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New “guidance note” could achieve better planning results in Domain Precinct

New “guidance note” could achieve better planning results in Domain Precinct
Brendan Rees

A new explanatory document outlining the City of Port Phillip’s position on discretionary planning controls based on decisions heard before the state’s planning umpire will be prepared for the Domain Precinct.

Councillors unanimously endorsed a motion at their August 17 meeting that will see a document, known as a “guidance note”, devised to achieve better outcomes for future planning applications.    

It will address planning matters including setback from laneways, visitor parking and loading, consideration of development height if side and rear setbacks cannot be achieved, and tower widths/podiums and active frontages.

The motion, proposed by Port Phillip mayor Marcus Pearl, relates to the Domain Precinct, which abuts Southbank Village and encompasses the area between Dorcas St, St Kilda Rd, Albert Rd and Kings Way.

The guidance note, which would not have any legal status, would explain the council’s position on discretionary planning controls based on decisions heard at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

It comes on the back of the future Anzac train station experiencing an influx of planning permit applications for apartment development, of which a high percentage have been subject to decision or review at VCAT, a council report said.

“It does potentially serve as a trailblazing way where a council can efficiently and effectively get terrific outcomes for the long term by filling the gaps that the planning scheme and planning decisions don’t take into account,” Cr Pearl said.

“If we get it right and it works, obviously it could produce some good outcomes for this area.”

Cr Pearl said it was a “unique initiative” that provides a “useful tool to get a better outcome on a discretionary basis with future developments”.

“We’ve heard firsthand … the pressure this area is under and there’s a lot of construction in this area but there’s still a lot of outstanding permits and future permits that will come through in this area that will shape it for decades to come,” he said.

Cr Pearl said he hoped the guidance note would be a “nice simple document that our community can have some involvement in, and is of use to developers, architects and people wishing to do projects in this area”. •

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