Natalie Bannister, the leader of our Property, Planning and Construction practice, successfully advocated against the imposition of mandatory height controls on one of our key client’s sites in an activity centre in the City of Bayside.

Bayside City Council is seeking to amend the planning scheme to impose height limits, which in our client’s view would have unnecessarily and unfairly constrained the development of a strategic development site.  The Council argued, that the performance based system that has underpinned planning in Victoria for over a decade, was evolving and mandatory controls were now a more common and more acceptable approach. A planning panel was appointed by the Minister for Planning to consider submissions to the proposed amendment and make recommendations (Amendment C113, 114 and 115  to the Bayside Planning Scheme). 

The panel produced a report which was released yesterday.  It recommended that the amendment not be pursued on the basis that:

  • the Victoria Planning Provisions continue to be performance based;
  • mandatory provisions should be applied in exceptional circumstances and only where justified and needed; andandatory provisions should be applied in exceptional circumstances and only where justified and needed; and
  • existing planning policy concerning when mandatory controls are acceptable remains valid and influentialxisting planning policy concerning when mandatory controls are acceptable remains valid and influential.

This was Council’s second attempt in as many years,  to limit the height in the commercial areas around the Sandringham Village, Bay Street and Church Street activity areas. The Council is not bound to accept the recommendations of the Panel but should be assisted in its decision by the panel’s analysis, which has in our view resolved a growing debate within the planning community about an impending renaissance of rule based town planning. 

The full planning panel report can be accessed here.