Reforms to Victorian Zoning Provisions – March, 2017

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The Victorian State Government has recently introduced changes to residential zones, and have been implemented into all planning schemes within the state of Victoria by way of Amendment VC110.

The changes introduce new planning policy and amend existing policy, which need to be carefully considered by developer, planner and responsible authority alike.

Frank Perry, Director of Perry Town Planning notes that:

The general thrust of the new provisions is to deliver certainty to proponents and decision makers and this is a positive aspect of the initiative.  However, there is a downside.   The changes introduce mandatory requirements and limit the discretion of the planning authorities in considering the form of development which is appropriate in a particular area.  The use of mandatory controls limits the opportunities for innovative design solutions. 


In particular, the mandatory height control in the General Residential Zone is a significant restriction in a zone which previously exhibited a level of flexibility for development on larger blocks.


The change to the Neighbourhood Residential Zone brings it closer to the provisions of the General Residential Zone in that it removes the restriction of a maximum of two dwellings on a lot.

As such, an imperative step for any first-time or experienced developer to consult and understand the planning provisions that apply to their site.

A summary of the changes brought into the planning system are listed below for reference, and an experienced member of the Perry Town Planning team look forward to hearing from you if you have any queries.


Garden Areas

A mandatory garden area must be provided for within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone and General Residential Zone, which varies depending on the size of the lot:

Lot Size Minimum Percentage of Land Set Aside For  Garden Area
Less than 400m2 (subdivision of vacant lots only) 25%
400-500m2 25%
501-650 30%
600m2 and above 35%


The definition of a Garden Area is “an uncovered outdoor area of a dwelling or residential building normally associated with a garden. It includes open entertaining areas, decks, lawns, garden beds, swimming pools, tennis courts and the like. It does not include a driveway, any area set aside for car parking, any building or roofed area and any area that has a dimension of less than 1 metre.”


Changes to Neighbourhood Residential Zone
  • The previous limit of two dwellings has been removed, with no revised limitation in place. The purpose of the zone has also been amended to remove reference to ‘limiting opportunities’ for increased residential development;
  • Mandatory 9 metres and maximum 2 storeys (replaces mandatory 8 metres and no storey limit). Council can set an alternative maximum height and number of storeys in a schedule to the zone.
  • Schedule to the zone containing added emphasis on neighbourhood character objectives;
  • Mandatory minimum garden requirement (see Garden Areas)


Changes to General Residential Zone
  • Changes to the purpose of the zone to remove reference to ‘moderate’ housing growth;
  • Mandatory 11 metres and maximum 3 storeys (increased from discretionary 9 metres and no storey limit). Councils can set an alternative maximum height and number of storeys in a schedule to the zone.
  • Mandatory minimum garden requirement (see Garden Areas)


Changes to Residential Growth Zone
  • Discretionary 13.5m height preference not revised. Council can set a mandatory height limit of no less than 13.5m in a schedule to the zone.
  • Garden Area does not apply to the Residential Growth Zone


Transitional Provisions
  • Minimum garden area, height and number of storeys does not apply to applications lodged before the approval date (27/03/2017). As such, transitional provisions apply.

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