Zoning upheaval to change region
SOUTH Gippsland is facing significant planning changes that could alter the region’s landscape.
People could have greater rights to do what they like with their land, under proposed rules.
The new zones mooted by the State Government give more rights to subdivide farm land, open businesses among houses and build supermarkets out of town centres, and neighbours would have no right to appeal.
South Gippsland Shire Council confirmed those concerns on Friday.
Council’s Rural Land Use Strategy will lose authority and structure plans for Meeniyan, Nyora, Loch and Poowong – recently passed by council – face review yet again.
Under the rules, a new supermarket could be built on the site of the former Korumburra saleyards without a permit, despite an independent planning panel saying that would split the town’s commercial district to the demise of the main street.
The new zones appear to conflict with council policy, and stand to cost council – and ultimately ratepayers – money.
However, South Gippsland Shire Council has welcomed some of the changes in the discussion paper, Reformed Zones for Victoria, released by Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
Council will hold public meetings this week to inform the community of the impact.
Bass Coast Shire Council is considering its stance on the draft policy.
South Gippsland’s development services director Phil Stone said: “Like most change documents, the paper offers some positive changes, some problematic ones and others that are simply hard to determine their impact at this stage.”
“Positive impacts could be that Residential Zones are more adaptable and that accommodation facilities could be built in the Farming Zones.
“However I am concerned that retail enterprises could be built in Rural Activity Zones, industry in Farming Zones and that section 173 agreements could be removed. Supermarkets could be built with no permit in Industrial 3 zones and could split town centres.”
Tenders for council’s Industrial Land Use Strategy were due to close last Friday, but that brief is likely to need further work, as will the brief for council’s Housing Settlement Strategy.
Council’s Rural Land Use Strategy was imposed to restrict housing in the Farming Zone to protect agricultural land but the new Farming and Rural Activity zones contradict that intention.
Previously, when someone subdivided a home, they were bound by a section 173 agreement (under the Planning and Environment Act) not to undertake further subdivisions, but those would be removed in both zones.
The policy now states the Farming Zone is designed to retain the population to support rural communities.
Industrial businesses such as panel beaters or a cheese factory could open in the Farming Zone, and a bed and breakfast could cater for up to 10 people at once. Neighbours would have no avenue for appeal.
Any retail business would be allowed in the Rural Activity Zone, such as that spanning north of Korumburra and Leongatha, with a permit.
Lots in such zones would be able to be subdivided down to 2ha instead of the current 8ha, regardless of neighbours’ objections.
Under the new General Residential Zone, businesses could open on a main road within 100m of an existing Business Zone, effectively expanding a town’s central business district.
“It could happen in Mirboo North and the shopping centre could expand either side of the highway,” Paul Stampton, council’s manager of strategic planning and development, said.
All business zones would be replaced by Commercial One and Two Zones.
Supermarkets up to 2000 square metres – the average size of most supermarkets in the shire – with shops covering 500 square metres would be allowed out of the main streets of town in industrial zones without a permit.
Examples include on the former Korumburra saleyards site and the bulky goods zone council proposed for the South Gippsland Highway, south of Leongatha.
“We could end up with a supermarket there (on the bulky goods site at Leongatha) when that was not the intention,” Mr Stampton said.
Council will continue with its bid to rezone the former Korumburra Shire complex from Public Use Zone to Business One Zone, and will take that proposal to an independent planning panel.
Council will hold two public information sessions about the zoning changes this week:
- Thursday, April 9, 6pm – 8pm at Meeting Room 2, Leongatha Memorial Hall complex; and
- Friday, August 10, 9am- 11am at Community Meeting rooms, Korumburra.
Council will hold a public briefing to explore the ramifications for South Gippsland at 11am on August 22 at the Leongatha RSL.
A special council meeting would be held on Wednesday, August 29 to finalise council’s submission to the minister by the deadline of September 21.
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