Planning policy blasted
BY WINSTON TAN
8/04/2009 10:30:00 AM
KNOX Council's planning policy has been slammed by residents opposed to overdevelopment in Knoxfield.
In recent weeks, residents have argued in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against a number of proposed developments in the suburb.
Resident Ian Simpson said he had been disappointed by the lack of detail in the council's policies, which "no one" at VCAT understood.
He said council representatives who attended the tribunal appeared not to know how to interpret the council's policies and did not have an in-depth knowledge of the policy. When a VCAT chairman wanted to know about the nature of the council's 400-metre zone on neighbourhood character, Mr Simpson said the council representative was unable to answer.
"That was because it really wasn't detailed in the Knox Council planning policy - how it works, and how it should operate."
Director of city development Angelo Kourambas said the council's interpretation of its housing policy could at times differ from VCAT's interpretation.
"Council is looking at ways it can strengthen the policy to ensure greater clarity in line with its own expectations, and those of the community.
"A stronger housing policy would also be a helpful tool in assisting council [to] uphold its commitment to limiting unit development in areas not classified as activity centres."
Mr Simpson said he and other residents were involved in discussing planning matters with the council.
"They're reviewing the policies, and we've all had some kind of input into it. But I wish we had been to VCAT first and known what we'd talked about and what needs to be updated."
Mr Kourambas said the council was monitoring all housing approvals against the aims of the Knox Housing Statement, and will consider strengthening the
housing policy as part of its 2009-10 budget deliberations.
The council would also be monitoring VCAT's decisions affecting the housing policy.
"Council has made a submission to the State Government's residential zones review and will continue lobbying the State Government for more clarity and capacity to uphold the aims of its housing policy."
Mr Simpson said residents hoped their visit to VCAT would make an impact to ensure properties were not too overdeveloped and trees saved.
"But if they're all passed willy-nilly, we're going to be very exasperated."