Implementation of the new Residential Zones – some observations

 On July 1, those councils still waiting for their choice of zone allocation to be approved were subjected to a “neutral conversion” – the General Residential Zone was imposed across all of their existing residential zone areas. This involved two dozen councils, including some which had applied as early as late last year for their new zoning amendments to be approved. SOS has heard that some of these 24 councils have since been experiencing a sudden surge in development applications in residential areas that may later come under the more restrictive Neighbourhood RZ once zoning amendments have been approved by the Minister. Strange that draft amendments lodged early by some councils for consideration by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee still hadn’t been approved by July….. As to the content of the new zones, giving councils a bit more power to vary local controls for better neighborhood protection was appropriate but for these controls to be effective, councils should have been required to specify not only mandatory heights but minimum lot size and the maximum number of dwellings per lot. Specifying both is necessary to maintain reasonable local dwelling density and protect green open space. Some councils have specified subdivisions into multiple lots with a minimum lot size of 250-400 sqm, so an existing 1000 sqm suburban block could be subdivided into 3 or 4 lots. * For background, see: Since Rescode is a state planning provision which even VCAT agrees should not be treated as a “one size fits all” code, Rescode variations to suit different areas are appropriate and councils should have also been required to include extra locally-appropriate variations in the new zone schedules. These should also have been mandatory – instead, most councils have failed to include any extra variations but even where they have, as discretionary guidelines these just amount to more scope for argument at VCAT and provide only an illusion of protection. * For help in arguing on Rescode and neighbourhood character in your VCAT submission, see: * For an detailed expose of the implications of the New Zones, see: