Why are the changes necessary?

    The implementation of new residential zones is a State Government requirement.  

    In 2013, the Victorian Government released new residential zones to replace existing zones in the Planning Scheme. For more information on these new zones from the State Government, click here  The new residential zones for Victoria will give greater clarity about the type of development that can be expected in any residential area.

    The three new residential zones - Residential Growth Zone (RGZ), General Residential Zone (GRZ) and Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) - will supersede the existing Residential 1, 2 and 3 Zones on 1 July 2014 when they will be removed from the Victorian Planning Provisions. 

    Councils were given until July 2014 to undertake the strategic work to identify areas for the new residential zones.  

    If Council failed to apply the new suite of zones by 1 July 2014 the State Government advised that it would translate the Residential 1 Zone to the General Residential Zone on that date.

    Why is Council participating in the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee?

    Participation in the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (RZSAC) is the best opportunity for Darebin Council to roll out the Neighbourhood Residential Zone in Darebin before the 1 July deadline in neighbourhoods where urban preservation and restrictions on housing growth is sought.  

    If Council did not participate in the RZSAC process, the General Residential Zone would have automatically applied to all of Darebin’s residential-zoned land from 1 July, and  would likely have stayed in place for some time until Council was able to commence work towards a further Planning Scheme Amendment process with often lengthy time frames (up to 18 months).

    Darebin is one of 17 Victorian Councils that elected to participate in the RZSAC. 

    Who has Council notified as part of this Amendment?

    The Terms of Reference for the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee outline minimum notice requirements at sections 12 - 17.  This includes the following notice provisions:

    • Notice in The Age
    • Notice in the Herald Sun
    • Notice in the local papers (Northcote Leader and Preston Leader)
    • Direct Notice to Government agencies and servicing authorities
    • Direct notice to community groups. 
    In addition to this, Council elected to send direct notices to those individuals who made submissions during the exhibition of the Darebin Housing Strategy (September-November 2013) and those who asked to be kept informed of the residential zone changes.  

    Tight time frames for participation in the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee meant that more comprehensive direct notification was not possible. Moreover,  Amendment C144 did not propose to introduce any Residential Growth Zone.  There will be further opportunities for community involvement in the implementation of the ResidentialGrowth Zone through future work.  

    Why have residents not been directly notified about the proposed changes?

    Darebin Council consulted widely on a Housing Strategy in October 2013, which included a Housing Change Framework Plan identifying areas for minimal, incremental and substantial change, which would roughly translate to the Neighbourhood, General and Residential Growth Zones respectively. The Framework Plan identified 23% of the municipality for minimal change. 

    Amendment C144 is a reflection of the feedback received from consultation on the housing strategy where the community told us that more areas are deserving of stronger levels of protection from inappropriate development. Amendment C144 delivers on this by offering greater protection for 51% of the residential land in Darebin. The refinements were also based on further information issued by State Government in December 2013 on applying the zones.

    As part of the Housing Strategy, Council had forecast to do further work and consultation in late 2014 through to early 2015 to apply the new zones extensively. 

    However, in light of the 1 July 2014 date for translation of all Residential 1 zoned land to the new GRZ, Council decided to participate in the Advisory Committee process without direct notification of all residents with the sole objective of increasing the level of protection across the City by 1 July rather than in 18 months time.

    The chief concern of Council was that going through an 18 month process of further strategic work would open the door to speculative development in areas that are now identified as areas proposed for greater protection.

    What criteria were used to apply the zones?

    The amendment applies the new residential zones to the majority of residential land within the City of Darebin in accordance with principles of the Darebin Housing Strategy 2013 (DHS) and with additional refinements as outlined below.  The DHS established original criteria in identifying areas for minimal, incremental and substantial housing change, illustrated by a Housing Change Framework Plan available here

    A number of refinements to the Housing Change Framework Plan are proposed as part of Amendment C144, based on the following methodology:  

    Proximity to public transport routes 

    o  an adjusted benchmark distance of 800m walkable catchment to train and tram services has been used to provide a catchment for the General Residential Zone;

    o  the Smart Bus service has been recognised as a higher order public transport service and walkable catchments have been provided from bus stops; and

    o  walkable catchments have been developed acknowledging public transport nodes within and outside the Municipality.

    Neighbourhood Character Areas – C144 extends the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to capture additional areas of identified Neighbourhood Character, being areas with the following attributes:

    o  80% or higher intact pattern of subdivision;

    o  80% or more of the housing stock is consistent with the precinct descriptions defined in the Darebin Neighbourhood Character Study (2007); and

    o  Locations where there has been a strong increase in the restoration of original housing stock.

    Full line supermarkets – walkable catchments have been extended to include residential areas within 800m of standalone full line supermarkets outside of defined activity centres. 

    It is not proposed to apply the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) through draft Amendment C144.  

    The application of the RGZ in Darebin is currently underway via two separate planning scheme amendments; Amendments C136 and C137, which apply to two key growth corridors within Darebin (St Georges Road and Plenty Road). The application of the Residential Growth Zone outside of these corridors will be subject to further work and a separate Amendment process.

    What percentage of the residential was proposed for each zone?

