Michael Buxton on Proposed Vic Planning Zones 1

Michael Buxton is a well published expert on Planning from RMIT.

Search for him On the web and you will find a wealth of content, these excerpts are his review on the new proposed Victorian Planning revamp – and they are significant and in some cases scary. some topics you will have heard, but the extent of impact is Huge. We will break his report into several sections dealing with each Zone. This is the Overview section.

PROPOSED NEW VICTORIAN PLANNING ZONES       Assoc. Professor Michael Buxton, RMIT   18.9.12

  The Victorian government’s proposed new planning zones are the most radical review of planning schemes in the history of Victorian planning. They will lead to fundamental changes in the way Melbourne operates, change the fabric of the city and its hinterland, and remove an extensive range of existing citizen rights. Every citizen will be affected.

The new zone proposals will

Replace the three existing residential zones with three new residential zones

  • Replace the Business 1, 2 and 5 zones with a new Commercial 1 zone, and the Business 3 and 4 zones with a new Commercial 2 zone
  • Extensively alter the Green Wedge zone, rural Conservation zone, Green Wedge A zone, Farming zone, Rural Activity zone and Rural Living zone
  • Change the existing Mixed Use zone, Township zone and Low Density Residential zone
  • Change the existing Industrial 1, 2 and 3 zones.

The government recently released the report of the Advisory Committee into the Victorian planning system and its response to this report. Neither this report nor the government response advocated the changes to zones now proposed. No other justification or strategic context has been provided for the radical changes to the statutory planning system. Clearly, the government worked extensively on its changes to zones in a secret parallel process while the public was diverted to a public process which proposed only moderate change.

The major impacts will be the introduction of extensive commercial uses into residential areas, the destruction of Melbourne’s traditional strip retail centres, the dispersal of commercial activities to car based areas resulting in serious metropolitan wide traffic congestion, the de-facto removal of the urban growth boundary and the extension of a large number of urban related uses into green wedges. Resident rights of notification and objection will be seriously curtailed with many new uses allowed in these new zones without the need for permits.

In particular, the zones will:

  • merge residential and commercial uses across urban zones, with an extension of commercial uses into residential areas and little difference between commercial and some industrial zones
  • increase the price of commercial and rural land through the encouraging of land speculation
  • lead to the growth of large numbers of out-of-centre car based commercial/retail developments including accommodation which will end the current functions of many strip retail centres and lead to substantial car use and increase road congestion across Melbourne
  • increase the height of commercial/retail and mixed use developments.

The new zones constitute a largely deregulated land use planning system drawing from the reports and lobbying of market oriented bodies and development groups and growth focused government agencies. These zones, in effect, constitute unfair competition by attempting to allow a wide range of uses in many locations. Existing strip retail centres, for example, will have to compete against new retail development built on much cheaper land far from public transport; land traditionally used for agriculture and rural pursuits will become locations for urban related commercial development and accommodation facilities in unfair competition against higher priced urban land. The principle of unregulated markets also takes no account of their public economic, social and environmental impacts, for example, the impacts on congestion of dispersed commercial development and the associated costs in delays and road construction and maintenance.

The application of the zones and the use of schedules will be subject to ministerial approval. Councils may not be allowed to select zones they regard as appropriate to land in their municipalities.

The use of overlays and structure plans may not significantly reduce the impact of the zones. For example, the Heritage Overlay is increasingly ineffective in preventing development even under current zones, and the effects of structure plans depend on the their content and the nature of their incorporation into planning schemes.

Melbourne will not be the same city if these new zones are approved even in a modified form.

One Response to “Michael Buxton on Proposed Vic Planning Zones 1”

  1. Gary Haley says:

    After hearing the professors brief discussion with John Fain this day I wish to add the point of financial pressure, on the residential ratepayer, is a major problem, and becoming worse, as no council is prepared to address, the disposable dollar of the community at large, but blame the State & Fed. Gov. gross mismanagement to funding and G.S.T. allocations to the states, in turn grants to unconstitutional, local councils, who never take on board submissions in respect to ever increasing rates on the community, but continue with yearly thousand $$ dollar $$ plus, salary package increases, and can’t address the cities problems with V.C.A.T.
    Councillors themselves have no say in decision making by the administrative body of the cities council, they are the bollard between frustrated ratepayers and the administration decisions behind closed doors, good or bad, NON RESPONSIVE.
    In 2009 the C.E.O. salary was $323 thousand plus the usual perks and pleasures as of Sept. 2012 the salary package had increased to $370 thousand, plus the UNKNOWN, perks pleasures.
    THESE INCREASES WE ARE TOLD, TO MANAGE, WITH MUCH NEEDED EXPERTISE OF CONSULTANTS AND OTHERS TO MAXIMISE THE MASSIVE SHORT FALL IN GOV. FUNDING WITH NO ASSESSMENT TO THE COMMUNITIES DISPOSABLE DOLLAR.
    Hence, small business, just walks, leaving debts, lease equipment on site never to be paid for, Wayne Swan admitted in editorial that the G.S.T. is not performing as expected.
    Wonder of wonders, when the P.A.Y.E. tax collection drops ( no home industry, employment protection ) ( near 30% and increasing ) is it any wonder the G.S.T. is failing, (43% ) as it only comes from the disposable dollar for goods and services.
    As for essential services it appears the fraudulent costing and till perking of Enron from California has migrated to Aust.
    I CERTAINLY WISH YOU LUCK WITH THIS ONE, AS EDUCATED INDIVIDUALS WITH INTEGRITY TO MANAGE WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE IS DIMINISHING, BUT INDIVIDUALS WITH NO CONSCIENCE, NO EDUCATION BY SCHOOLING OR FIELD EXPERIENCE, BUT HAVE MORE MOVES THAN RATS IN A WHEAT SILO, WHERE EXACTLY DOES THE LEAVE THE CITIZENS OF THE CITY, STATE, COUNTRY, MASSIVE RELIANCE ON SOCIAL SERVICES WITH NO MONEY TO FUND IT, IF GILLARD OR LABOUR CAN RUN THIS COUNTRY, I MUST BE A BRAIN SURGEON,( FAT CHANCE )

Leave a Response

Currently you have JavaScript disabled. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser.