The introduction of the Green Wedge Zone in 2002 officially reinforced the long term conservation of Victoria’s rural areas that was originally recognised in the 1970’s. The early focus was on directing residential growth towards transport corridors and this approach has been continually adopted within more recent planning strategies.
The Mornington Peninsula proximity to Melbourne makes the region ideal tourism opportunities and agricultural enterprise. This combined with the ongoing pressures to accommodate growth places pressure on the Green Wedge Zone.
Whilst the Green Wedge Zone itself hasn’t undergone significant modifications since its introduction, Council’s application of the Zone has slightly changed in recent times. There is greater expectations placed on landowners to justify why a new dwelling is required with increased focus on the primary use of the land for agricultural, tourism or environmental opportunities. A dwelling in a Green Wedge Zone is not a right, it must be adequately justified given the objectives of the Zone and the proposed long term use of the land.
To provide clarity on their expectations, Council have developed a policy document, titled Interim Policy – Rural dwellings including bed and breakfast accommodation (June 2011). All new dwelling applications must be accompanied by a Farm Management, Land Management Plan or
Environmental Management Plan that details how the long term use of the land will operate and why the proposed use of the land warrants a dwelling. Whilst this policy is afforded limited weight by VCAT, it is used to Council Officers, industry professionals and land owners to provide clarity on the extent of information required for the lodgement of an application and to identity the key issues that Council consider in the assessment of any such application.
Having lodged in excess of 25 planning applications for the use and development of new dwelling within the Green Wedge Zone, I have yet to have an application refused. The lodgement of comprehensive, well- structured applications provides Council with the justification they require to support these applications.
Should you have any queries regarding how you would like to use or develop your land, please contact me on 0409 100 433.
Town Planning Consultant