Given the form of multi unit development already established in the area and the costs associated with the acquisition of three sites to enable apartments, it is likely that most redevelopment in the DDO8 area will be two storey townhouse developments in courts and side streets off main roads.

Two Storey TownHouse Development 7.7 m height
                         Click to enlarge

The Reformed Residential Zones will mean the current DDO8 will be subject to the terms and conditions of the General Residential Zone (GRZ). It will remain intact except that the height criteria will be more defined. Maximum heights and number of storeys, (11 metres and three storeys), will now apply to apartment proposals on allotments 18oo m2 or more in sub-precinct A. A lower height formula (9 metres and two storeys) will apply to townhouse developments in sub-precinct B and on allotments of less than 1800 m2 in sub-Precinct A.

According to the Reformed Residential zones the lower maximum heights and number of storeys applicable to smaller sites in the overlay still apply. The maximum site coverage of 60% is expected to meet the garden area requirement of up to 35%, after the driveway area is deducted from total open space. (usually less than 5%)

Both the GRZ and NRZ also include conditions that provide for an increase in the maximum height of the building by one metre on a sloping site plus an additional amount if a proposal is in a flood prone area etc..

3 Storey only 8.84 m Whittens lane
Click to enlarge

Rodney who is a “chippy” from Doncaster believes that the new regulations will result in three storey buildings being much lower than the 11 metre maximum height allowed because of building costs. In order to demonstrate this has asked that we publish a photograph of a three storey apartment building recently constructed in Whittens Lane, Doncaster that needed a height of only 8.84 metres. He writes, “These new zone regulations limiting the number of storeys will automatically lower heights because builders will not be looking to go any higher than what is necessary because extra height means higher costs of building  materials and labor”.

“A three storey building with a flat roof or skillion roof, the preferred neighbourhood character, will only require 9.2 metres even less with excavation, 300 mm for base and floors in between plus 2700 mm for ceiling heights and a 300 mm rise for the skillion roof which can be as little as 200 mm depending on the width of the roof span”.

The new Zone conditions apply to all applications after March 17th 2017.

There does not appear any changes to the Residential Growth Zone (the Main Road Precinct) where a discretionary heights and land areas have been retained.

In regard to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (Residential Areas Removed from Activity Centres and Main Roads) the building height will be increased from 8 to 9 metres with a new two storey height limit. Provisions for slightly higher buildings on sloping land will remain. Council will still be able to set an alternative maximum height but it must be more than 9 metres.

A representative from state planning will be visiting Council in May to explain how the Reformed Residentail Zones will apply in Manningham.

Current  DDO8….  DDO8 C 96  and Existing MSS …..mss C 96

Full details are included in the links below.


General Resedential Zone

reforms to the residential zones.

They’re Here! The Residential Zone Amendments Have Been Gazetted.


  1. Celeste says:

    The height limit should always have included a maximum number of storeys. It would have saved a heap of ratepayer funds spent defending the strategy had they been included in the first place. It took state planning more than a decade of bureaucratic bungling and stubbornness before they agreed to change the height formula. There appears very little change to Manningham’s overlay in the Reformed Zones which seemed more to divert attention away from their early mistake.

    Another example of the power these people have was a traffic law in Victoria, brought in at the behest of a top bureaucrat, where vehicles turning left had to give way to oncoming vehicles making a right-hand turn. This rule, famous for causing so many accidents, was retained for nearly a decade and removed the moment the bureaucrat retired.

  2. Harrigab says:

    The zone requirements will reduce high density apartment buildings in residential streets but there will still be overdevelopment because two storey townhouse units can be terraced making it possible to build up to five on an average size single block.

    1. Mick Manton says:

      It will be a huge improvement on the three storey apartment building in Thiele Street, Doncaster which has a total of 50 dwellings built over three allotments which is equal to more than 16 dwellings per block! It can still happen if the land can be acquired but now less likely due to the current asking prices.

  3. Ross says:

    For anyone interested in selling their house to a developer and want to get an idea of what the going rate is in the GRZ, we have been offered approximately $2,200 per square metre. This would amount to about $1.7 million less legal costs, agents fees and stamp duty totaling about $100,000. After looking around we found we could not duplicate the quality of our home nor it’s location to services unless we moved to a different area which is not an option. If you own one unit in a townhouse cluster of three or more for you will get less from a developer than what your unit would fetch on the open market.

  4. Curious says:

    I can’t see there being any real distinction between the two sub-precincts A & B, which I assume is the GRZ, unless the minimum land area criteria for a higher development in sub-Precinct A is reduced. The opportunity to consolidate three allotments is rapidly diminishing because of the high number of established cluster developments and because owners of single blocks have become more aware of values in the current climate of booming house prices.

