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Council supports proposed changes to Amcor site planning controls
12 June 2013
Yarra Council has supported proposed changes to planning controls over Amcor’s paper mill site in Alphington, specifying maximum building heights for future development and a minimum period of community consultation.
The 16.5 hectare parcel of land – the largest redevelopment site in Yarra – is being sold by Amcor who ceased its operations there in late 2012.
At a Special Council Meeting held on 11 June, Council supported a proposal to change the planning controls from the existing Incorporated Plan Overlay (IPO) to a Development Plan Overlay (DPO). The proposed changes – put forward by Amcor to the Minister for Planning to improve the saleability of the land - would alter the process for considering and approving a plan for development of the site.
Council was asked by the Minister to provide its view on the proposed changes to help inform the Minister’s decision about whether to incorporate the changes into the Yarra Planning Scheme.
Since this request, Council, in consultation with Amcor and local residents, has been involved in developing a draft DPO that would be consistent with the community’s expectations and uphold the residential character and environmental integrity of the area.
The draft DPO is based on Design and Development Principles developed by Council in 2009 in partnership with the community and provides a framework for future development.
Yarra Mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky said the scale and significance of the land and its interface with the Yarra River corridor, made this one of the most sensitive sites for Council and the community to consider.
“It impacts on Melbourne as a whole, as well as the municipalities of Yarra, Darebin and Boroondara,” Cr Fristacky said.
“The potential impacts of a development of this proportion has presented Council and with some difficult decisions; however it has been critical for Council to form a clear view about the future of the site and to make this known before the Minister for Planning makes his decision,” she said.
“It is vital that Council participates in this process rather than being on the sidelines.
“Supporting a draft DPO for the Alphington site has given Council the opportunity to specify key safeguards around future development regarding building heights and protection of the Yarra River.
“For example, the draft DPO incorporates maximum building heights for different areas of the site including a maximum of eight storeys for properties near the corner of the Chandler Highway and Heidelberg Road. It also specifies a maximum of two storeys for properties closest to the Yarra River, set back from the river at least 20 metres, with up to four storeys beyond this most sensitive interface.
“Other maximum heights are 4-6 storeys for the remaining precincts on the site set back from a 2-3 storey streetscape interface.
“Importantly, Council's resolution also includes a condition that the public is consulted as part of the process for approving a development plan, ensuring our community can have its say on the impact of a development that could potentially double the population of Alphington.
“We cannot ignore the huge challenges a development of this scale raises in terms of increases to the population and its impact on traffic and transport, especially considering that Chandler Highway, Heidelberg Road and the Eastern Freeway are already at capacity.
“Council will work hard to ensure any future development encourages the use of sustainable transport like walking, cycling, car share and public transport, as well as continuing to call for a Doncaster rail line to ease the pressure on the local and arterial road network.
“Council emphasises the importance of developing the Doncaster rail line before the redevelopment so as not to exacerbate existing bottlenecks on all arterial roads in the area.
“Council understands the strong level of community concern about the future for this parcel of land, and thanks the many residents, especially members of the Alphington Paper Mill Action Group Inc (APMAG), for their constructive input.
“It is Council's intention to continue to represent the community’s interests throughout the process to ensure that any future development of the site respects surrounding residents, the environment and of course, the sensitive Yarra River corridor.”
Council will seek an urgent meeting with the Minister for Planning to discuss the draft DPO and will inform the Alphington community of the Minister's decision once it is made.
Acting Senior Communications Officer
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