ALARM at planning uncertainty in Kingston has been dismissed by Kingston Council who insist residential areas are safe from overdevelopment while the state government considers council’s Plan Melbourne submission.
Kingston is one of 24 councils awaiting a response from Planning Minister Matthew Guy on its submission to have more than 75 per cent of the region included in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (‘Kingston zoned out of state planning process’, The News, 25/6/14).
Single and two-storey homes to a maximum height of eight metres can be built in the NRZ.
Since the new Plan Melbourne zones came into effect on 1 July, there had been fears the entire Kingston region would switch to a General Residential Zone while the state government considered Kingston Council’s submission.
Properties in a GRZ can be built to a “discretionary height limit of nine metres”.
Last week, council was unsure what a “neutral conversion” for the 24 affected councils – mentioned in a media release from Mr Guy – for the Kingston area meant in reality and had sought clarification.
The mayor, Cr Paul Peulich, said there was no risk of Kingston being “opened up to overdevelopment” before Mr Guy responded to council’s submission.
“It has been confirmed a ‘neutral conversion’ means things remain as they are at the moment,” he said.
During the interim period the previous Residential 1, 2 and 3 Zones no longer exist and will be effectively classed General Residential Zone, but Cr Peulich said this “was basically just a name change.”
Council CEO John Nevins said transition provisions still ensured full existing council local planning polices remain in force.
“The transition provisions ensure that the ‘status quo’ remains whilst the minister considers our approach to applying the residential zones.”
Cr Geoff Gledhill contacted The News to express his disappointment at “very alarmist” interpretations of the Plan Melbourne planning process.
“We [council] have been given every assurance by the state government that there is no need to panic,” Cr Gledhill said.
The state government’s Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee had not responded to Kingston Council’s submission before the 1 July deadline but Cr Gledhill defended the delay.
“When you consider the scale of what they’re trying to do, they’ve done a good job,” he said.
Cr Peulich said Kingston is not earmarked for rapid development but said the area had to “do its bit” to accomodate the Melbourne region’s growing population.
“We’re not a growth area, but if we can do anything to help we should,” he said.
“There is pressure to grow the city.”
Cr Peulich mentioned Westall as a suburb that could cope with more homes being built in the area.
Mr Nevins believed Mr Guy had handled the process well despite delays in the process.
“Kingston would like to thank the Planning Minister for ensuring appropriate transition provisions apply whilst he determines the final application of the new residential zones in Kingston,” he said.