What are the next steps in the process, now that the panel report has been received?

The Strategic Planning Unit is now working through the Panel’s recommendations and will present the amendments to Council in the coming months for a decision. Council has the option to adopt, adopt in part, or reject the amendment at this point. 

Council is not bound by the Panel’s recommendations and can make decisions that differ from what the Panel recommends. If Council decides to not accept the Panel's recommendations, clear justification must be provided as to why the Panel’s recommendation is to be departed from.

Should the amendment be adopted (either completely or in part), it will be submitted to the Minister for Planning, who decides whether or not to approve the amendment. The Minister has 40 business days to make a decision regarding the amendment. 

If approved, a notice will appear in the Government Gazette and Council will notify all submitters and the broader local community. These new planning controls would come into effect in the Darebin Planning scheme on the day the approval is gazetted.

What is the status of the amendment?

Once the Council has adopted the Amendments in their final format they should be considered as ‘seriously entertained’ and representative of Council’s policy position. As such the Amendments and the controls contained within them could be given greater weight when assessing planning permit applications and in providing justification for decisions at VCAT hearings.  This would be the status until Council received approval from the Minister and formal gazettal takes place.

What has changed since the documents were exhibited?

Council has made numerous changes to the exhibited documents in response to submissions and as a result of further work undertaken by Council Officers. To see the particular changes that Council proposed to the panel, please refer to Council’s submission.

Can I have further input into the process?

The focus of the next phase of the amendments process is for Council to consider and respond to the Panel recommendations, which have been prepared by the Panel in response to the extensive consultation undertaken by Council and through the panel submission and presentation process. As such, there will be no further formal consultation with submitters for this period of finalising the three amendments. If you made a submission, you will be informed in writing of when the amendment will be presented to Council for a decision. Please check this website for further updates.

The Planning and Environment Act 1987 provides the opportunity to appeal a panel’s recommendation if there has been a ‘defect in procedure’. The defect in procedure may relate to the exhibition of the amendment or public submissions made regarding the amendment. If you wish to lodge an appeal, please contact the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Please note that this is a legal process and can be a complex.

What is covered in the panel report?

The Panel Report is a long document that analyses Council’s proposed planning scheme amendments. It considers the merit of what Council has proposed, as well as addressing all the matters that were raised by submitters during the hearings. These are captured in the Executive Summary and recommendations.

In addition, the Panel provides a detailed discussion and justification of their findings in the body of their report. Some of the more specific topics expanded upon include:
  • Background and issues (i.e. about Darebin, what the Amendments propose, recent changes in State policy);
  • Housing and economic land use direction;
  • Overarching principles for corridors;
  • Specific controls in the Design and Development Overlays;
  • Reservoir Structure Plan;
  • Industrial Precincts;
  • St Georges Road corridor precincts; and 
  • Plenty Road corridor precincts.

I made a submission at the panel hearing. Where can I find the panel’s response to my concerns?

The panel report provides detailed discussion of the matters raised in submissions. Most chapters in the report include a section “Evidence and Submissions” where these issues are covered. This is usually followed by the “Discussion” section where the issues are responded to. 

If your submission relates to St Georges Road (Amendment C136), it is discussed in Chapter 8.

What has the panel recommended in relation to Oakover Village?

The panel report provides a detailed discussion of the Oakover Village precinct.

The panel has generally supported the use of the Development Plan Overlay as a ‘flexible tool that can be used to implement a plan to guide the future development’. In acknowledging the area’s potential for revitalisation, the Panel generally supported the proposed heights for this precinct.

The Panel Report made several recommendations in relation to the proposed Development Plan Overlay 11 (DPO11). These include: 
  • Additional objects or guidance about how taller built form should transition to lower scale residential areas;
  • Changing the proposed zone on the north side of Showers Street (east of St Georges Road); 
  • A preferred maximum building height of three storeys along streetscapes other than St Georges Road; and
  • To require new development to consider the impact of the building’s bulk and mass on adjoining and adjacent areas.
In the short term, Council is currently best placed to progress an indicative Development Plan, especially in the areas of urban design, social housing, environmental sustainability and transport management.  Council intends to consult with local residents in the development of this plan, and it will provide a good opportunity to introduce a number of sustainability initiatives at the neighbourhood levels through a joint process with the community. The Panel has also included a recommendation that the proposed development plan (once prepared) be displayed to the community for a period of 28 days to allow for public comment.

What does this Amendment do?

The Amendment has been prepared to implement the design and land use findings of the St Georges Road Urban Design Framework 2013.

It proposes to change the Darebin Planning Scheme to alter the zoning of some properties on St Georges Road and on side street corners and to include guidelines and controls for future development proposals along the entire corridor. The goal is to:

  • Increase commercial and pedestrian activity towards St Georges Road
  • improve the public realm towards St Georges Road
  • provide additional housing opportunities close to public transport
  • increase density towards the St Georges Road frontage whilst reducing the impact towards properties to the rear of development sites

An Environmental Audit Overlay is also proposed to be applied to some properties to address potential contamination from former or current industrial uses.

