VCAT Advocacy – Moreland NRZ1
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Council: Moreland City Council
Zone: Neighbourhood Residential Zone 1
Proposal: Construction of 8 double storey dwellings across a 1,524sqm site.
Council Decision: Refusal – Primarily Neighbourhood Character / Landscaping / Change Designation (Minimal)
VCAT Decision: Approval.
Engaged to research, prepare submissions and present at the Tribunal, on behalf of the permit applicant:
- Site context discussion
- VCAT case review and discussion
- Discussion of the implications of Plan Melbourne 2017
- Interpretation and discussion of Council change policy
- Interpretation and discussion of Council Neighbourhood Character policy
- Merits of the proposal as a balanced response to context and all applicable policy.
A full copy of the Tribunal decision can be accessed here. This was an important decision handed down by Senior Member Rachel Naylor.
The main points of consideration in respect of this decision:
- Confirmed that Lower density does not mean no change [Para. 6]
- Extent of front garden area provided is an important consideration in achieving the open, leafy character that is desired by local policy [Para. 12]
- Council’s Neighbourhood Character policy suggests POS should be in excess of Clause 55 standards on NRZ sites. The Tribunal found: Schedule 1 to the NRZ does not vary the private open space standard B28, so the policy reference to areas in excess of clause 55 standards is aspirational at best [Para. 14]
- Open rear yard character was an important consideration – previously it had yet to be defined or clearly discussed by the Tribunal. Council’s Neighbourhood Character policy suggests development at the rear should be single storey where the prevailing character is of open rear yards and garden outlooks. This decision provides some important discussion.
- The Tribunal specifically referred to out-buildings in the consideration of an open rear yard character: I agree with the Applicant that it is common in this immediate neighbourhood for there to be a variety of outbuildings in the rear of properties, hence this neighbourhood does not have a prevailing character is not one of open rear yards and garden outlooks. This is a specific policy criteria that recognises the opportunity, therefore, to have development that is greater than two storeys at the rear. Hence, this proposal has the benefit of this opportunity. [Para. 20]