The Victorian State Government recently gazetted a series of changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme which introduced interim design and development controls for parts of the CBD and Southbank.  These guidelines are aimed at controlling the height, density and appropriateness of high rise buildings in the City as well as addressing wider amenity impacts such as overshadowing and wind.  The requirements introduced by these changes include the following:

  • Height Limits: Mandatory height limits have been introduced to various parts of the CBD and Southbank.  These height limits vary depending on location and seek to protect certain areas of the city from over-development.  These height limits are controlled by Schedules 2, 7, 40, 60 and 62 to the design and development overlay.
  • Floor Area Ratio: Development will be restricted to 24 square metres of total floor area for every one square metre of land.  The floor area ratio is controlled by Schedule 10 to the design and development overlay (DDO10), which has been applied to areas across the CBD and Southbank where height control overlays have not been applied.
  • Building Separation: Mandatory building separation distances have also been introduced under the DDO10.  Buildings up to 100 metres in height now have to maintain a minimum setback of 5 metres above podium from all boundaries.  Buildings greater than 100 metres in height will be required to have a tower setback of the equivalent of 5 per cent of the overall building height.

Changes have also been made to clause 66.04 of the Melbourne Planning Scheme, with the City of Melbourne now being listed as a referral authority for any development with a gross floor area that exceeds 25,000 square metres within the Capital City Zone.  This comes after a memorandum of understanding was signed by both Council and the State Government.

These new planning controls have been introduced on an interim (12 months) basis, with the expectation that many of these controls will be reviewed following extensive community and industry consultation.  It will be interesting to see whether this consultation process changes or reinforces these interim controls.

It should be noted that the changes will not affect those developments that are currently under construction, nor will it affect any proposals that have been approved or that were lodged prior to these changes being gazetted.

DDO2Areas in purple and blue affected by a design and development overlay that controls maximum building heights.  Image sourced from Planning Schemes Online.

DDOAreas affected by the DDO10, the overlay which controls floor area ratio and building separation distances.  Image sourced from Planning Schemes Online.