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Proposed changes to zoning and planning in Mornington Peninsula Shire

By christian / Wednesday, 07 November 2018

Proposed changes to zoning and planning in Mornington Peninsula Shire

What changes are proposed, how will this affect you as a property owner, builder or developer, and how can Gilpip help you to create the most attractive home within these new regulations

In December 2017, the Mornington Peninsula council outlaid its intentions for the future of population growth and development for the coming 15 years.

Following on from that, the Mornington Peninsula shire has begun to implement its planning policy that will restrict the growth of development, called the Mornington Peninsula Housing & Settlement Strategy.

Their intention is to ensure that the ‘unique values and character of the Mornington Peninsula’s settlements, landscape and environment are protected.’

On the one hand, this is the local council being conservative and getting in the way of local development. On the other, it is the same council trying to protect its municipality from edicts issued from the state government which may diminish the beauty and character of the region.

Either way, it represents a restriction of the artistry and options on building developers within the Mornington Peninsula area, while cautiously allowing for its growth. In its 15-year plan, the council aims to regulate growth in the area to ‘meet projected demand for 9,018 dwellings by 2031.’

General areas that the proposed policy will address:

Bearing in mind that these schedules are still being formulated and determined, these proposals are subject to change before approval, which makes it imperative that any changes that experienced property builders like Gilpip can suggest are made now, before it becomes adopted as law.

Some of the changes are:

  • Mornington Peninsula ShireyMaintaining forestry and landscape between properties and which separate townships, especially in under-developed and low-density housing areas, so that future developments comply with the character of Mornington Peninsula.
  • Planning the location and nature of new developments in Mornington Peninsula’s high-density areas for the sake of: State government demand for social housing stock, greater housing diversity, Mornington’s settlement hierarchy between townships, access to infrastructure, promotion of green neighbourhoods, and management of environmental hazards, while maintaining the character of the Mornington Peninsula’s built environment.
  • Larger minimum sizes: Schedule 1 areas will have a larger minimum size of 300sqm per dwelling, and Schedule 2 of 450sqm.
  • Maximum height raised from 8m to 9m in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ), and from 9m to 11m (three storeys) in the General Residential Zone (GRZ) with some discretionary allowances. Exactly what constitutes ‘discretionary’ is something that a wise building developer ought to get to know very well indeed in order to optimize property development and builds within these proposed restrictions.

Art vs Compliance – looking good while keeping legal

The regulations are part of the occasional battle between homogeneity and creativity. On the one hand, councils don’t want a particular building to stand too much apart from its neighbours – to be too jarring to the senses in comparison to those around it.

Mornington Peninsula Shire5On the other hand, if all buildings were exactly the same, and each new building to come in were also to follow the same rigid criteria, then the streets would be dull simply by them being all the same.

Architects and designers attempt to present a completed work that generates an uplifting emotion, and that can be hampered by restrictions on their craft. Knowing the local regulations, their intent, the people behind them and how much is discretionary rather than a hard limit allows a knowledgeable design team to produce emotion-generating homes even through an era of restriction.

Political tug-of-war: The Mornington Shire council’s battle with the State

There is also the tussle between state and local governments. The state has certain criteria it wants to fulfil that care little for the aesthetics of a local area . Housing for more people is a state issue as Victoria grows, and the recent trend is to spread social housing stock throughout a wide area, and thus accommodate state housing residents in a less concentrated fashion – a model that produced some undesirable effects in the past.Mornington Peninsula Shire3

So in part, this interference is the local council protecting the Peninsula  from the State’s bureaucratic agenda, …with more bureaucracy. Yes this means publicly restricting developments, but from our end this means that to continue to get good homes and viable developments built, we need to know the rules backwards, and even suggest a few in timely fashion.

In this nebulous stage of proposed, non-concrete regulations, it is difficult to make a stand on anything definite, since none at this stage exist. To challenge one article on the wane may well distract from another on the rise, which may be of more importance. Very little reliable information is coming out of the official camps, which makes the position of anyone outside of them rather difficult to define.

Knowing the laws means playing the game well

What will also be of importance to developers is to get to know the intention behind the rules. This often means getting to know who the town planners and policymakers are, and knowing which questions to ask. Knowing this, a good design manager can figure out which designs and styles may suit their policy needs as well as affording creativity enough to produce desirable homes and developments.

For example, one clue as to their intention is that the maximum height is proposed to be raised. What is the intention behind this? Being involved in council meetings, doing some investigative work, and asking the right people go a long way to finding out what the council really want, and which designs they will enthusiastically approve.

With this information, an architect can design an eye-catching three-storey home where she might previously have restricted herself to two, knowing that it will get the nod from the town planners, and reputation and rapport built with them that will help her future designs both in artistic expression and ease of approval.

What effect will this have on property owners in Mornington Peninsula?

Owners in the area do need to know the effect of the regulations, as this may curtail their grander plans for development in the area, and therefore limit how much profit can come from buying and developing houses within it. This may dissuade investment buyers from investing in the Mornington Peninsula, and they may look elsewhere.

Mornington Peninsula Shire6It is also possible that this will represent less work for local builders, and less work can mean lower property prices relative to other areas.

On the other hand, the aesthetic charm and character that brings so many people a happy life in the area will be preserved and, hopefully, enhanced. This may mean more demand from people wishing to live in the area (as opposed to buying investment properties).

It seems that the intention is to grow Mornington Peninsula while being inclusive of its character, and at this early stage it is difficult to tell which way property prices will go.

Where Gilpip fits in

It is our job and our aim to help owners to develop their properties on the Mornington Peninsula, while maintaining its charm and livability. To this end, our aim is not too dissimilar to that of the local Council.

Where we differ is in exactly how this is to be achieved. We want to provide houses that suit our clients’ personality and lifestyle, and will push back wherever we see an ordinance that obstructs this, or work optimally within the limits as they are presented.

The Mornington Peninsula shire has presented developers with a few obstacles in regard to these proposed ordinances, but these are the problems that we can solve for you. With our in-depth local knowledge and involvement at this crucial stage of policy, we can see the opportunities that come with it. Knowledge of the restrictions will mean that ability to still build with flair where others are forced to play it safe.

Being builders and designers with a sense of style, of course Gilpip is at the front lines pulling for a lifting of as many of these restrictions as possible, suggesting as many as we can, and getting to know all that come into policy as soon as they do. We aim to create the most pleasing houses as possible, and knowledge of these new rules gives us the power to do so.

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