Vicinity Open Space Levy action

Questions and Responses

I saw the article in today's Age about Vicinity appealing the open space levy at The Glen.

Can you tell me about the situation? 

A land owner who proposes to subdivide land must make a contribution to the Council for public open space. This contribution can either be in the form of a monetary contribution and/or the transfer of an equivalent amount of land within the site to be subdivision, or a combination of both.

However, there are some exemptions to having to make a public open space contribution when subdividing land.  One of these exemptions relates to the subdivision of a commercial or industrial building.  This exemption states that a public open space contribution is exempt from being made when  each proposed lot contains a part of a commercial (or industrial) building. Vicinity consider that this exemption applies to their proposal to subdivide the land. 

VCAT’s recent decision on this matter said that this exemption did not apply to Vicinity’s proposal and the basis that in future, each proposed lot will contain a part of a commercial and residential building.  Vicinity are appealing this decision to the Supreme Court on a point of law, as they consider VCAT’s decision to be legally flawed.  

Why is this an important case to defend for council?

As the decision maker we are automatically involved and we defend all decisions that Council makes when they are challenged.  In this case  we believe, as supported by VCAT, that an open space contribution applies to this subdivision.  The legislation requires open space contributions to be made and they go toward the improvement or purchase of open space.  It is only fair that developments contribute to additional open space demand created by their development. 

Do you know when the case will go before the Supreme Court?

No. We are still waiting for a date to be confirmed.

Was the expected levy return included in the 2018-19 budget?

No.  Council cannot predict when (or if) a land owner will make an application to subdivide land, and therefore, we cannot forecast what kind of public open space contributions Council may receive at any time.

Provided to: Monash Leader

Date: 4 May 2018

Quoting: Mayor Paul Klisaris