Buffer Area Overlay (BAO) in the Victoria Planning Provisions

Following consultation in late 2020, Amendment V10 was gazetted on 1 March 2021 and inserts new Clause 44.08: Buffer Area Overlay (BAO) into the Victoria Planning Provisions.

The proposed BAO builds on Planning Scheme Amendment VC175 and Planning Advisory Note 92: Managing buffers for land use compatibility. The advisory note has been updated to include guidance on use of the BAO and sample schedules.

No such schedules have been introduced by any municipality therefore the BAO has not yet been applied to any land.

The BAO can be used to prevent incompatible use and development within the buffer areas of industries and other uses with potential offsite impacts.

The purpose of the BAO is to identify areas where there is potential for off-site impacts on safety or human health from industry, warehouse or other uses. The BAO also ensures that use and development within buffer areas is compatible with potential off-site impacts.

Policy and zoning are the primary and preferred tools within the planning system for ensuring land use compatibility. Overlays and associated planning scheme maps not only identify land, but also apply requirements that need to be met.

Responsible authorities may prepare and submit draft schedules to the overlay based on evidence demonstrating the types of potential impacts, the spatial extent of those impacts (the buffer area) and appropriate requirements for land use and development within the buffer area. Impacts would need to affect human health or safety rather than amenity (annoyance or inconvenience).

Schedules to the BAO are to contain a detailed statement of risk, up to five objectives to be achieved, requirements for use, development and subdivision, application requirements, exemptions from notice and review and decision guidelines.

Town Planning & Co welcomes the changes which provide greater certainty to developers and prospective purchasers whilst acknowledging the potential for increased red tape for owners of land to be affected by the proposed overlay.

A copy of the Overlay, as at 1.03.2021, can be viewed online via: https://planning-schemes.api.d...