Napthine Government planning legacy: what about Residential Zone reform?
If you were awake on Sunday morning, and on Twitter, you might have noticed there was a bit of a buzz about an op-ed published in the Sunday Age written by Professor Michael Buxton. In his 875 word piece Buxton said "Guy's main legacy is reshaping inner Melbourne as a high-rise city" and then went on to argue "a European model of dense, well-serviced low to medium-rise housing on brownfield and infill sites would make Melbourne a world model for new best-practice housing."
There was not one mention of an equally large legacy that can be attributed to the current planning minister: residential zone reform.
Guy has bequeathed Melbourne one of the world's most deregulated planning systems. This empowers developers, disenfranchises citizens and reduces local government to a cipher. Resident notification and appeal rights are severely reduced.Professor Michael Buxton, The Sunday Age, 02/11/14.
If you have been following how various councils have gone about applying the reformed residential zones, you might have also noticed there has been a variety of ways councils have been facilitating community engagement. A great example utilsing online mapping tools is Moonee Valley's platform.
It allowed community members to provide direct feedback and if you'd like to see direct evidence of community involvement, zoom over the North Eastern corner of the municipality between Moonee Ponds creek and Essendon airport. There's a huge pocket of comments, all negative, in relation to the proposed General Residential Zoning adjacent to Strathmore North Primary School.
Given it's Cup Day - a day when even the most ardent non-gamblers secretly come out for a flutter on the local sweep - $20 says the response received in this pocket of the LGA was organised at a grassroots level, most likely fed to parents from the school. Is that disenfranchisement or engagement?
That Buxton op-ed in Sunday Age fails to mention the new residential zones - a pity as they're aimed at doing what Buxton argues for.— Urban Melbourne (@UrbanMelbourne) November 1, 2014
@UrbanMelbourne will take several years to see impact of overuse of the NRZ in some LGAs— colleenpeterson (@colleenpeterson) November 1, 2014
Are the new reformed zones perfect? No. How would we rate each council on how well they've implemented each zone? It varies.
Notwithstanding concerns - legitimate or otherwise - with tall building development in central Melbourne, what's going to have a greater impact on all Melburnians and therefore likely be the reference point for the Napthine Government's Planning legacy?
I'd wager another $20 on the reformed residential zones.
Lead image credit: deviantart.