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Issues related to Planning

Melbourne City Council Meeting – June 3, 2014

By Meetings, Melbourne City Council, Planning



On Tuesday at 5.30pm on 3 June a Council committee meeting will take place at the Council meeting room, level 2, Melbourne Town Hall meeting room (Administration entrance Cnr Little Collins and Swanston Street)  at which a report from the Planning Department will be considered  in which recommendations are made for the new residential zones in South Yarra as a consequence of State Government changes to Planning Act.

The MSYRG  committee has made submissions to protect a number of streets which are important from a heritage and neighbourhood character point of view and have had meetings with the planners encouraging them to take advantage of this opportunity, in particular to limit the number of dwellings to two and the height to eight meters, by applying the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

We have had some success but more can and should be done and as a consequence we will be submitting to the councillors on Tuesday night that the administration’s recommendations should not be accepted but the matter be adjourned until further consideration is given to the issues and in particular full discussion with ratepayers has taken place.

As it is important that councillors are made aware of the public feeling about this issue as many ratepayers as possible should attend the meeting.So please come to the meeting if you can and provide your support to the efforts of the Melbourne South Yarra Residents Group.

Thank you,


Michael Butcher.

Submission to City of Melbourne Residential Planning Zones

By Melbourne City Council, Planning


24 April 2014

Mr David Mayes
Manager Strategic Planning
City of Melbourne
City Planning & Infrastructure
PO Box 1603


Dear Sir

Residential Zoning Changes – a golden opportunity

It is the view of the Melbourne South Yarra Residents Group Inc that the City of Melbourne has never had a better opportunity to permanently protect and preserve the heritage and neighbourhood characteristics of large parts of South Yarra and that the initial step taken by Council’s planning officers to merely categorize all of South Yarra as “general neighbourhood” failed to take advantage of this opportunity.

  1. While the planning minister has the power to intervene, his overriding concern has been to ensure sufficient land is set aside for “growth”. However in the case of the City of Melbourne this cannot be an issue having regard to the enormous concentration of apartments in the central district, a development that the minister has been driving most recently by once again intervening and approving five apartment towers.
  2. Furthermore, having regard to the impact of this enormous increase in city dwellers as well as the growing influx of residents from other areas into the city upon the City of Melbourne, its facilities and services it would be entirely inappropriate for the minister to insist that additional growth areas should be set aside in nearby areas such as South Yarra or Carlton. Indeed we would have thought the City of Melbourne should be seeking a contribution from State Government for the additional burdens it has to deal with.
  3. As a consequence of bad laws and/or bad implementation of those laws, important and attractive historic parts of South Yarra have already been impacted by inappropriate houses and blocks of flats. It is time to bring that to a halt and to preserve those historic areas from further degradation.
  4. While property developers will no doubt be unhappy if large parts of South Yarra were zoned Neighbourhood Residential it is high time the planning and development of this city was undertaken by those with expertise rather than developers as has so often been the case in the past. The Minister has now given Council the golden opportunity to do just that.
  5. Accordingly, we enclose a plan in which all of the areas the Melbourne South Yarra Residents Group consider have important historic and neighbourhood characteristics that must be preserved and protected from further over development by re-zoning them as “Neighbourhood Residential”. These comprise all of the properties fronting the following streetsDomain Street
    Hope Street
    Millswyn Street
    Mason Street
    St Martins Lane
    Park Street
    Toorak Road West – Park to Domain Streets
    Leopold Street
    Domain Road – between Hope and Domain Streets
    Domain Road – between Walsh Street and Punt Road
    Pasley Street
    Park Place
    Airlie Street
    St Leonards Cour
  6. Council should not take the view that as there may be inappropriate existing developments in a street, that that street should not be protected as “neighbourhood residential”. These streets are stable precincts in which the dominant characteristic is low level, historic, diverse and interesting buildings that contribute significantly to the feel and style of South Yarra as one of the early parts of Melbourne to be settled. These streets should each be looked at as a whole and if its characteristics are important they should be protected.
  7. It is also our view that the maximum building height should be fixed at 8 metres and the number of dwellings per lot at two.
  8. Reclassifying these precincts “Neighbourhood Residential” and fixing the maximum building height and number of dwellings will provide clarity and certainty that is rare and a great deal more than is currently provided by heritage overlays and other means.
  9. Other councils have been bold in protecting significant parts of their municipality and so should the City of Melbourne. A recent letter from our local member Clem Newton-Brown encourages and indeed tells us to do just that.
  10. There are constant complaints about outsized and inappropriate building in South Yarra to which Council and VCAT often respond “we can do nothing as it is allowed by law”. Well this is the opportunity to change that and for the City of Melbourne to take control.

