Our Collie News article last month noted that the Minister for Planning had introduced a series of new residential zones across Victoria.

The transitional provisions for the new zones mean permit applications lodged before the introduction of the new zones, will be considered under the ‘old’ rules.  In some cases, the old rules provide for significant additional development potential compared to that which will be possible in the new zones.

In response to the transitional provisions, many permit applications were lodged in the last few days of the old zones.  If you were not one of those who lodged your permit application before the new zones came into force, then all may not be lost.  In some parts of Melbourne there is still a small window of opportunity to act before more restrictive planning controls impact on your land but you will need to be quick.


Here is how it works.

Firstly, it is important to understand the process that led to the introduction of the new zones. For instance, several Councils around town presented their cases for the application of the new zones to the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee appointed by the Minister for Planning.  The Committee was to advise the Minister for Planning on the method and application of introducing the new zones into these particular planning schemes.  In theory, all of this was to have been completed by the end of June.

By 30 June however, the Minister was still considering the advice of the Committee for several planning schemes.  The old zones were due to ‘expire’ and the new zones were scheduled to come into force.

As a result, the Minister decided initially to implement the new General Residential Zone (GRZ) provisions as a ‘default’ zone for these municipality residential areas.  As the GRZ is similar to the old Residential 1 Zone, it was a reasonable ‘like for like’ policy neutral translation.  This effectively bought some time for the ‘fine tuning’ of the residential zones in these municipalities.  In some cases, Councils will need to do significantly more work to justify the boundaries of any proposed Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) and Residential Growth Zone (RGZ).

In other words, just because your land may be currently zoned GRZ does not mean that this is the long term zone – it could be an interim step before the introduction of say, the NRZ or RGZ.  The implications and opportunities are complex and we would be happy to discuss with you how this might impact on your land.

Secondly, there is the issue that several Councils are still going through the Advisory Committee process and there is an opportunity to make submissions and have your case considered at a public hearing. These are referred to as ‘Stage 2’ Councils.  For example:

  • Yarra draft Amendment C179 is on exhibition until 22 August and the Advisory Committee hearing is scheduled to commence 8 September;
  • Melbourne draft Amendment C179 is on exhibition until 29 August and the hearing commences 15 September;
  • Darebin draft amendment is scheduled to be exhibited on 6 October and the hearing commences 17 November;
  • Bayside draft Amendment C125 is scheduled to be exhibited on 22 September and the hearing commences on 3 November.

If you own land in any of these or other Stage 2 areas you should consider making a submission.

We also note that in Boroondara, the Council has initiated a consultation program to determine if “there is an anomaly in the way the [new residential zones] have been applied to your property”.  Submissions close on 29 August.

Contact us to learn more and to see how we can help you regarding any of the issues referred to above.

Enquiries to John Roney on 03 8698 9300 or jdr@colliepl.com.au.