Bayside Council is moving closer towards introducing a law banning subdivision on more than 80 per cent of house blocks in the area.
The proposed change to Amendment C140 will see owners of land under 800sq m in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone banned from building more than one property on their block.
Last year, there was an exhibition period from July to September, where the amendment was made available for public comment.
Supporting opinions centered around being able to limit overdevelopment and amenity impacts, as well as maintain the character of the area.
Some of the opposing views included negative impacts on downsizers, younger people and housing affordability.
Ms Anna Ratiner, local architect, started a petition in July last year to stop the change from going ahead. With almost 650 signatures, the council refused to accept Ms Ratiner’s electronic petition as it didn’t have real signatures and contact information for each person. Instead, the council took the petition as one single submission. Ms Ratiner rallied as many people as she could to come down to a local park to sign their names. In the end she was
able to get 80 signatures – making it 81 with the electronic petition.
“I think the council is being very selfish. The population is growing and they’re basically getting other municipalities to take the heavy lifting to accommodate the population growth,” Ms Ratiner said.
“It will minimise the diversity because we would end up with single dwellings and apartments, but nothing in between.”
Bayside Council says the Proposed Amendment will limit subdivisions on 80 per cent of the lots in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone because 8047 lots are 800sq m or greater and 30,022 lots are less than 800sq m. But many residents opposed to the change believe this is an under-estimation and a figure closer to 95 per cent is more accurate.
Residents are also concerned the potential change will reduce the value of blocks less than 800sq m in the Bayside area by 25 to 50 per cent.
Bayside Council state in their pamphlet for Amendment C140 “that fluctuations in property values are not considered as part of the planning process.”
Bayside Council says the Proposed Amendment is based on feedback from the community and the Bayside Housing Strategy.
“Those recommendations from the community were looking to protect neighbourhood character and amenities.”
Bayside Council was unable to comment on how this change will affect affordable housing in the area.
In 2014, a similar proposal was made, but the Planning Minister declined Bayside Council’s request on the basis that there was not sufficient consultation and strategic work underpinning the requirements.
The council will now analyse the public’s submissions and refer them to an independent planning panel, which will be held in March. They will then deliver a report with recommendations for the Planning Minister who will make the final decision.
Update 8 June 2016
Planning Panels Victoria has released their report outlining a recommendation that the proposed Bayside Planning Scheme Amendment C140 be abandoned. Reasons for the rejection including lack of strategic justification and failing to adequately provide for the projected future housing growth.
The Panel outlined that the proposed Amendment is a ‘blanket approach’ to the protection of neighbourhood character and recommends that a more sophisticated (and targeted) approach is required.
It is understood that Council will now consider the recommendation in a Council Meeting on 26 July 2016 and determine whether they will agree to abandon the amendment.
Update 2 August 2016
A year after raising the idea to limit block sizes in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, councillors have officially voted to abandon the plan.
The council will now look into other planning strategies for protecting Bayside’s amenity and character.