At its meeting on 28 February 2017, Council adopted new residential zones and development standards, aimed at protecting Monash's 'garden city' character. These changes (known as Amendment C125 to the Monash Planning Scheme) have now been submitted to the Minister for Planning for approval.
Here is Council's media release: Acting to protect Monash's 'garden city' character.
While awaiting the Minister's approval, Council is able to start applying the new zones and standards as they are considered to have 'serious weight' given they have been adopted by Council. Applicants for new developments will be advised to start designing to the new zones and standards immediately.
With applications that have already been lodged, the new zones and standards will start being considered as part of the assessment process after 31 March 2017 (or earlier if the Minister approves the amendment before that date).
The changes all flow from the Monash Housing Strategy, which was adopted by Council in 2014. Here is more information on the Monash Housing Strategy.
Enquiries: Council's Strategic Planning department on 9518 3555.
Which zone is my property or street in?
State Government changes to planning requirements
Council's approach is to direct the majority of new development towards activity centres, the Monash National Employment Cluster (in Clayton) and along Springvale Road and Princes Hwy, so redevelopment is limited in local streets.
Some of the new measures adopted by Council include:
- The rezoning of areas near the Damper, Scotchmans and Gardiners Creeks and along the Dandenong Valley Escarpment to Neighbourhood Residential Zones where development will be less intensive;
- Increasing the rear setback from 1 metre to 5 metres for properties in the General Residential Zone and in the Neighbourhood Residential Zones 3 and 4 along the Dandenong Valley Escarpment and in the Damper, Scotchmans and Gardiners Creeks environs areas;
- Increasing the rear setback from 1 metre to 7 metres for properties in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone 2 that abuts Damper, Scotchmans and Gardiners Creeks; and
- Reducing site coverage (how much a building covers a block) from 60% to 50% in General Residential Zones and in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone along the Dandenong Valley Escarpment, and to 40% in areas abutting the Damper, Scotchmans and Gardiners Creeks;
- Rezoning parts of Clayton (in the Monash National Employment Cluster) to facilitate apartment style development by using a mix of the Residential Growth Zone 3 and General Residential Zone 6;
Once approved by the Minister for Planning, the rear setback requirement will apply to new single dwellings as well as multi-unit developments. This will reduce the impact that large homes are having on neighbours, by providing separation between properties.
It should be noted that while standards such as the five metre rear setback would be expected to be achieved in most cases, they would not be mandatory. People could apply to vary any or all of these standards if, for example, they owned an irregular sized housing block.
Detailed information about the changes is available in: Amendment C125 - final documents
More information is available in the reports Council considered at its 28 February 2017 meeting:
Report to 28 February 2017 Council meeting - Amendment C125 Consideration of Panel Report and Adoption of Amendment (PDF, 296KB)
Attachment 1 - Residential Development Framework Map (PDF, 625KB)
Attachment 2 - Zone and Schedule Changes (PDF, 749KB)
Attachment 3 - Strategic Research Summary (PDF, 190KB)
Attachment 4 - Summary of Community Consultation (PDF, 143KB)
Attachment 5 - Panel's Recommendations (PDF, 216KB)
Attachment 6 - Panel Recommendations and Officer Comment (PDF, 163KB)
Attachment 7 - Proposed New Zone Map (PDF, 1MB)
Which zone is my property or street in?
Here is a map which shows which zones apply where: Map showing new zones (PDF, 1MB)
State Government changes to planning requirements
On 11 March 2017, the State Government announced changes to the statewide planning regulations. Previously, development in Neighbourhood Residential Zones was limited to two dwellings per block. Under the government's changes, there will no longer be a cap on how many dwellings can be built on a block.
At the same time, the government said it would be introducing mandatory height controls for new development and requiring a mandatory percentage of garden space in new developments. Council will be analysing these State Government changes and will report back to Council and the community on what these changes mean for Monash. For more information on the State Government's changes, visit the Reformed Residential Zones website.
Independent Panel report
Prior to Council adopting the final amendment, we asked an independent planning panel to assess what we were proposing.
The panel heard submissions from Monash residents and property owners during September and early October 2016. It provided its report and recommendations to Council in December 2016:
Amendment C125 - Panel Report (PDF, 3MB)
Amendment C125 - Panel Report (Recommendations) (PDF, 216KB)
Overall, the panel was supportive of Council's intention to protect Monash's 'garden city' character.