Additionally, some local planning policies are proposed to be changed in order to give full effect to the proposed changes. A new local policy is also proposed in order to give guidance on how to investigate and deal with potential contamination of former industrial land.


How have we prepared the St Georges Rd Urban Design Framework?

In 2011 Council starting reviewing the land use and built form controls along St Georges Road. Towards the end of 2012 an invitation letter was sent out to over 4000 land owners and occupiers located within an approximate 150 metres buffer either side of the Corridor. A feedback form was distributed together with the invitation containing 6 key questions seeking people’s views about how the anticipated growth pressures in this corridor might best be managed. Over 80 people had attended the two community information sessions beginning 2013 and close to 300 feedback forms have been received.

Alongside this, existing public realm conditions and current and past development applications were analysed.  An urban form study was prepared and the St Georges Road Urban Design Framework was adopted by Council. Amendment documentation to change the Darebin Planning Scheme was prepared and the result is in this amendment.

Your feedback on all these results and proposed changes is now sought. After reviewing the other information on this page and the exhibition documentation, please see below for how to have your say.

Why are we doing this?

St Georges Road has been identified as a Strategic Corridor in the Municipal Strategic Statement and Darebin Housing Strategy 2013, due to the number of regional and municipal roles it plays.

Due to its locational advantages it is proposed that several sections of the corridor will require land to be rezoned to better reflect and support more vibrant hubs of activity along the corridor. In some instances these are industrial zoned land parcels that are expected to transition to other uses over time, including some that are already unviable for industrial purposes. In other cases existing residential zoned land is suggested to be rezoned due to the declining residential amenity offered by St Georges Road. New development will be able to address this decreased amenity level through sensitive design responses. Rezoning of some land will enable an activation of the St Georges Road frontage to enliven the street.

St Georges Road is a preferred location to accommodate future population growth; however, currently there is no clear guidance to direct the location and the form of new developments. The corridor is attracting development as a result of its favourable locational features such as good access to public transport, a range of services and shops and range of properties of a size and age to make redevelopment viable. In response to development pressure new design controls are proposed.


What are the existing controls for my area and how may this be changing?

Use Darebin Guide to find information about the existing planning controls (zone and overlays) that apply to your site and to learn about what may be proposed for your site.  Darebin Guide is Darebin’s interactive online mapping tool which can be accessed by clicking here (it will open in another tab in your browser) then do the following:

·  type in your street address and suburb into the “Address Search” at the bottom left and click “Search

·  Your property will display on a map indicating current zones and overlays that apply to the land. A summary of the search is shown on the right. The summary also shows “Proposed Zone”, “Proposed Overlay” and “Proposed Precinct” at the bottom of the panel.

·  Take note of which zone, overlay and precinct is proposed. If no zone, overlay and/or precinct is proposed that may be because there are no changes to planning controls proposed on your property. But there may be changes to properties nearby.  In order to see where the changes are occurring in relation to your property you can use the zoom in or out tools at the top left (the magnifying glasses with a + or -).


Does Council have plans to acquire my property?

No.  Council has no plan to acquire any properties as part of Amendment C136.  


Where is Oakover Village and what is being proposed?

Oakover Village is in Precinct number 7 in the proposed plans for St Georges Road as part of Planning Scheme Amendment C136. This area has been identified as an opportunity to redevelop several run-down former industrial sites and some vacant residential house lots along Penola and Stokes Streets.  

The intent is to direct this redevelopment to cluster around Newman Reserve with the potential to form an urban village in the future.   It applies to the majority of land generally bound by Oakover Road to the south, Austral Avenue to the west, Railway Place to the east and a variable boundary to the north (as depicted below).  The area is under increasing development pressure and Council has already received several applications for multi-storey development and there is no clear vision for how this area should be redeveloped in the future.

The area has a history of unique industrial uses that are no longer in place.  Furthermore, the surrounding area is a mix of older homes, social housing and vacant land which provides opportunities for a revisioning of the area.  The area has excellent existing attributes such as:

-  easy walking distance to bus, train and tram;

-  local parks;

-  local primary school and private College;

-  nearby Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre

This is a great opportunity to shape these changes and plan for the existing and new community that will come.   Council is seeking to work in collaboration with the community and landowners in planning for the coordinated redevelopment of this area.  Further information on the project will be made available on this site in the coming days and weeks. 



Why are different maximum building heights proposed in particular locations along St Georges Rd/Plenty Road?