    Draft Amendment C144 proposed the introduction of the residential zones to Darebin as follows (based on exhibited maps, plus post-exhibition changes tabled at the Public Hearing on 07 May 2014 in response to submissions and corrections to mapping errors) :

    1. Neighbourhood Residential Zone Schedule 1 (NRZ1) - applies to Minimal Change Areas plus additional identified areas and represents 40% of residential land included in this Amendment.

    2. General Residential Zone (GRZ) - applies to Incremental Change Areas and is 49.4% of residential land included in this Amendment. 

    3. General Residential Zone Schedule 1 (GRZ1) - applies to Incremental Change Areas where the suitability of increased density is reduced due to lower levels of access to public transport options and activity centres. This applies to 10.6% of residential land included in this Amendment.  

    How will the zones address heritage significance?

    The proposed new residential zones have been applied using a variety of criteria including ‘heritage’, that is areas that have been identified as having heritage significance.  

    In most cases,  precincts identified through Heritage Overlays have been translated into the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (Schedule 1). Existing Heritage Overlays will continue to apply across the city and will not be afffected by the residential rezonings. 

    How will this impact on current planning applications?

    The impact on planning permit applications lodged (or approved as the case may be) prior to the approval date of Amendment C144 depends on the zone proposed. 

    In the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ):

    The State Government has provided transitional provisions so that applications lodged for development or subdivision prior to the approval date of Amendment C144 will NOT be subject to:

    • Maximum height controls 
    • Maximum dwellings per lot controls 

    In the General Residential Zone (GRZ):

    The introduction of this zone through Amendment C144 does not set any particular requirements that would affect lodged applications for development or subdivision.

    In the General Residential Zone Schedule 1 (GRZ1):

    The State Government has not provided transitional arrangements for several requirements proposed to be introduced through Amendment C144.

    Applications lodged for development prior to the approval date of the amendment WILL BE subject to:

    • Mandatory 2 storey building height. Some exclusions apply.
    • Variations to Clause 54 and 55 (Rescode) standards for lower overall site coverage and increased private open space per dwelling.
    Click here to view the GRZ Schedule 1 requirements in full.

    Permit holders and permit applicants are encouraged to discuss these matters with Council if they believe they will be affected by the new residential zones.

    Where a current permit application is no longer required because of the implementation of a new residential zone, the application cannot be determined by Council.  Contact Council to discuss whether a full or partial application fee refund is applicable. 

    How do the news zones affect existing uses (including non-residential uses)?

    Existing lawfully established uses will be able to continue to operate, and existing permits which have not expired can still be acted upon, under the Existing Use Rights provisions as set out in Clause 63 of the Planning Scheme.

    Will the zones limit the number of dwellings I can build on my property?

    If you are in an area identified for the Neighborhood Residential Zone (NRZ), then the new zone will specify the maximum number of dwellings on a lot. 

    Council has elected to use Schedule 1 to the NRZ (NRZ1) to establish maximum allowable number of dwellings on a lot, according to varying lot size.  This takes account of varying lot sizes across the NRZ areas, particularly accounting for larger sites where more than the standard 2 dwellings maximum maybe be appropriate. It also makes provision for existing sites which already contain multiple dwellings.

    The NRZ1 specifies the following

    The number of dwellings on a lot must not exceed:

    • Two if the lot is less than 900 square metres
    • Three if the lot is between 900 square metres and 1000 square metres
    • Four plus one dwelling for each additional 250 square metres if the lot is greater than 1001 square metres.

    If a lot contains two or more existing dwellings and is redeveloped, the maximum number of dwellings may exceed the requirements, provided the total number of dwellings in the development does not exceed the number of existing dwellings on the site. 

    How might I be affected?

    Draft Amendment C144 implemented two of the three new Residential Zones; the General Residential Zone and the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.  

    To run an address search on your property or nearby properties and learn what Zone is proposed, please click here to go to Darebin Guide mapping site (external link)

    Please note there was no application of the Residential Growth Zone through draft Amendment C144. The application of the Residential Growth Zone in Darebin is currently underway via three separate planning scheme amendments; Amendments C136, C137, which apply to two key growth corridors within Darebin (St Georges Road and Plenty Road); and Amendment C144. The application of the Residential Growth Zone outside of these corridors will be subject to further work and a separate Amendment process.

    Has my property been rezoned?

    If you are the owner of a property within a residential zone - excluding those properties fronting St Georges or Plenty Road - then your property was rezoned through Draft Amendment C144.  

    Council elected to participate in the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (RZSAC) which has been appointed to assist Councils with the rezoning process including advising on the suitability of the residential zones. The RZSAC will advise the Minster for Planning on the suitability of Councils proposal for residential rezonings and the Minister for Planning will make the final decision on how the zones are introduced in Darebin.

    To search for your own property to find out what residential zone Council is proposing through Amendment C144, please click here. 

    If you own a property zoned residential that is fronting either St Georges Road or Plenty Road than your property will not be included in this Amendment process. Your property has been included in Amendments C136 and C137 to the Darebin Planning Scheme. These Amendments are already well advanced and have recently been through a Planning Panel which considered the appropriateness of Council's zone recommendations for these two corridors. 

    Where can I get more information?

    This website contains comprehensive information about Amendment C144.

    Have a Question?

    Phone: 8470 8768

    Send an email to: planningservices@darebin.vic.gov.au