Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee for further consideration and community input.

Yarra Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky said recommending the new zones was a significant challenge and responsibility.

“The new zones represent one of the most significant planning reforms this Council has seen,” Cr Fristacky said.

“Along with limiting overdevelopment in neighbourhood heritage areas, the new zones, through mandatory building heights, will provide greater certainty for both residents and developers about the permitted scale and density of new developments.” she said.

“It is important to recognise that more than 70% of Yarra’s residential growth has occurred in non-residential zones in mixed-use, commercial areas, and in former industrial sites. However, Council has identified some areas in its current residential zone where additional housing growth could occur.

Yarra Council will request that the Minister for Planning prepare and approve an amendment to the Yarra Planning Scheme to introduce the new residential zones.