Victoria's new zones

Victoria's new zones: The right approach?

The new Victorian zoning system is being rolled out across the state, with 39 councils having gazetted their newly-changed residential zones and more going through the approvals or conversion process, according to Minister for Planning Matthew Guy.

It's expected these zones will permit residential development in areas that would be well-suited to it, while preserving areas of historical significance and protecting against over development.

Those with home mortgages in Melbourne and wider Victoria may wish to pay attention to recent commentary, however. One industry body has spoken out about the massive reforms, and the response is not so peachy.

Housing Industry Association (HIA) Executive Director Gil King is skeptical about the application of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, which some Victorian councils are trying to apply over large land areas.
Mr King noted on June 16 that the HIA "does not support the widespread use of the most restrictive Neighbourhood Residential Zone".

"This very restrictive zone should only be applied in highly sensitive locations. Protecting against overdevelopment is one thing; what is being proposed by some councils is a total shut down of development opportunities in their municipality," Mr King noted.

Mr King explained that the current approach of some councils could lock out residents in the future when they decide to develop their properties or build from the ground up.

"Adding to the difficulties are the recently released ABS population figures which show that Melbourne is growing at a greater than anticipated rate. With councils seeking to lock up large areas of their municipalities for little or no future growth, it begs the question as to where people will be housed," Mr King said.

Current Victorian property owners with home loans may find themselves in an enviable position if they hold on to their homes, as land in highly populated areas becomes more and more popular.

Image credit: John Nguyen