The panel made 35 recommendations. Council accepted some but not all of the panel's recommendations. Its recommendations included that Council:
- re-introduce a five metre setback at the rear of properties in General Residential zones, providing space between back fences and houses for trees and gardens. Council had initially proposed this measure but withdrew the measure in 2016 because some residents said it would be too restrictive.
At that time, Council decided to continue proposing setbacks of six or seven metres in areas near the Damper, Gardiners and Scotchmans Creeks. The panel supports a seven metre rear setback for properties that directly abut the creeks. The panel also supports Council’s proposal to reduce the amount of coverage buildings have across a site. However, the panel recommends abandoning a proposal to increase the minimum size of secluded private open space required on properties;
- keep areas near Monash's creeks as General Residential (rather than rezoning them to Neighbourhood Residential as Council has proposed) but introduce overlays to protect vegetation and limit building size;
- abandon a proposal to rezone parts of Clayton (in the Monash National Employment Cluster) to Residential Growth, a zoning which facilitates high density development. The rezoning has been put forward by the Victorian Planning Authority, but the panel concluded it was premature.
Here are some documents which the panel considered as part of its assessment. The panel requested that these documents be published on Council’s website: Amendment C125 - Panel Hearing Information.
At its meetings in May and July 2016, Council decided on proposed zonings and measures. These proposals have now been assessed by the independent planning panel.
Here are the zonings that are being proposed by Council (and that were assessed by the panel): Map of Proposed Zones (PDF, 641KB)
Our proposals included:
- Reducing the maximum amount of coverage that buildings have across a property block (the site coverage) from the current limit of 60% to 50%. In environmentally sensitive areas near the Damper, Gardiners and Scotchmans Creeks, the maximum site coverage is proposed to be 40% - 45%. Most properties in Monash have a site coverage lower than 50%. However, occasionally there are new constructions that exceed this coverage. This proposed limit on site coverage responds to community concerns about overdevelopment
- Increasing the minimum parcel of private open space required on individual properties from 35m2 to 50m2 in most areas of Monash, except in areas near the Damper, Gardiners and Scotchmans Creeks where the proposal is to increase to a 60m2 parcel. The aim of this measure is to encourage people to have garden areas with room for trees. There has been no increase in the total amount of private open space required on individual properties - this remains at 75m2.
- Introducing a rear setback of six or seven metres in areas near the Damper, Gardiners and Scotchmans Creeks. A rear setback is the distance between the back fence and a dwelling. Rear setbacks aren’t being proposed in other areas of Monash as many community members said the setbacks would place too much restriction on redevelopment
- Requiring a minimum of two canopy trees in new multi-unit developments. There is no specific height set for the trees. Instead, it is proposed that the height of the trees be linked to the height of the new units (so if a site has a single storey building, the canopy trees only need to be as high as that building but if it has a double storey building, the canopy trees need to meet the height of that building).
Council decided on these proposals at its meeting on 31 May 2016, after undertaking extensive community consultation. Please find below relevant documents from this Council meeting:
Proposed residential zones - report considered at 31 May 2016 meeting (PDF, 230KB)
Map of proposed zones (Attachment 1) (PDF, 471KB)
Summary of changes (Attachment 2) (PDF, 122KB)
Additional strategic research (Attachment 3) (PDF, 190KB)
In-principle position adopted at 29 March 2016 meeting (Attachment 4) (PDF, 69KB)
Summary of community consultations (Attachment 5) (PDF, 148KB)
Summary of verbal submissions (Attachment 6) (PDF, 140KB)
Proposed zone corrections (Attachment 7) (PDF, 1MB)
At its meeting on 27 July 2016, Council resolved to include an area of Glen Waverley (bounded by Springvale, Waverley, Gallaghers and High Street Rds) in a Neighbourhood Residential Zone, as had been originally proposed.
In May 2016, Council had resolved to include this area in a General Residential Zone. However, residents from this neighbourhood contacted Council to oppose this change and to request that their area go back into a Neighbourhood Residential Zone.
Neighbourhood Residential Zones provide more protection of existing character whereas General Residential Zones provide more flexibility to property owners.
To read the motion Council adopted on this matter, see Notice of Motion - Extent of Proposed Neighbourhood Residential Zone 4 (PDF, 135KB)