Yarra Ranges councillor Fiona McAllister slams ‘horrific’ bushfire management overlay restrictions

Yarra Ranges councillor Fiona McAllister slams ‘horrific’ bushfire management overlay restrictions

19 August 2013

published by www.heraldsun.com.au

Australia — A YARRA Ranges councillor says some real estate agents are refusing to sell vacant blocks of land because of “horrific” bushfire management overlay restrictions.

Ryrie Ward Cr Fiona McAllister told last week’s council meeting the overlay was an “increasingly horrific piece of legislation in terms of impact on our community”.

The overlay applies to land that may be significantly affected by a bushfire and it triggers the need for a planning permit for certain developments.

It also requires that new developments use appropriate bushfire protection measures.

“We’ll continue to see residents in untenable situations where they have properties that become worthless, where they will be questioning the payment of council rates,” Cr McAllister said.

“We already have in Ryrie Ward and I’m sure in O’Shannassy and other (wards) … real estate agents (who) won’t list vacant blocks of land anymore because they’re deemed worthless because of the BMO provisions and people’s inability to meet them, “Cr McAllister said.

” (To my fellow councillors) get your fighting gloves out and roll your sleeves up for what needs to be a huge battle for us in terms of getting some change here to help thousands of our residents who are directly affected by a piece of legislation that effectively stops them from being able to build on their properties.”

In April, councillors voted to submit a motion to the Municipal Association of Victoria that called for Planning Minister Matthew Guy to review the BMO, which had an “unforeseen” negative effect on people’s ability to build homes.

In 2012, Leader reported that residents and councillors wanted the hills to be included in a land buy-back scheme because the BMO was so restrictive and applying to build on affected land was complicated.

At the time, Cr Len Cox said it was unfair for people who bought blocks of land in the hills to be denied a planning permit.

“People can’t afford to buy another block of land if the one they already own is considered as an unacceptable bushfire risk,” he said.

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