THE president of Bass Coast branch of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation (CFF) says his group will oppose new restrictions for rural land currently being considered.
Preparation of the C140 Amendment to the Bass Coast Planning Scheme is underway, which will seek some changes to the policies and requirements for the use, development and protection of rural land within the shire.
The amendment affects all land within the Farming Zone and Rural Activity Zone in Bass Coast Shire and proposes to implement the actions of the Rural Land Use Strategy and the Review of Rhyll Wetland.
The amendment marks the final stage of implementation of the Rural Land Use Strategy, which has been formulated over several years and caused controversy among farmers when it was adopted by the council back in 2013.
The new rules caused controversy within the farming community back then, with more than 200 objections lodged.
President of the Bass Coast branch of the VFF, Neville Chapman, says the group’s stance remains the same.
“It’s change for change’s sake,” he argued.
“The council is trying to tell us we’ve got to keep the land for them to look at; that it’s all about environmental tourism.
“But who is even making money out of that in the rural sector?
“It’s not like it will benefit any of us.
“It may benefit some on Phillip Island, but the rest of us are penalised.”
Mayor Kimberly Brown says the outcomes council is seeking from the amendment will provide landowners and decision-makers clarity on what is appropriate for rural land use.
“This amendment will provide outcomes that will ensure land use and development in Bass Coast’s farming areas is managed to promote and protect agricultural activities.
“We also want to encourage tourism in appropriate rural areas,” Cr Brown said.
“It is also important to recognise and protect the landscape, coastal and environmental values of Bass Coast, which will include the protection of the Rhyll wetland from inappropriate development.”
Cr Brown said the amendment will implement the long-term vision for the shire’s land use as identified in the Rural Land Use Strategy.
The strategy created three precincts to recognise the agriculture, tourism and rural lifestyle opportunities of each precinct.
Proposed is the application of Rural Activity Zones in Coronet Bay-Corinella, The Gurdies and Inverloch-Cape Paterson.
The new zoning at these locations will support a range of different uses including rural-based tourism.
The amendment will also seek to apply the Rural Conservation Zone and Environmental Significance Overlay to an area within Rhyll that is adjacent to the Rhyll Inlet to ensure it is protected from inappropriate development.
Cr Brown said amendment C140 proposes new local polices that have been designed to give land owners and decision makers clear direction when seeking and assessing planning permit applications within the Farming Zone.
The policies relate to Rural Subdivision, Rural Dwellings and Non-Agricultural Uses in the Farming Zone.
The current minimum lot size within the Farming Zone on Phillip Island will remain as 40 hectares.
However, for the mainland, a minimum lot size of 80 hectares is proposed.
Cr Brown said this is based on the principles of council’s adopted Rural Land Use Strategy, which seeks to minimise the fragmentation of rural land, preserve rural character and maintain lots of an appropriate size to enable viable agricultural land uses.
Currently a planning permit is required for all dwellings on land less than 40 hectares.
Under the proposed policy there will be new assessment requirements and decision guidelines on land smaller than 40 hectares.
For dwellings on land greater than 40 hectares there are no proposed policy changes.
Amendment C140 will be on public exhibition until November 9.
A community drop-in session will be held at the Grantville Transaction Centre, 1504-1510 Bass Highway, Grantville from 11am to 3pm on Thursday, October 29.