The community engagement process

Amendment C131 was on public exhibition from Wednesday 11 November 2020 to Wednesday 23 December 2020.

The community were asked to provide feedback on Amendment C131 in the form of a written submission (digital or hard copy) that clearly stated the grounds on which a person supported or opposed the amendment, including what changes (if any) they wished to suggest.

Notification of the amendment was published in the Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay Star Weekly on 11 November 2020 and in the Government Gazette on 12 November 2020.

Council directly notified over 51,000 owners and occupiers of residential properties (in particular those currently zoned either General Residential Zone or Residential Growth Zone). Notification letters included a factsheet explaining the purpose of the amendment, the opportunity to make a submission, and ways in which to access further information.

In the context of COVID-19 restrictions that applied at the time, and the complexity of the amendment, Council also invested a lot of resources in the Participate Hobsons Bay website to assist with communicating information to the community.

This website included information on the amendment, videos explaining the amendment, an interactive map with the current and proposed zoning of properties, as well as links to supporting documentation including guidelines for making a submission.

What we heard

Submissions

Council received 52 submissions during the exhibition period. Council also received and accepted four late submissions, taking the total amount of submissions to 56.

Submissions were received from:

  • 8 Agencies and authorities
  • 5 consultancies on behalf of 7 clients
  • 41 individual landowners

Of the submissions:

  • 7 submissions related to the proposed PPF translation
  • 41 submissions related to the New Residential Zones
  • 8 submissions related to both the PPF translation and the New Residential Zones

In breaking down the submissions received, 9 were either in support or raised no objection and 46 objected to specific elements of the amendment or requested changes to be made to address concerns raised, and 1 objection was received requesting the amendment to be abandoned.

Some of the main concerns raised included:

a. Maximum building height

  • the maximum building height of the General Residential Zone GRZ (3 storey and 11 metres) will impact on neighbourhood character and residential amenity
  • the four storey plus building height allowed within the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) will impact on neighbourhood character and residential amenity

b. Increased densities

  • impact of increased densities on traffic congestion, parking, existing infrastructure and community facilities
  • impact on space for trees, the environment, contribution to the heat island effect

c. Criteria for determining where to apply the new zones

  • requests either for properties to retain GRZ, or to be rezoned from GRZ to NRZ

d. Schedules to the zones

  • schedules to the GRZ are considered to reduce development potential of properties

e. Planning Policy Framework translation

  • request additional strategic work to form part of C131

Phone calls and emails

The community were provided the opportunity to engage directly with Council’s Strategic Planning team regarding any questions they may have had about the amendment. A dedicated phone number and email address were created specifically for the amendment.

Email queries received tended to request clarification of the implications of the proposed zone changes on individual properties. Issues mostly related to building heights within zones, but neighbourhood character, landscaping and parking requirements were also frequently referenced.

Emails also included queries on how to access particular information associated with the amendment. 11 email queries translated into submissions.

Of the phone calls received, many requested for more information on the implications for individual sites. This included what the proposed zoning was, what it meant in terms of building height, development potential, existing planning permits, and impact on existing parking and traffic conditions. Most callers were satisfied with the responses provided. 7 phone calls translated into submissions.

Community drop-in sessions

Two community drop-in sessions were held in a COVID-safe manner during the exhibition period. This provided an opportunity for community members to find out more about Amendment C131 and chat in detail with members of Council’s Strategic Planning Team.

11 community members chose to 'drop-in' to the two scheduled sessions to chat in detail with members of Council’s Strategic Planning Team and find out more about Amendment C131.

During these sessions, participants were interested in what the amendment meant for their properties and area, and the justification for applying zones to specific areas.