MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Anthony Marsh will ask Planning Minister Lizzie Blandthorn to “urgently” step in to protect the site of the former Melbourne Business School in Mount Eliza from development after a planning panel did not support the rezoning of the land to green wedge.
The Kunyung Road land housed the former business school and is the subject of a controversial planning application by Ryman Healthcare for a multi-storey aged care centre and retirement village.
Under amendment C270 of the Mornington Peninsula planning scheme, the council sought to rezone the land at 60-70 Kunyung Road and seven others in the shire from special use zone to green wedge.
The council had opposed the Ryman development because of its “inappropriate” scale and potential to erode the vital green buffer separating Mornington and Mount Eliza.
Marsh said the planning panel decision was a huge blow for the community which had sought to protect the green buffer between the two towns.
“I know many will be extremely disappointed by the panel’s decision,” he said.
Community group Save Reg’s Wedge, which had also fought to stop the development of the eight hectare site, is reeling in the wake of the planning panel’s shock decision.
Spokesperson Leigh Eustace said the group had not given up trying to stop the Ryman development and was “still in there fighting”.
A VCAT appeal by Ryman Healthcare against council’s refusal to grant a permit for its application is currently being heard.
“The panel’s decision was very disappointing, but it’s not the end,” Eustace said.
The proposed new zoning was part of a package of changes designed to protect the peninsula’s green wedge areas from inappropriate development by rezoning eight parcels of land that lie outside the urban growth boundary.
The amendment proposed to rezone the sites from special use zone 2 to either green wedge zone, public park and recreation zone or public conservation and resource zone.
Marsh said the council believed the land outside the urban growth boundary should be protected from de facto urbanisation.
“We’re determined to explore every avenue to ensure our prized green wedge is protected,” he said.
“Council will look closely at the panel’s findings and decide on the next steps in the coming months.
“In the interim, I call on the planning minister to urgently step in and ensure 60-70 Kunyung Road Mount Eliza, a vital green space between Mount Eliza and Mornington, is preserved. Regardless of what comes next, council has done everything it can to protect this site.”
As well as not supporting the rezoning of the Kunyung Road site, the panel did not support the rezoning of the Bay Park Scout Camp at 60 Hearn Road, Mount Martha from special use zone 2 to green wedge.
Other sites included in the amendment include a section of foreshore reserve adjacent to 60-70 Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza; 50A McGregor Avenue, Mount Martha; 19 Tallis Drive, Mornington (Mornington Golf Course); 46 London Bridge Road, Portsea (Portsea Golf Course); 35 Sunnyside Road, Mount Eliza (Manyung recreation camp); and 3875 Point Nepean Road (Point Nepean National Park).
Two other sites, 74-76 Marine Parade, Shoreham and 62 Oakbank Road, Mornington, were proposed to be removed from being exempt from the metropolitan green wedge land.