Moreland City Council is currently conducting public exhibition for Amendment C190 which seeks to allow specifically designed single and dual occupancy residential applications to be processed via the VicSmart fast track process. The aim of the amendment is to improve the quality of two dwelling on a lot developments, by establishing a more straight forward planning assessment process for proposals which deliver good quality outcomes.
The key features of VicSmart include a 10-day permit process and applications are exempt from notice and objector appeals of Council’s decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). VicSmart was originally introduced for minor planning applications, such as construction of a front fence or swimming pool. Providing the option for ‘two dwelling on a lot developments’ and ‘a new dwelling on a lot with one existing dwelling’ applications to run via VicSmart process; with no community involvement or VCAT appeal rights and a decision from Council within 10 days, will be a very attractive prospect for many developers and investors alike but also will likely cause disputes between neighbours.
What the amendment does
The amendment introduces an additional class of application into the VicSmart provisions to construct a dwelling if there is one dwelling existing on the lot or to construct two dwellings on a lot in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone and General Residential Zone.
The provision includes requirements that the application must be compliant with Rescode standards of the planning scheme and meet other specified criteria. Two dwelling on a lot proposals which do not meet the provision’s requirements will not be eligible for the VicSmart process. The specified criteria are:
Maximum building height
The standard maximum building height requirements of the zone must be met. Within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, the building height must not exceed 9 metres; and must contain no more than 2 storeys at any point. Within the General Residential Zone, the building height must not exceed 11 metres; and must contain no more than 3 storeys at any point.
Minimum garden area
The standard mandatory minimum garden area requirement of the zone must be met.
The landscaping requirements within the Neighbourhood and General Residential Zones must be met. These requirements relate to canopy tree planting.
Site layout and building massing
All numerical standards relating to street setback, site coverage, permeability and width of accessways and car spaces must be met. These requirements ensure that development respects character of the neighbourhood and makes efficient use of the site.
All numerical standards relating to side and rear setbacks, walls on boundaries, daylight to existing windows, solar access to existing north-facing habitable room windows, overshadowing of open space and overlooking must be met. These requirements ensure that the impacts of development on adjoining land owners are not unreasonable.
On-site amenity and facilities
All numerical standards relating to internal views, daylight to new windows, private open space, solar access to open space, storage and front fences must be met. These requirements ensure that high quality living environments are created for those who will live in the dwellings.
Numerical standards relating to the number of car parking spaces must be met. In addition, requirements have been included to reduce the dominance of crossovers and car parking from the street. These requirements are consistent with Council’s case study analysis and relevant VCAT decisions and are particularly applicable to side by side dual occupancies. These requirements ensure the retention of street trees, adequate space for front garden landscaping and retention of on street car parking spaces.
Liveable (accessible) housing
All new dwellings must achieve Silver Level of performance under the Liveable Housing Australia, Liveable Housing Design Guidelines. This requirement is consistent with objectives to increase the supply of housing that is visit able and adaptable to sectors of the community with altered mobility. The specification of Silver standard performance gives greater clarity of accessibility requirements to deliver outcomes that improve upon those currently being delivered by the planning scheme provisions.
All new dwellings must achieve a minimum Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) score of 50%, including achieving the mandatory minimum score paths for water, energy, storm water and indoor environmental quality. This requirement will ensure that the outcomes will be of high quality and that the requirements of the Environmentally Sustainable Development local policy will be met in every application.
Why is Moreland Council proposing this?
Moreland receives more than twice the metropolitan average number of medium density planning permit applications and 40% of these applications are for two dwellings on a lot. It is a development type where compliance with ResCode standards is very high.
According to Moreland Council’s analysis, 1 in 2, two dwelling on a lot applications attracts objections, but only 1 in 10 two dwelling on a lot applications is changed as a result of giving notice. Any changes made are almost always very minor in nature and typically involve a ruler length in difference in some aspect of the building envelope. This is a very low return on the investment of time and energy put into objections and VCAT appeals by neighbours. Moreland Council believes the amendment will provide better outcomes, for both those who live in this housing, and the broader Moreland community, whilst at the same time making more effective use of resources.
What about VCAT Appeals?
VCAT is concluding that Council’s assessment of two dwelling on a lot applications against the requirements of the planning scheme is robust and reasonable. Third party rights of review are adding to the time taken to obtain a decision but not altering the outcome in any meaningful way.
To qualify to be processed within the streamlined process, all requirements must be complied with. By requiring development to adhere to all standards, it will be of high quality. If any of the requirements are sought to be varied, the application will be processed within the standard planning application process with public notice and VCAT review rights applicable.
Benefits of the more straight forward assessment process
Moreland Council suggests two dwelling on a lot development that complies with all numerical standards of the planning scheme achieves high quality outcomes for both those who live in this housing, and the broader Moreland community. The benefits of the straight forward assessment process are:
- Better quality housing for the Moreland community
- Improved customer service and certainty for landowners, developers and the community
- ResCode standards become mandatory rather than discretionary for those opting for this application pathway
- Better ESD outcomes due to the inclusion of ESD as a requirement in criteria
- Better housing accessibility due to a requirement for certification from Liveable Housing Australia.
By requiring full compliance with requirements to qualify for this application stream, Council can secure these outcomes for the community without the time and expense for all parties associated with seeking improved compliance via objections or expensive VCAT reviews.
Where to inspect Amendment C190 documents
The amendment can also be inspected on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.
Have your say
Amendment C190 is now on public exhibition and you are welcome to make a written submission to Council to express your views. Submissions must be received by Friday 17 July 2020.
If you would like to make a submission to council, our expert town planners can assist you to make a formal written submission. Feel free to contact our team to discuss.