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Council debates residential rights

15 Apr 2014

Council debates residential rights Image

Residential rights were put back on the City of Melbourne (CoM) agenda in April when Councillor Rohan Leppert moved to have third party appeal rights reintroduced to Southbank.

Cr Leppert’s motion was voted down, but not before a passionate debate on the topic of owner’s rights within capital city zones.

The motion focused on the new capital city zones, such as the one created in Southbank via Amendment C171. He also wanted to ensure any future rezoning would not intrude on third party appeal rights.

Cr Leppert argued that areas such as Southbank and City North, which have recently been upgraded to capital city zones, should get their notice and third party objector rights and appeal provisions back. He also stressed the importance of these rights for any future area that may be amended and become part of the capital city zone.

Cr Leppert pointed out that: “The land that the capital city zone originally applied to continues to exempt development applications from notice and third party objector and appeal provisions.”

“I’m moving this motion to seek to put an end to the ongoing staged removal of property owners' planning rights as the capital city zone continues to expand.”

Councillor Leppert reminded his fellow councillors that they're the ones elected to make decisions and therefore council didn’t always have to take the advice of expert panels, as it had when it decided that new capital city zones would not include third party appeal rights.

“Most of their (expert panels') professional advice is excellent; sometimes they get it wrong. Obviously I’m on the record now of saying this ever-expanding capital city zone removing the rights of property owners is wrong,” Cr Leppert said.

Continued on page 5.

“I agree with the height limit suggested in the structure plan, but I do not agree with this ever expanding removal of residents’ rights and property owners’ rights.”

Speaking against the motion, Councillor Stephen Mayne explained that there is more than enough procedure in place for residents, or anyone else, to raise concerns about new developments.

“We already have made more steps to make more scrutiny in capital city zone applications. Every 25,000 sqm and above application comes here (to council) automatically for a full public debate where people can come in and speak for three minutes each,” Cr Mayne said.

“That is a very strong residential right to have input into planning decisions.”

He also said he had seen instances where the same person can hold up the progression of a growth area by months, going to VCAT, only to continually lose cases.

“You’ve got people who are just opposed to the fact that it is a growth area and

The Hoddle Grid and City North and Southbank are growth areas,” Cr Mayne said.

“There are ample opportunities for everyone to have a say.”

The motion was voted down seven votes to three by the Future Melbourne Committee.

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