Planning for Growth – Reports
Ordinary Meeting - 12 February 2014
While there remains some opposition to the proposed subdivision on traffic grounds it is evident that the current plan does much to address the main issues of concern. Overall the new internal road network will provide adequate visibility at the two access points for safe ingress and egress. The intersection treatments won’t interfere with the amenity of nearby properties and will improve traffic conditions in Wesley Street through a realignment of the street geometry. In all other respects the existing street network has the capacity to accommodate the additional traffic generated by the subdivision. Does a nearby industrial zone impact upon the subdivision? Industrial land is located to the north of the site, approximately 150m from Lockwood Road. This land is zoned Industrial 1 with a section of Industrial 3 zoning at the southern periphery closest to Lockwood Road. The Industrial 3 zone provides a transition between the residences in Lockwood Road that abut the precinct and the “core” industrial area beyond. In 2011 some land owners adjoining the industrial precinct sought to rezone their existing farm land so that it could be developed for housing. The rezoning was ultimately abandoned by Council because of concerns about allowing new residences so close to industrial uses. The proponents of the rezoning were unable to satisfy Council that noise impacts from the industrial precinct could be properly ameliorated. Several proponents of the rezoning have objected to the current permit application citing the lack of support for their own development as a precedent for rejecting the proposed subdivision. They argue that an acoustic barrier should be installed as a prerequisite for approving the subdivision. The idea of an acoustic barrier was investigated as part of the abandoned rezoning. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) recommended that a 500m buffer distance be implemented between the industrial precinct and the new residential land created by the rezoning. The EPA supported a reduction of this buffer distance to 270m provided an acoustic barrier was installed. If a 500m buffer distance was adopted in the context of the current permit application the buffer would cover the entire depth of the subject site and the proposed subdivision would be prohibited. However, the proposal would largely comply with a 270m buffer distance, with the exception of Lot 45 which is located closest to Lockwood Road. A 270m buffer distance would need to be in conjunction with an acoustic fence. In this author’s view the proposed subdivision should not be subject to a buffer constraint. Nor is an acoustic fence warranted. The circumstances of the permit application and the abandoned rezoning are very different. In the case of the permit application the land is already zoned for residential purposes and is within Bendigo’s urban growth boundary. The site is adjacent to established suburban housing some of which is closer to the industrial precinct than the site itself. The zoning of the site and its immediate land use context raises a reasonable expectation that the site can be developed for housing. There are no strategies or policies in the planning scheme that curb this expectation. In contrast the abandoned rezoning sought an extension of the urban growth boundary for which it was necessary to examine strategically the merits of allowing urban growth beyond existing limits.
Published on Feb 9, 2014