In developing a future vision for St Georges/Plenty Road, Council has taken a precinct approach to the Corridor and identified a number of different precincts and neighbourhood areas.  The proposed maximum building heights differ between these areas to respond to the varying local conditions, such as:

  • existence of heritage overlay either on the corridor itself or properties behind those fronting the corridor;
  • the intended land use and future zoning and types of activities (e.g. residential focus vs commercial focus);
  • the ability to manage the off-site amenity impacts on the surrounding amenity;
  • topography and slope of land; and
  • site access and the existence of rear laneways.


What is an Urban Design Framework (UDF)?

An Urban Design Framework (UDF) aims to provide guidance for the future development of various precincts in Darebin.

The frameworks deal with the design of buildings, public spaces, pedestrian and vehicle access, and landscape themes. The frameworks also includes environmental, social, economic or cultural objectives.


What is a zone?

A zone indicates the purpose of land and indicates which uses can and cannot be undertaken on that land. It also specifies which uses and which kind of works require a planning permit. Schedules to a zone can prescribe additional information specific to a particular area.

In Amendment C136 the introduction of a General Residential Zone and a Residential Growth Zone is proposed, including schedules to the zones. Further, some land is proposed to be zoned Mixed Use Zone with either a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2. 

How this may affect you is described below under How do I find out more?


What is a Design and Development Overlay?

A Design and Development Overlay (DDO) sets out requirements relating to the design of the future built form. For example, it can make specific requirements relating to setbacks from boundaries, how facades should be designed or the overall height.

A new Design and Development Overlay Schedule 16 (DDO 16) is proposed over properties fronting St Georges Road and some adjacent properties. This Overlay will direct and manage the development to support increased residential densities and multi-storey built form through Design objectives and controls. The controls have been developed with an emphasis on:

  • Reducing the negative impacts on adjoining sensitive residential interfaces;
  • Improving the visual amenity of St Georges Road;
  • Design excellence;
  • Increased residential density;
  • Built form making a positive contribution to the public realm;
  • Design, layout and materials to be used;
  • Retention of industrial buildings of heritage value; and
  • Building setbacks and heights
Main components of DDO 16 are:

  • objectives, outlining general value statements on the preferred outcomes development should achieve;
  • design requirements that specify how the proposed built form must or should be designed and shaped;
  • precinct maps and tables that specify the objectives and design requirements per precinct; and
  • decision guidelines that have to be given consideration when assessing a proposed development.

What is a Development Plan Overlay?

A Development Plan Overlay (DPO) requires an overall plan to be prepared to co-ordinate land uses, development and redevelopment change over a defined area. It requires the preparation of a Development Plan that sets out conditions for land uses and the new built form. The specifics for such a plan are laid out in the A schedule to the overlay specifies what the Development Plan must include and can include requirements about pedestrian and road connections, where different land uses should be located, the design of new development on the land among other things.

The Development Plan Overlay Schedule 11 (DPO 11) will guide future development in a coordinated way to enable the creation of an urban village cluster for the area around the Newman Reserve and north of the St Georges Road tram depot. Objectives for sub-precincts are set out in DPO11 to guide land uses and the future built form that a development plan needs to fulfil.


What is a strategic site?

‘Strategic Sites’ have been identified in the development of the St Georges and Plenty Road Urban Design Frameworks.  These sites possess attributes - such as site size and proximity to services and transport - that make them favourable for redevelopment at higher densities into the future.  These sites have been identified through a sorting and mapping process based on the following criteria for potential development parcels:

•  Over 1,000 meters squared in lot size;

•  Not constrained by a Heritage Overlay; and

•  Fronting strategic transport corridors (High St, Bell St, Plenty Rd, St Georges Rd); and

•  Within a walking catchment of tram and/or train stops. 

The Darebin Housing Strategy, also currently available for public comment on this site, uses these and additional search criteria, to identify strategic opportunity sites across the municipality that also possess attributes that make them favourable for redevelopment at higher densities into the future.

How do I get a detailed map of what is proposed for my property and neighbourhood?

Here is how you can find a detailed map concerning what changes are proposed in relation to your property and neighbourhood:

  • go the Darebin Guide interactive mapping tool here
  • type in your street address and suburb into the “Address Search” field at the bottom left and click “Search
  • your search will show on the map and display a coloured map, indicating current zones and overlays that apply to your property. A summary of the search is shown on the right. The summary also shows “Proposed Zone”, “Proposed Overlay” and “Proposed Precinct
  • While there may be no zoning and overlay changes proposed for your property, there will be changes proposed for properties fronting St Georges Road so take the time to search and look at those properties near you.   
  • With this information you now know which changes are proposed for your property or properties near you. You should check all the exhibited amendment documentation at the top right of the St Georges Rd project page. 

Please note that the changes proposed as part of this Amendment will NOT force people to move house or business, sell or develop their land. If any development is to occur in the future next to your property, you would be notified as per statutory planning process.