Australia — If Nillumbik Council changes its planning regulations at its meeting tonight, nearly 80 per cent of green wedge residents would not be able to rebuild their houses if they were destroyed in a future bushfire.
The changes would affect Nillumbik residents who live on undersized lots in the green wedge, which is 80 per cent of green wedge residents. The green wedge covers 90 per cent of Nillumbik.
The proposal states: If the state planning policy framework is modified to allow the introduction of a minimum lot size requirement, use this mechanism to discourage small lot development for rural residential purposes.
The proposed change has raised concerns among some residents, including Hurstbridge resident Norman Deards. He told BNW he was worried if a house on an undersized lot were destroyed, the council could deny issuing a planning permit.
To me, it seems if for some reason our house is destroyed, most likely in a bushfire or a house fire … they will strongly discourage giving that permit, Mr Deards said.
Friends of Nillumbik spokeswoman Colleen Hackett welcomed the proposed changes to undersized lots as it would take into account the Bushfires Royal Commissions recommendations.
Council is moving in the right direction in terms of putting in place local policies in relation to small lot development to take into account the recommendations of the Bushfires Royal Commission and to bring the Nillumbik planning scheme into line with the provisions of the green wedge management plan, Ms Hackett said.
Consolidation of titles should be encouraged with compensation by the state government.
Nillumbik mayor Helen Coleman said in the lead-up to tonights vote on the draft plan, further investigation had occurred.
I can only say thats part of the review process, she said.
In my experience, as a resident and as a councillor, the feeling I get from people living in Nillumbik is that they are are passionate about the green wedge; they like living here for that reason.