Residential Re-Zoning – Ratepayers Ignored

At the City of Melbourne (COM) council meeting on 3 June more than 100 ratepayers (including MSYG members) attended to complain that they had not been given an opportunity to consider and discuss the final report by the Council planning department for the rezoning of the residential areas (including South Yarra) provided for under recent state government legislation.

This was a particularly important meeting because of the imminent introduction of new residential planning classifications. The MSYRG and many residents had advised the COM that the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) classification, a classification that provides the strictest protection against inappropriate development and building, is the only appropriate classification for many areas within our suburb of South Yarra. Areas where heritage and neighbourhood character are important features warrant the protection afforded by the new controls in an NRZ zone.

Council was slow to take up the opportunity and failed to include NRZ in a number of obvious South Yarra streets either because they failed to understand the purpose of the legislation, applied the legislation incorrectly or made mistakes due to running short of time to make an adequate and thorough assessment.

There was an admission at the meeting that Council officers ran short of time to adequately conduct a thorough consultation process with the community due to pressure to conduct and finalise other work within the COM (East-West tunnel related activities).

The MSYRG and other resident Groups within the COM felt that it was a very disappointing consultation process to say the least.

However, we are continuing to prosecute our strong belief that a NRZ classification is largely correct for important areas of South Yarra and preparing submissions to the government committee that will have the final say.

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