Planning Matters 890 | VC175

Planning Scheme Amendment VC175 and Planning Advisory Note 92: Managing buffers for land use compatibility.

Planning Scheme Amendment VC175 was gazetted on 26 May 2020 and seeks to improve the way the Victorian planning system addresses buffers for amenity, human health and safety impacts by better managing adverse impacts on amenity, human health and safety while protecting the economic viability of industry.

The amendment includes updates to the Planning Policy Framework (PPF) and amends the table of threshold distances within Clause 53.10: Uses and Activities with Potential Adverse Impacts - of particular relevance to any current or upcoming industrial planning applications particularly where a change of use is proposed.

In response to the changing nature of manufacturing and the emergencies of new industries, the amendment simplifies, clarifies and categorises a range of manufacturing terms (i.e. ‘formaldehyde’ becomes ‘fertiliser production’) and reduces, increases, deletes altogether or adds new buffer distances to sensitive uses for activities, in some cases based on annual output or other specific manufacturing methods. New uses/ activities have been added, such as ‘bus depot’ with a threshold distance of 200 metres.

The somewhat confusing former Note 1 & 2 column has been deleted, which allowed discretion to vary threshold distances depending on poorly defined tests. This is effectively replaced by inserted text requiring applications sought to vary the threshold distances to the EPA as a determining authority.

A less obvious change is to the state planning policy Clause 13.07-1S Land use compatibility, which now requires consideration of siting of sensitive uses away from Uses and Activities with Potential Adverse Impacts and effectively protects existing industry. This ties in with an upcoming planning scheme amendment and changes to the Environment Protection Act (delayed due to COVID-19 until 2021) which seek to impose buffer distances to a defined list of ‘sensitive uses’. The new strategies outlined within this policy are as follows:

  • Ensure that use or development of land is compatible with adjoining and nearby land uses.
  • Avoid locating incompatible uses in areas that may be impacted by adverse off-site impacts from commercial, industrial and other uses.
  • Avoid or otherwise minimise adverse off-site impacts from commercial, industrial and other uses through land use separation, siting, building design and operational measures.
  • Protect existing commercial, industrial and other uses from encroachment by use or development that would compromise the ability of those uses to function safely and effectively.

Changes to the several of the planning scheme zones have been made referencing the above and prohibiting certain uses where listed in the table to Clause 53.10.

Additional requirements have been added to zones allowing Industry and Warehouse uses, prohibiting activities associated with storage of dangerous goods.

As always, despite rigorous checking and correction of other errors, a few typos and mistakes have crept in to the gazetted clause, ie. Polyester and synthetic resins production, exceeding 2,000 per year … 2,000 what? tonnes we assume?

Following the gazettal of Planning Scheme Amendment VC175 on 26 May 2020, Planning Advisory Note 92: Managing buffers for land use compatibility was released. The advisory note elaborates on the amendment, outlining several useful example scenarios and outlines broader strategic objectives driving the amendment, such as avoiding land use conflict in greenfield areas by providing separation from conflicting land uses (ie residential/ industrial) and avoiding land use conflict in urban renewal areas, by preparing strategic land use frameworks to manage transitions into new zones.

Town Planning & Co. welcome the changes, which provide greater certainty to investors and permit applicants, protect the amenity and safety of sensitive uses, protect the viability of industrial activity in appropriate locations and further restrict the storage of dangerous goods.

The amendment can be viewed here:

and the practice note here:

Town Planning & Co invite you to Contact us should you have any questions regarding this article, or any other Planning related matter.

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