RURAL planning laws have been given a good workout by Moyne Shire this week, with councillors split on whether to approve a subdivision for a farm house in Toolong.
Moyne’s planning officers had urged councillors to knock back the plans, warning it would open the area up to future disputes and didn’t comply with rural housing frameworks.
Officers are concerned one of the lots would allow for two more homes to be built in the area.
But councillors were sympathetic to the applicant, who is hoping to separate the house from farmland so she can remain at home if the adjoining property is sold.
Surveyor Alastair Davies made a case to council at the start of Tuesday night’s meeting, assuring steps would be taken to buffer the homes from nearby farmland.
“We recognise that this is a controversial issue but we contend that the case is overstated,” Mr Davies said.
“There’s significant buffer areas and the vegetation plan is to provide buffering.”
Councillors Colin Ryan and Jill Parker were unconvinced.
“What precedent would it set in that farming zone area if this permit was granted?” Cr Ryan said.
“I sympathise with the family and their situation.
‘‘It is my view that this application does not serve the farming community.
‘‘I cannot see any benefit in approving this.”
But the vote to knock back the plans was voted down by councillors and Cr Mick Wolfe told the chamber to view the plans with compassion, putting up an alternative motion to approve the subdivision.
“It’s not a money-grabbing reason. It is to allow two people who live there to remain there with a bit more convenience.”
The motion was backed, with four councillors in favour.
Councils around Victoria are awaiting the outcome of revised rural planning laws, due to come out towards the end of this year.