What is a road? A solar farm? A Cafe? A Live music venue? Victoria seeks input on planning scheme land use terms and definitions

The ministerial advisory committee set up as part Victorian Government's two-year Smart Planning reform program to look into and recommend improvements to the land use terms and definitions in the Victorian Planning Provisions is calling for submissions which relate to the discussion paper the committee published in late February 2018.

The Smart Planning program began life in July 2016 and has produced reforms such as streamlining regional planning policy (cutting 3000 pages from the planning schemes across the state), an interactive mapping tool for zone, overlay and other planning layer information across Victoria and began work on a new planning portal for the state which is due to be released by June 2018, according to the program's website.

The ministerial advisory committee that is now seeking submissions was borne out of a past consultation round which recommended land use terms and their respective definitions be updated.

In October 2017 the discussion paper, Reforming the Victoria Planning Provisions: A discussion paper was released which sought comment on a range of proposals to improve the system.

Proposal 5.2 of the Smart Planning discussion paper was to review and update the land use terms section of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP). The Advisory Committee was appointed following feedback from the Smart Planning consultation to address the submissions received.

Land Use Terms Advisory Committee - Discussion Paper

Richmond-based Ratio Consultants perhaps introduced it best in their most recent newsletter

"Just as Shakespeare mused on the meaning of a name in Romeo and Juliet, planners and the public are being asked to turn their thoughts to the less romantic but important issue of land use terms following the release of a new discussion paper by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP)", the opening paragraph reads.

"Recognising that not every proposal will fit a land use term like Cinderella’s slipper, the process’ guiding principles include focussing on what needs control due to particular amenity concerns and defining uses only when there is a need to aid interpretation."

Land use terms and definitions are referenced through the planning scheme and depending on the zone, certain land uses are prohibited, permitted without a permit or permitted with a permit.  Here's the current Land Use and Terms document in the Victorian Planning Provisions.

Individuals and organisations are free to structure their submissions how they see fit, however, the discussion paper asks 67 questions which "would assist the committee if you addressed the [following] questions".

Some examples from the discussion paper:

2. Are there good reasons to change the practice that a land use listed in Clause 74 does not need to be defined, provided it has a well-defined common usage? What are these reasons?

25. Is there merit in defining Brewery, Distillery or Chocolate factory? If there is, how should they be treated in zones?

38. Is there a need to amend the definition of Medical centre, and what precise change is required?

45. Should Live music venue be listed in Clause 74, and if so how would it be defined?

57. What is the appropriate definition for Road?

65. Is there merit in defining Display village, and what should it include?

To read the discussion paper, click here.  Submissions can be made on the engage.vic.gov.au website and must be received by the government by close of business on the 3rd of April 2018.

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