By Phillip Leaman

16 September 2015

The Minister of Planning on 4 September 2015, introduced interim controls which will last for 12 months that relate to discretionary provisions in the Melbourne Planning Scheme pursuant to Melbourne Planning Scheme Amendment C262.

The Controls have been introduced pending the larger review called the Central City Built Form Review which is being undertaken by the City of Melbourne and the Planning Minister.

The controls deal with:

  • Building heights.
  • Setbacks.
  • Wind.
  • Shadowing.
  • Introducing discretionary site plot ratio provision.

The planning controls do not apply with applications lodged prior to 5 September 2015 but will apply to all future applications made (whether or not the developer had already entered into a contract of sale to purchase a development site.

The controls apply to the relevant area, a copy of which can be found on the Victorian Government’s website at here.

The land affected by this amendment in terms of zones and design and development overlays (height controls) is within the Capital City Zone Schedules 1, 2 and 3, Public Use Zone Schedules 1, 2 and 7, Road Zone, Public Park and Recreation Zone, Mixed Use Zone and General Residential Zone and is also within the Design and Development Overlay Schedules 2, 7, 40, 60 and 62.

The review covers the Hoddle Grid (CBD) and part of Southbank. It does not include Fishermans Bend, where planning controls are currently under review by the Metropolitan Planning Authority, or Docklands, which is subject to special zoning and comprehensive development plans for each precinct.

The City of Melbourne will be required to adhere to the interim controls for planning permit applications where the council is the Responsible Authority (for applications of less than 25,000m² in gross floor area in the central city).

The City of Melbourne will also be a recommending referral authority, which will require council to respond within 28 days to permit applications referred from the Minister (for applications of more than 25,000m² in gross floor area in the central city).

In particular, the explanatory memorandum for Amendment C262 states:

“The amendment introduces mandatory built form controls to the Central City on an interim basis of 12 months, by making the following changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme:

  • Amend Capital City Zone, Schedules 1 and 2 to introduce mandatory controls to limit overshadowing to identified public spaces and introduce wind analysis application requirements;
  • Amend Capital City Zone, Schedule 3 to introduce mandatory controls to limit overshadowing to the Shrine of Remembrance and its northern forecourt;
  • Amend Design and Development Overlay Schedules 2 (Height Controls- Capital City Zone), 7 (Former Fishmarket Site Northbank), 40 (River Environs), 60 (Southbank) and 62 (Bourke Hill) to change discretionary height controls to mandatory height controls; • Insert a new Design and Development Overlay Schedule 10 (DDO10) to apply mandatory podium height and setback requirements with a discretionary site plot ratio control to the remainder of the amendment area and include provisions to allow reconstructed and replacement buildings and transitional provisions for current applications;
  • Amend Clauses 22.01 (Urban Design within the Capital City Zone) and Clause 22.02 (Sunlight to Public Spaces) for consistency with the revised shadowing controls and built form controls of DDO10;
  • Amend the Schedule to Clause 66.04 to make City of Melbourne a recommending referral authority for planning applications for developments with a gross floor area exceeding 25,000 square metres, for which the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority, within Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Capital City Zone;
  • Amend 8DDOPT3 by deleting Area 2 and Area 3 of Schedule 60 to the Design and Development Overlay; and
  • Insert map 8DDO10 to show Design and Development Overlay Schedule 10”

Under the amendments, a site plot ratio of 24:1 has been included, where as the Department states that “the average site plot ratio for Melbourne and Southbank applications for the last four years is approximately 35:1”.

The new interim controls came into immediate effect and will remain for a year before permanent controls are introduced in September 2016 following public consultation.

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