PROPOSED state government reforms to planning zones do not meet the realities faced by rural towns, according to Corangamite Shire councillor Michael Absalom.
Cr Absalom said he was worried there were zones which suited city centres but not when applied to smaller regional centres.
“We’re a shire with small town centres and we would have to abide to the same zones as cities,” he said.
“It’s not fair and it’s not the reality.”
The council voted this week to make a submission to the Department of Planning and Community Development.
Cr Ruth Gstrein said the proposal definitely needed some tweaking.
“The new commercial one zone allows accommodation to be built in previously prohibited areas,” she said.
“It’s going from one extreme to the other.”
But Cr Geoff Smith said one of the most positive things to come from the proposal was more flexibility for planning.
“For all levels of government planning is the most controversial issue they have to deal with,” he said. The proposal includes removing nine existing zones, including residential zone 1, 2 and 3 and business zone 1, 2 and 3, and creating five new zones made up of residential growth zone, general residential zone, neighbourhood residential zone and commercial zone 1 and 2.
The report presented to council stated many of the changes made to the zone provisions appeared to be more beneficial to inner-metropolitan Melbourne municipalities than rural council areas.
“Whilst it is understood there is a need for greater certainty for the community and industry regarding development outcomes for particular areas, there has been a lack of clear explanation and rationale for the changes created by these reformed zones from the state government.
The report stated that within the new residential zones the use of land for food and drink premises, shops, medical centres, offices or places of worship in some circumstances may not require a planning permit.
This would mean the council would have limited, if any, control over the way these places would operate.
“This is an inappropriate planning outcome which could weaken the commercial centres of townships within Corangamite Shire,” the report stated.