VCAT rejects Allansford house plans

THE state’s top planning appeals body has rejected a plea from a woman wanting to build a house on a small parcel of farm land near Allansford.

It is the latest in a number of similar decisions made by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). 

Moyne Shire Council refused to grant a permit for the house at Drylakes Road in May, saying the building was likely to be used for lifestyle purposes. This is contrary to its farming zone planning policy which states that land should be primarily used for agriculture. Permits are required for houses on lots of less than 40 hectares. 

The decision was supported by three neighbours who said a new house on the 29-hectare lot would be “unduly close” to their land and would adversely affect their amenity.

The applicant, Julie Anne Mischkulnig, took her case to VCAT, saying the house was required so the land would be used for more intensive agricultural purposes.

Ms Mischkulnig said the “horse has bolted” as there were already many houses on lots smaller than 40 hectares in the area which had become a rural lifestyle precinct.

But in his finding handed down this month, VCAT member Geoff Rundell disagreed the predominant land use had transformed from agriculture to rural lifestyle.

“To do so would be tantamount to saying that agricultural activity has vacated this area and is unlikely to return, hence the best remaining land use is rural lifestyle,” Mr Rundell said. “In fact, in my view, agricultural production remains the dominant land use in this area.”

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