WILLOW CREEK APPROVAL: UPDATE

 

EXCLUSIVE

Bandicoot reports in another post on this site* councillors’ approval on 28 November of Willow Creek Winery’s application to expand and amend its activities, most notably to increase patronage from 150 to 282.

(* See ‘Councillors “yes” to Willow Creek Winery’)

Next day Bandicoot contacted Mr David Bergin, Mornington Peninsula Shire executive manager of planning services, by email seeking details of the advice he gave councillors in support of the applicant’s request to nearly double patron numbers.

Mr Bergin had told the meeting that Willow Creek Winery had existing use rights enabling the expansion and that Victorian planning provisions in the Green Wedge Zone had changed several years ago to allow for additional patrons on GWZ properties.

A week later Bandicoot had received no response from the shire.

Advice was then sought from GWZ expert Michael Buxton, professor of Environment and Planning at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

michel-buxtonProfessor Buxton (right) has long experience in planning. He joined RMIT in 1998 after 12 years in senior management with Victorian Government Planning and Environment agencies, and with the Victorian Environment Protection Authority.

He is former chair of the Premier’s Green Wedge Working Party, which advised the Victorian government on the introduction of a legislated urban growth boundary and revised green wedge zones for Melbourne’s green belt. He has contributed extensively to government policy and maintains strong industry and professional connections.

Responding to Bandicoot’s request for advice, Professor Buxton provided the relevant GWZ provisions and stated that there are no existing use rights for new applications.

“If an applicant wants to expand then a new permit is required and this has to conform to the [GWZ] conditions,” he wrote. “For example, the use will require a lot on at least the minimum subdivision size for the zone or at least 40ha if no area is specified.

( Willow Creek Winery is on 18ha.)

“These controls are specific. In some cases, they cannot simply be added together to significantly increase the number of patrons.

“In particular, if a restaurant is used in conjunction with a function centre, the total number of patrons present at any time must not exceed the number specified in a schedule to the zone or 150 patrons, whichever is the lesser.”

Professor Buxton concluded by stating: “I have checked recent amendments and can’t find any changes listed to these provisions in the Victoria Planning Provisions.”

The Willow Creek Winery application now goes back to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for hearing and decision, with the councillors’ approval as a key part of the applicant’s evidence – unless councillors, presented with new information, change their vote.

How will VCAT decide on the application if the vote is unchanged? Will it query the councillors’ approval? Will it seek detailed evidence on how the shire reached its decision to recommend that councillors approve Willow Creek’s application?

Below are the GWZ rules Professor Buxton provided:

Function centre: Must be used in conjunction with Agriculture, Natural systems, Outdoor recreation facility, Rural industry or Winery. The number of patrons present at any time must not exceed the number specified in a schedule to the zone or 150 patrons, whichever is the lesser. The lot on which the use is conducted must be at least the minimum subdivision area specified in a schedule to this zone. If no area is specified, the lot must be at least 40 hectares.

Group accommodation: Must be used in conjunction with Agriculture, Natural systems, Outdoor recreation facility, Rural industry, or Winery. The number of dwellings must not exceed the number specified in a schedule to the zone or 40 dwellings, whichever is the lesser. The lot on which the use is conducted must be at least the minimum subdivision area specified in a schedule to this zone. If no area is specified, the lot must be at least 40 hectares.

Residential building: (other than Residential hotel) Must be used in conjunction with Agriculture, Natural systems, Outdoor recreation facility, Rural industry or Winery. Must be used to provide accommodation for persons away from their normal place of residence. The lot on which the use is conducted must be at least the minimum subdivision area specified in a schedule to this zone. If no area is specified, the lot must be at least 40 hectares.

Residential hotel: Must be used in conjunction with Agriculture, Natural systems, Outdoor recreation facility, Rural industry or Winery. The number of bedrooms must not exceed the Use Condition number specified in a schedule to the zone or 80 bedrooms, whichever is the lesser. The lot on which the use is conducted must be at least the minimum subdivision area specified in a schedule to this zone. If no area is specified, the lot must be at least 40 hectares.

Restaurant: Must be used in conjunction with Agriculture, Natural systems, Outdoor recreation facility, Rural industry or Winery. The number of patrons present must not exceed the number specified in a schedule to the zone or 150 patrons, whichever is the lesser. If used in conjunction with Function centre, the total number of patrons present at any time must not exceed the number specified in a schedule to the zone or 150 patrons, whichever is the lesser. The lot on which the use is conducted must be at least the minimum subdivision area specified in a schedule to this zone. If no area is specified, the lot must be at least 40 hectares.

2 Comments on "WILLOW CREEK APPROVAL: UPDATE"

  1. Patty Martin | 07/12/2016 at 2:18 pm | Reply

    Surely the council will have to retract as they are clearly wrong to have granted the permit in the first place?
    Bandicoot: Let’s wait to see what council does, possibly at next Monday’s meeting. Councillors gave approval for amendments to an existing permit.

  2. Norman McKinlay | 08/12/2016 at 6:49 pm | Reply

    Good work, Chief Bandicoot. I might call you the long-nosed bandicoot! Not so long ago the Libs and a certain MP Shire councillor were praising the new planning scheme for the Mornington Peninsula. Have a look at all the hot springs advertised; and the huge drilling rigs at the corner of Browns Rd and Boneo Rd. Look out – we haven’t seen anything yet!
    Bandicoot (of the shortish-nosed variety): The rigs you mention will tap hot water for uses more practical than turning tourists pink. The aquifers can – and will – heat shops, homes, even public swimming pools.

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