A Re-defination of the Garden Area – Amendment VC143
The government’s new VC143 amendment aims to clearly define the term ‘garden area’ in the planning scheme. Amendment VC110 announced in March 2017 provided us with an ambiguous definition of terms with no practice note explaining how it should implemented. Two VCAT cases gave us a clearer idea of where the tribunal position stood.
In the matter of Guler v Brimbank CC VCAT answered the question regarding the use of eaves. The applicant raised the question that to comply with the garden area requirement the design would need to be uneaved. Council noted this did not reflect the detailed design of the area. The presiding member agreed and a strict definition of garden area needed to be adhered to and eaves could not be included.
The consideration in Sargentson v Campaspe SC determined the use of garden areas where the is subdivision of a lot. Council’s view was that the garden area calculation of 30 per cent should be applied to the resultant lots of 506sqm and 530 sqm applying the wording as it relates to subdivision. The tribunal disagreed as the combined development and subdivision application was not creating lots of vacant land.
Amendment VC143 doesn’t change the need for a garden area calculation. Rather it re-defines how it will be calculated. The new definition reads:
Any area on a lot with a minimum dimension of 1 metre that does not include:
a) a dwelling or residential building, except for:
an eave, fascia or gutter that does not exceed a total width of 600mm;
unroofed terraces, patios, decks, steps or landings less than 800mm in height;
a basement that does not project above ground level;
any outbuilding that does not exceed a gross floor area of 10 square metres; and
domestic services normal to a dwelling or residential building;
b) a driveway; or
c) an area set aside for car parking.
The new definition allows areas under eaves and outbuildings to be included within the garden area calculation. Furthermore where a basement does not project above ‘ground level,’ the area can be used within the garden area calculation. There has also been a change to landscaping elements. Raised deck, patio, and stepped area that do not exceed 0.8m above natural ground level are also included in the garden area calculation. We have already seen a change in council’s position on a number of projects Grayspace has been involved with. Our initial estimates have shown, we are able to get a 5% extra floor yield.
There are some developments that are exempt from the garden area calculation:
Sites with approved development plans, incorporated plans, precinct structure plans or other equivalent strategic plan are exempt
Sites where the existing buildings do not comply with the minimum garden area prior to the introduction of VC110 have also been exempt.
Sites with single dwellings on a lot that do not require a planning permit
Whilst we welcome any further clarification; Guler v Brimbank CC has taught us that there are still some un-answered questions. The definition remains silent on over hanging / cantilevering elements of the building design. Nor does it address sites with swimming pools or tennis courts.
The biggest change will be felt on single dwellings on a lot. The exemption from the garden area requirement will remove any controls that restrict the size of the dwelling. This applies to both inner city dwellings where lot sizes are less than 500sqm and outer suburbs where single lot developments do not require a planning permit.
Where is Density in Melbourne Increasing the most?
We have recently been looking at population and housing statistics looking at projected growth in relation to housing demand and supply factors. The chart below shows net annual population growth and how it is spread across Melbourne.
The chart below highlights a doubling of dwelling approvals across Melbourne since 2007. As can be seen there has been a surge in dwelling approval rates in inner Melbourne which almost matches dwelling approvals in the growth corridors of Melbourne.
Whilst Melbourne doesn’t have formal population targets for different regions, there are policies which aim to address this. For example, Melbourne 2030 stated
reduce the overall proportion of new dwellings in greenfield sites from the current figure of 38 per cent to 22 per cent by 2030
When looking at dwelling approvals figures within growth area LGAs. This seems to reverberate some of the policy positions.
The 2014 Victoria in Future projections have around 45% of dwelling growth occurring in the outer growth areas between 2011 and 2031. The Plan Melbourne share of dwelling growth in the outer growth areas to the year 2051 is 39%.
· Dwelling approvals in “inner” Melbourne almost match the outer growth areas in number; however this is not translating to a surge in population growth in established areas; Are we building the wrong product at the wrong price point?
· There has been a significant shift in the location of growth from the inner and middle ring suburbs to the outer regions; Is it easier to develop in the growth corridors?
· Its no surprise that policy factors and supply outcomes have changed after a significant shock to the economy
· All planning strategies and policies have contingencies in place to become less reliant on growth in the outer suburbs
All statistics charts by Chris Loader from Charting Transport
Monash Planning Scheme - C125 an update
A year ago the City of Monash introduced amendment C125 which impacted all land currently zoned General Residential and Neighbourhood Residential to reflect the objectives, directions and actions of the Monash Housing Strategy 2014. The amendment proposed changes to the existing schedules and introduced new schedules to GRZ and NRZ zones.
After substantial planning discussions, process and panel hearings the amendment was lodged with the Minister for planning for approval. The Minister recently informed the Mayor that part of the amendment would be approved with the remainder of the amendment shifted to a separate amendment which is still under review.
The approved section of the amendment will have implications for properties zoned Residential Growth Zone and Neighbourhood Residential Zone within the LPPF. However, the distribution and location of the proposed General Residential Zones has been shifted to the ‘under review’ part of the Amendment.
· Changes to all the schedules within the Neighborhood Residential Zones
· Changes to some of the schedules within the Residential Growth Zones
· Changes to the Local Planning Policy Framework to include references to the Monash housing strategy
In my Opinion:
The changes generally are designed to reduce development and to encourage greater residential development around Monash National Employment Cluster and the Clayton Activity Center. Proposed new development will need to take greater consideration of landscaping and protecting the garden suburban character.
As with all amendments some sites gain whilst some sites loose. The proposed changes will have greatest impact on sites on main roads. Development yields will increase on some site. All new applications will require greater scrutiny and consideration for landscape character.
The proposed changes will impact on a high portion of developable land in Monash. If assistance is required, contact one of the Grayspace team.