The Melbourne South Yarra Residents Group urges Council to take full advantage of this opportunity and designate the marked streets “Neighbourhood Residential”. It would be a significant step by the City of Melbourne that the minister should not argue about.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Butcher


cc        Lord Mayor Robert Doyle; Councillor Richard Foster; Councillor Rohan Leppert; Councillor Kevin Louey; Councillor Stephen Mayne; Councillor Cathy Oke; Councillor Ken Ong; Councillor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer; Councillor Jackie Watts; Councillor Arron Wood


Proposed Neighbourhood Residential Zones - Melbourne South Yarra

Proposed Neighbourhood Residential Zones – Melbourne South Yarra

Residential Zone Amendments – Report to Members

By Committee, Melbourne City Council, Planning



State Government

1.   The Victorian State Government is in the process of amending residential planning zones and at the end of the process they will be classified either:

(a)   Residential Growth Zone close to transport and services and suitable for higher density living;

(b)   General Residential Zone which allows modest housing growth and diversity in keeping with neighbourhood character; or

(c)    Neighbourhood Residential Zone which limits housing growth and density allowing predominantly for single dwellings with a maximum building height of 8 metres.

City of Melbourne

2.    Our South Yarra postcode area has been initially assessed by the City of Melbourne planners as a General Residential Zone which in a planning sense is similar to the existing requirements.

3.   However, Council is seeking the opinion of and submissions from ratepayers and this has been the subject of considerable thought and discussion by members of the committee of the Melbourne South Yarra Residents Group. The committee believes significant parts of South Yarra should be a Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ). The criteria specified by Government and Council for the NRZ are the following.

(a)    In a heritage precinct with heritage overlays.

(b)   In a stable, settled area.

(c)   Large contiguous streetscapes consisting almost entirely of single dwelling lots.

MSYRG Committee

4.    It is the view of the committee that large parts of South Yarra satisfy all or some of these requirements and have significant heritage value and neighbourhood character that should be recognised and protected.

5.   It is the view of the Committee that the streets marked on the attached plan are those that should be zoned Neighbourhood Residential and preparation of a submission to Council in those terms has been commenced.

MSYRG members

6.   However, before making any submission to Council the Committee wishes to bring these facts to the attention of all of its members so that they have the opportunity to consider and comment upon what is occurring. Further information can be obtained on the City of Melbourne website at:


7.   Accordingly, if any member wishes to express a view about the conclusion currently formed by the committee or any relevant issues about what should or should not be included within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone they should communicate in writing to msyrg3141@gmail.com or telephone Michael Butcher on 0411 722 635 between 1.00pm and 2.00pm any day.

Urgent response needed

8.   As our submission to Council must be completed by 25 April 2014 if a member wishes to express a view he or she must respond to this notice no later than 22 April 2014.


My apologies for the short time frame.


Michael Butcher
Melbourne South Yarra Residents’ Group Inc


Proposed Zoning plan

VCAT Ruling: 157-159 Domain Rd, South Yarra

By Planning

Below is the VCAT ruling in relation to the 157-159 Domain Road development

Dated: 3 January 2014

Project Domain Pty Ltd v City of Melbourne

VCAT Member: Bill Sibonis


The proliferation of restaurants and licences premises only serves to undermine the stated aim and obejctive of the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS), Clause 21.08, Economic Development states:

There is a need to support the provision of local shops to serve the residential and working communities in local centres. A proliferation of eating and entertainment uses should not undermine the character and range of services offered in these local centres.

An objective is to support the Central City and local retail uses. A related strategy is:

Ensure that a proliferation of eating and entertainment establishments in local centres does not undermine the viability of their convenience retailing.

We would like to draw your attention to item 27 of the VACT determination which states: (Emphasis added)

A significant difficulty in implementing this strategy is the fact that the use of the land for a restaurant is not subject to a planning permit, given the Commercial 1 zoning of the land.

Under the provisions of the previously existing Business 1 zoning, there existed the ability to specify in the Schedule land upon which a restaurant use could not be established without a permit.

The Council had not nominated any land within the municipality in the Schedule.

With the change of zone, the ability to include this requirement has disappeared.  As no permit is required for the use, it is difficult to understand how the strategy relating to the ‘proliferation’ of eating establishments can be implemented in a land use sense. 

The regulatory tools necessary to give effect to the Council’s aspirations for this centre, as expressed in this specific strategy, do not form part of the suite of controls which apply in this case.

VCAT Project Domain Pty Ltd v Melbourne CC (bs bs 030114))