  5. Kildarlin says:

    This will be a fresh start and an opportunity for Council to do the right thing now that they must stipulate heights in storeys. Its planning executives should have listened and responded to the hundreds of submissions they received at previous hearings about the potential impact the 10 metre height limit (on slightly sloped land), without a restriction of two storeys, would have on the low and medium density residential zones. The submitters were concerned that the 10 metre height would result in three storeys developments being built that would spoil the character of our suburban streets. The new height controls stipulate that a foundation height of 1.2 metres or more will be considered a storey. This control will help prevent buildings from rising out of the ground too much and ensures that developments are stepped with site slope, further limiting bulk and scale.

  6. East of Whittens says:

    I am told that the Main Road developments will continue to have a discretionary height of 13.5 metres without any limit on the number of storeys.

    Sub-Precincts A and B (DDO8 2 and 3) will now include both heights and storeys in their respective schedules. Where a lower height than 11 metres and three storeys is prescribed within either of the two sub-Precincts, they will continue to apply. (Extra One metre height allowance where there is slope)

    It is unclear how Manningham will mandate the lower scale Neighbourhood Residential Zones

  7. Less says:

    I definitely appreciate the inclusion of storeys in the limits, it is tangible, easier to visualise and comprehend.
    My family and I reluctantly moved out of our home of 20 years in Doncaster due to imposing neighbouring apartments. If these rules had been in pace at the time, the 30 apartments that built next to me would not have got through, and the huge effort in time and emotional drain would not have been necessary. Not the mention tying up council and VCAT resources.

    I hope it allows other families to go ahead with better confidence around their homes, and future living environment.


  8. Steptoe says:

    To regain respect and restore community confidence, Manningham officers must stop dithering and act quickly to enforce these new rules so as we can have our two storey townhouse buildings in the areas where they are planned. This is their third and probably their last opportunity to get the planning scheme corrected instead of waffling. The three time Beverley Street fiasco at VCAT is an example of that. It is hardly value for money when we are paying the head of planning a salary of up to a quarter of Million Dollars per year (more than $5,000 per week) and the CEO on an annual salary of $320,000…PLEASE!

  9. Pathological Planning says:

    The government planning dept want Manningham to remove the limit on the number of dwellings that can be built on land in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. This makes no sense because the height stipulated for this area could allow the same scale of development applicable to the higher density area of sub-Precint B. This is not going to be as smooth sailing as first thought, it could take some time before the reforms are ratified.

    1. Patrick says:

      I hope not there has been too much uncertainty for too long because Victorian planning panels have been incompetent…simple as that. They had been telling the community for the last 11 years that heights in metres alone should be included in the planning schedules rather than specifying storeys which might have been okay had they set realistic height limits…they didn’t and that is why we have had massive over development in courts and side streets.

      1. Back To the Future says:

        This latest reform of the three zones is very much akin to the C50 amendment that Manningham Council first packaged back in 2006 before the dickheads at Victoria Panels stuffed it up by removing most of the controls which resulted in a heap of expensive VCAT appeals
        What we have now is almost a replica except where the minimum garden areas (open space less driveways and roofed areas) have been calculated differently but is almost the same open space when the existing site coverage limit of 60% is added.
        Initially they tried to give the impression that this was the primary reason for the reforms and not because VCAT had strongly advised that a limit on storeys had to be introduced, a control that they themselves had foolishly removed from the Manningham proposal more than a decade earlier.

  10. Rex says:

    The State planing, now called the DELWP, previously DTPLI and before that DPCD, have held out for as long as it could on the height catch-22. It was only when it became embarrassingly obvious, to all and sundry, that they have admitted their failing and have now agreed to allow the number of storeys and maximum heights to be inserted in the council’s building schedules.
    Even then they have tried to soften the issue by a making it secondary, as if it were some minor adjustment, by not even mentioning it in the mandatory minimum garden areas press release.

    The minimum garden areas, depending what is acceptable as a driveway design, appear to allow a greater site coverage for buildings on smaller blocks e.g The 25% minimum garden area for smaller blocks could result in buildings being allowed a site a coverage of 70%
    Contact Number 1300 366 356

  11. Ootawter says:

    Government has identified Manningham as an area for extensive development even though it has no infrastructure and what services there are available are already overstretched. Statistics indicate that for any growth area to succeed it must have a railway line running through it.
    According to population dynamics and population ecology, overshoot occurs when a population exceeds the long term carrying capacity of its environment. The consequence of overshoot is called a collapse, a crash or a die-off in which there is a decline in population density and a drop in house prices.

