Shire call-up against planning changes


MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is enlisting peninsula community groups in its campaign to oppose state government planning changes.

The changes include allowing developers to build three-storey houses up to 11 metres high in 10 towns – Capel Sound (formerly Rosebud West), Rosebud, Dromana, Mt Martha, Mornington, Baxter, Somerville, Tyabb, Hastings and Bittern.

Developments can occur with no notifications or rights of appeal.

Shire planning services manager David Bergin has emailed community groups stating: “The change to the General Residential Zone (GRZ) … presents a significant risk of inappropriate development on the peninsula.

“To protect our townships from inappropriate development and the negative impact of these state planning changes, the council has sought to introduce an interim Design and Development Overlay to ensure development is not inconsistent with the role and character of … townships.”

He said the DDO would limit heights to nine metres and two storeys.

Mr Bergin included four addresses in his email and encouraged groups to write to “relevant decision makers” and “reiterate the special character of the Mornington Peninsula and why three-storey houses are not appropriate”.

The addresses were for planning minister Richard Wynne, his chief of staff Peter Keogh, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning acting secretary Christine Wyatt, and upper house Labor MP Daniel Mulino.

Shadow planning minister David Davis stated that if the Liberal-Nationals Coalition was elected in 2018 it would unwind the changes.

Mr Davis said it was clear that the government was “seeking to ignore the peninsula-specific planning protections that were put in place in 2014, that try to treat the peninsula as a distinct and unique zone that needs its own protections”. His views were echoed by Russell Joseph, Liberal candidate for Nepean (which covers the southern peninsula) and electorate office manager for current Nepean MP Martin Dixon.

Mr Joseph said the previous Coalition government “strengthened controls protecting residential neighbourhoods across Victoria”.

“Protecting the peninsula from suburban overdevelopment was why the Coalition government introduced the localised planning statement when Matthew Guy was planning minister.”

Last week The News reported that Professor Michael Buxton told a meeting in Hastings that the state government intended to privatise the entire planning system, and a tender had been let to rewrite all documentation.

Planning minister Richard Wynne’s press secretary Patrick Lane stated in an email: “There is no suggestion whatsoever the government has an intention to privatise the planning system, nor that a tender had been let to rewrite all documentation.”

After this email, Mr Lane was asked to provide details, refute other statements made by Professor Buxton, and explain the government’s planning changes but did not respond.

Christine Haydon of Peninsula Speaks, which co-hosted the Hastings meeting, said people who had registered would receive a kit containing a petition and short summary of the issues. “We’re encouraging people to become ‘Peninsula Protectors’, and aiming to collect 10,000 signatures on a petition for the Parliament,” she said. Residents also would be encouraged to write to MPs. A marketing committee was being assembled, and residents with social media expertise were being sought.


First published in the Mornington News – 4 July 2017


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