The University of Melbourne (on behalf of UOM Commercial Ltd) and Hamton have made a joint request of the Minister for Planning to prepare an amendment to the Boroondara Planning Scheme to rezone and redevelop the site pursuant to Section 20(4) of the Planning & Environment Act 1987 (Planning Scheme Amendment C376boro).
The applicants have applied for this amendment under Section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, which bypasses Council as the Responsible Authority. This type of planning scheme amendment requires no formal public exhibition and community submission process occurs unless the Minister specifically requests.
The Minister currently is considering the request, including whether to exempt themself from the exhibition and notice requirements of sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) and the Regulations.
Council has been informed the site is proposed to be redeveloped with a $400m residential development masterplan, which includes approximately 320 apartments, a café and local grocer. The development is to be spread across 6 buildings, which range from 4 to 7 storeys. It is understood construction is expected to start in 2025.
The draft Amendment proposes to make the following changes to the Boroondara Planning Scheme:
- Rezone the land from Public Use Zone, Schedule 2 (Education) to Residential Growth Zone.
- Introduce and apply a new Residential Growth Zone schedule (Schedule 2) to the land, applying a mandatory maximum building height requirement of 27 metres.
- Apply the Development Plan Overlay and introduce and apply a new Schedule (Schedule 4).
- Apply the Environmental Audit Overlay to the land.
- Amend Clause 15.01-5L (Neighbourhood Character) to reflect the change in zoning and exempt the land from the policy’s application.
A draft development plan has also been submitted for consideration which broadly outlines:
- Indicative development of the land with seven new residential buildings comprising approximately 320 new apartments. The building heights range from three to seven storeys (five buildings with a maximum of seven storeys and two buildings with a maximum of four storeys).
- The retention of several existing mature canopy trees and indicative new landscaping
- A network of pedestrian links and publicly accessible open space within the site
- The provision of at least ten percent affordable housing.
The draft controls require a development plan to be approved and a planning permit to be granted by the responsible authority (Council) before any development can commence. However, where a Development Plan has been prepared to the satisfaction of the responsible authority, planning permit applications under the Development Plan Overlay are exempt from the notice and review requirements of section 52(1)(a), (b) and (d), the decision requirements of section 64(1), (2) and (3) and the review rights of section 82(1) of the Act.
Our concerns with the proposal
Council will be considering its position in relation to the draft amendment and will be making a decision at the Urban Planning Delegated Committee meeting, which is currently scheduled for 1st August 2022.
Council has significant concerns in relation to the process undertaken via the Section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. In particular:
- The lack of public notification and community input considered through a Section 20(4) Planning Scheme Amendment. Council’s objective is to ensure there is appropriate community engagement, any redevelopment of the land is high quality and the project provides for the best possible community outcome. Council advocates strongly for a broad community notification process.
- Melbourne University intends to invest their revenue from this project into building a new Australian Institute for Infectious Disease (AIID) facility in Parkville. Council acknowledges this facility is a positive and important project. However, from a planning perspective the two projects are not connected. The proposed AIID facility should not be used as a justification for excluding Council and community involvement in the planning process.
Have your say
The Minister is currently considering the request, including whether to exempt themself from the exhibition and notice requirements of sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (the Act) and the Regulations.
To inform the Minister’s decision on the planning scheme amendment request, consultation is being undertaken under by DELWP under section 20(5) of the Act.