    1. Dragonseed says:

      The redevelopment of Doncaster could be used by planning instructors in the future as a classic example of where Population Overshoot can occur if basic planning principles are not observed.
      As far as I know there were no height controls in the Manningham area before the planning of the Doncaster High Rise Strategy back in 2002. Prior to that the Manningham Shire had gone very close to being a victim of the Kennett Government’s consolidation of councils plan. Up to that point little had been done in regard to establishing a policy for its residential strategy except that you could build two storey dual occupancies on a single allotment. State government selected the Doncaster area as a major growth area, not because it was suitable but because it had no restrictions in place where it could curb the extent of redevelopment. Council simply had to go along with government policy which might have been okay if a lower scale plan had been envisaged. The area is car driven due to the abandonment of a railway line and there is very little access to employment within the municipality with a huge shortfall in essential services. The new zones announced may well limit extra storeys in the general growth zones which is a good thing but it now appears they want to increase development outside the growth zones with no limit on dwellings!

  12. Honeywell says:

    The premier’s press release, announcing the hastily conceived minimum garden area regulations, seemed more designed to take the focus away from the DLWP’s landmark decision to amend the contentious height criteria that had been a nightmare for the councils.

    With all the rigmarole surrounding these regulations, we might be better off retaining the existing 40% open space requirement and be done with it. The new regulations propose a maximum site coverage for buildings on larger blocks in the GRZ, 650 sqm or more, up 65%, less driveways, pathways and open rooved areas. This could mean a larger footprint for a three storey apartment building because it usually has a short wide driveway leading to a main entrance and basement car park whereas a townhouse style development with full length driveway, plus any paved areas in POS, could result in a lesser site coverage.
    This could finish up being another administrative minefield for council, worse than the flawed height formula, leading to another round of further regulations

  13. Syntratt says:

    I am sick and tired of hearing excuses that it was the government that foisted all this inappropriate development on Doncaster and there was nothing council could have done to prevent it. There were a number of council officers in senior positions that actually wanted the high density developments and were looking forward to the prospect of promotion and the higher wages that would come with the administering of it. Council are on record of actually agreeing with Government’s plan in the C96 amendment despite overwhelming evidence submitted by its own residents that the terms of the height schedule could be exploited by greedy developers. It was government planning that first acknowledged it was wrong and needed to be reviewed because of the uncertainty, not the Manningham council.

  14. Objector says:

    Here is the proof of Council siding with Government in summary refusing to limit the number of storeys taken from the council minutes in October 2012.
    2.15. Officers’ Response
    Storeys vs. Maximum Building Height
    2.16. The request to introduce the number of storeys in addition to the maximum
    building height i.e. maximum height of 9 metres and 2 storeys is problematic
    for several reasons. Firstly, from a statutory planning perspective, the
    Manningham Planning Scheme defines a ‘storey’ as:
    ‘That part of a building between floor levels. If there is no floor above, it is
    the part between the floor level and ceiling. It may include an attic,
    basement, built over car parking area, and mezzanine’.
    2.17. Given that Manningham is particularly hilly, many residential buildings
    incorporate basements, and in some cases mezzanine features, so whilst a
    dwelling may present as a two storey building, it is by definition of the
    Manningham Planning Scheme a three, or more, storey building

    1. Middlemiss says:

      Well not exactly. The Manningham planning arm out manoeuvred planning panels Victoria by reintroducing the minimum land size where a three storey buildings could be built and two storey buildings erected on smaller blocks. Although Manningham were not permitted to change the height (up to 10metres), for two storey buildings, it became a fiasco when council started receiving applications for three storeys. VCAT agreed with council and that was the beginning of the end for the height dilemma. The latest minimum garden area regulations looks like another clanger hastily conceived to divert attention from the amending of a previous clanger.

  15. Judith and Daniel says:

    It is the first we have heard of minimum garden areas, they were never discussed at the advisory panel hearing in 2016.
    As far as I know the maximum site coverage for a development in the Manningham DDO8 has always been a maximum 60%.
    But under the new regulations, on a block of land over 650 m2, a townhouse development will have a lesser site coverage because of the extensive paving required that cannot be part of the minimum garden areas of 35%.
    Take a double block of say 1500 m2. The 200 m2 of paved areas would have to be added to the 525 m2 (35%) of garden areas making a total area of 725 m2 that would be deducted from 1500 m2 leaving only 775 m2 (less than 52%) allowed for a development’s site coverage.
    Three storey apartment developments, on land 1800 m2 or more, would have a greater site coverage because they need to add only 40 m2 of paving to the minimum garden areas of 630 m2 so apartment developments could have a greater site coverage than before at 63%.

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