Objection to the rezoning of Green Wedge land to Commerial
Shire of Yarra Ranges Amendment C186
Proposal to rezone Green Wedge A zone to Commercial 1 zone at 361-365 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras
The Green Wedges Coalition is an alliance of over 150 community groups who are dedicated to the protection of Melbourne’s twelve green wedges. The Coalition was established in 2002 in response the rapid degradation of Melbourne’s green wedges which was occurring through inappropriate development, re-zoning of land for residential / urban / industrial purposes and urban sub-division.
The Coalitions charter calls on present and future governments to use strategic planning processes to stem the development pressures on Melbourne’s green wedges and maintain these significant assets that are of incalculable value to the people of Greater Melbourne.
Proposal – Amendment C186
Yarra Ranges amendment C186 proposes to re-zone 361-365 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd (three lots) from Green Wedge A zone to Commercial 1 zone due to a request from the land owner for a commercial zoning to facilitate additional commercial uses.
The UYDRA regional planning authority investigated the region in 1981 and again in 1992 producing a multitude of technical reports including those on the landscape living and commercial areas of the Dandenong Ranges. The former Shire of Sherbrooke exhibited and adopted a planning scheme in a the late 80’s and the now Shire of Yarra Ranges has also exhibited and adopted a planning scheme that includes these sites.
The outcome by the regional authority’s consideration of those two investigations and accompanying strategic reports, numerous panel hearings, the considered judgement of two separate local government Councils following public exhibitions and the planning ministers of the day has been to consistently keep these lots in a zone with very similar aims and objectives. The lots have been zoned Landscape Living then Rural Living and now Green Wedge A for the last five decades. The uses on the land although slightly more intense now have also remained consistent as a retail nursery from the 70’s through to retail nursery with an ancillary café today.
Arguably the current zoning has played a significant role in Sassafras’s current village atmosphere and tourist attractiveness. From observation of the patronage and discussions with the current occupiers the nursery and café businesses on the site are very busy and have been a commercial success for a long time.
State Government policy since the 1970’s has been “to enable increased protection for the special features and character of the Region” being the Dandenong Ranges and Upper Yarra Valley.
The current State Government has committed to permanently protect the green wedges against overdevelopment through tightened statutory planning controls and is about to engage in a comprehensive consultative process with the community.
It would not be appropriate to re-zone Green Wedge A land on an ad-hoc basis resulting in the loss of Green Wedge land whilst the State Government is undertaking a thorough review of Green Wedge policy with state-wide consultation.
The current zoning of this land is the result of decades of strategic planning that commenced with a statuary planning authority undertaking two planning investigations. Proper planning processes should start with strategic planning that in this case would determine the need and appropriate location of additional commercial land to ensure that the public interest is being served.
Incremental amendments that are not based on strategic work such as AmC186 are contrary to the proper planning process and public interest.
For the reasons given above the Green Wedge Coalition asks that amendment C186 be abandoned.