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. 

Submissions for Plenty Road (Amendment C137), are discussed in Chapter 9.

What has the panel recommended in relation to the Junction Precinct?

The panel provides detailed discussion in relation to the Junction Precinct.

Generally, the panel supported the strategic direction for the precinct, as well as Council’s review and refinement of the planning controls. The panel has made a number of recommendations in relation to this precinct, including:

  • Addition of a design adjective to provide pedestrian connections where block lengths exceed 100 metres.
  • Addition of a design objective to encourage the integration of infrastructure for cyclists in new developments.
  • Amending the height between Miller Street and Oakover Road (west side of High Street) to 8 storeys.

With the exception of the Miller Street/Oakover Road area, the panel supported the proposed heights for the Junction Precinct. 

Does Council have plans to acquire my property?

No.  Council has no plan to acquire any properties as part of Amendment C136/137.  


What does this Amendment (C137) do?

This Amendment to the Darebin Planning Scheme has been prepared to implement the design and land use findings of the Plenty Road Urban Design Framework 2013.

It proposes to change the Darebin Planning Scheme to alter the zoning of some properties fronting Plenty Road and on side street corners and to include guidelines and controls for future development proposals along the entire corridor, including the Junction. 

The goal of this Amendment is to:

  • Increase commercial and pedestrian activity towards Plenty Road and within the Junction area
  • improve the public realm towards Plenty Road and within the Junction area
  • provide additional housing opportunities close to public transport
  • increase density towards the Plenty 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 including the Junction Local Area Plan 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.

Why have we prepared this Amendment?

Plenty Road and the Junction area have been identified as a Strategic Corridor and as an area for significant growth in the Municipal Strategic Statement and Darebin Housing Strategy 2013, due to the number of regional and municipal roles Plenty Road and the Junction play.

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 Plenty 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 Plenty Road frontage to enliven the street.

Plenty Road and the Junction area are preferred locations to accommodate future population growth; however, currently the guidance that is needed to direct the location and the form of new development is insufficient. Both Plenty Road and the Junction are attracting development as a result of their 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.

How have we prepared this Amendment?

An Integrated Land Use and Transport Study was prepared in 2009 which identified challenges and opportunities for the Plenty Road Corridor. Community consultation was undertaken in 2012 and a survey was sent to 5500 landowners.  From this process 81 feedback forms were received and several community discussion groups were held.  The results were drafted into the Plenty Road Urban Design Framework 2013 which was adopted by Council in 2013.

Why are different maximum building heights proposed in particular locations along 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)?

The Urban Design Framework (UDF) is a tool to provide the basis of the vision and objectives for the Plenty Road Corridor.  The working vision (prepared in response to feedback received) sets a clear direction for how the Corridor should grow and develop in the future. This working vision will be reviewed and confirmed through the amendment exhibition process.

The Plenty Road Corridor Urban Design Framework 2013 applies three development growth change scenarios (minimal, incremental, high change) on a precinct (and sub-precinct) level and identifies a preferred future outcome for each precinct. The UDF separates the Corridor into eight precincts with each demonstrating different characteristics which is reflected in the design and development controls proposed along the corridor.


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 C137 the introduction of a Residential Growth Zone is proposed, including a schedule to the zones. Further, some land is proposed to be zoned Mixed Use Zone with either a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2. A Commercial 2 Zone is proposed for some former industrial land around the area of Browning Street/Plenty Road. 

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. It can make specific requirements relating to e.g. setbacks from boundaries, how facades should be designed or the overall height.

A new Design and Development Overlay Schedule 17 (DDO 17) is proposed over properties fronting Plenty 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 former Design and Development Overlay 3 (DDO 3) for the Junction area is proposed to be replaced with a new schedule. The controls have been developed with an emphasis on:

  • Reducing the negative impacts on adjoining sensitive residential interfaces;
  • Improving the visual amenity of Plenty Road and within the Junction area;
  • 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 3 and 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
  • decision guidelines that have to be given consideration when assessing a proposed development 

What is an Environmental Audit Overlay?

An Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) is applied where land is the land use history indicates potential for contamination. The overlay requires detailed testing and actions to ensure that land is suitable prior to a new sensitive use or development.

For example, this overlay is applied to a site previously used as a petrol station or motor repairs. 


What is a 'strategic site'?

‘Strategic Sites’ have been identified in the development of the St Georges and Plenty Road Urban Design Framework.  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;

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

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

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 the proposed changes to my property and neighbourhood?

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

  • 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 Plenty 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 Plenty Road 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.