CHALLENGING the incomplete planning rules governing residential projects in Inverloch has become such a popular sport among developers, property owners and builders that the Bass Coast Shire Council is struggling to manage the workload it is producing.
This situation was highlighted at a wide-ranging discussion about Inverloch’s much-vaunted but poorly implemented ‘Inverloch Design Framework’ (IDF) last Friday night with inaction by successive shire councils and shire administrations leaving the town’s residents exposed to hideous over development.
And it’s unlikely the situation will change anytime soon, despite a push, at the Third Community Plus Inverloch meeting, from the Inverloch Tourism Association, to get the appropriate planning controls in place.
Two urban planners, Jane Homewood, a director of the planning and design consultancy firm Urbis and Nikki Taylor, a director of Devcon Planning Services led the discussion convened by Cr Jordan Crugnale, and they underscored what many residents already feared, that the Bass Coast Shire Planning Scheme offers no specific protection for the leafy green, small coastal village character that it took 10 years to get into the design framework.
In the absence of the appropriate overlays needed to restrict building heights, housing density and built coverage of sites, the problems will continue they said.
Nikki Taylor said the IDF at least defined the town boundary and provided much of the strategic work for translation to new, more restrictive residential codes but if the people of the town wanted specific protections, they’d have to produce the documentation and consultation to support it.
“Other than that it’s basically a reference document that won’t hold up at VCAT,” she said.
On the positive side, according to Jane Homewood, it’s a really good time for the shire to be applying for State Government assistance to redo Inverloch’s planning documentation so that it could introduce appropriate controls.
She said the new planning minister came to the role with a wealth of urban planning experience and would better understand what Inverloch was trying to do.
“Developers want to get the maximum out of their blocks but they also want certainty and we don’t have that now,” she said which is why the shire was getting snowed under by applications.
“Your document is not strategically aligned with the new state planning and the rest of your strategic documents. It’s not backed up with zones and overlays.”
While the night focused on Inverloch’s planning shortcomings, dogs on beaches, the Surf Parade path and the dreaded chicanes also raised their heads again.
Representatives of the Inverloch Tourism Association said if the dogs on beaches process was a trial, they wanted to see the evidence which backed council’s decision to move to introduce new local laws around the walking of dogs on the beach.
How shire incompetence has dogged Inverloch