Posted 19/11/08

Macedon Ranges Land Owners Committee

Chairman. Peter Scanlon

Secretary. Zalie Merrett

P.O. Box 408

Nth. Balwyn. 3104

Ph. 9846 4850

Fax. 9857 9787

Saturday, November 08, 2008


The Mayor and Councilors

Macedon Ranges Shire Council

P.O. Box 151

Kyneton   3444       Vic.


Dear Sirs and Mesdames,


Macedon Ranges Shire Draft Rural Living Strategy  


Our group has recently obtained and perused the above document. Its contents and general thrust have been considered and discussed at some length.


It has been our view, despite some understandable reservations, that the Macedon Ranges Landowners Committee should refrain from seeking to hector or bully the Council, not to say individual Councilors, in advancing the interests of our constituents.


We have sought and believed we had to some degree achieved a co-operative relationship in which our views would be given proper weighting in the formulation of any changes to current planning controls.


Unfortunately it seems our forbearance has been in vain and we are dismayed to note the MRSC resolved as part of a resolution at its ordinary meeting dated September 24th, 2008 to “Endorse the Draft Living Strategy for consultation purposes”.


The Council’s planning unit would not release the draft document when requested on grounds that remain unclear.  It was therefore necessary to obtain the document from the Governance Officer as an attachment to an official notice paper.  It is our opinion this would not have been necessary had it not been expunged from copies of the notice paper and attachments provided for public use at the meeting in question and on the internet


We regard this circumstance as disturbing; giving rise to questions as to just where council truly stands on rural living matters as well as planning controls in general.


Our immediate concern with the Rural Living Review document is that it does not address our understanding of the purpose of the study. Our original understanding of the study was:


  1. To review the existing zoning controls of land in rural areas where residential use predominates so as to enable like development to occur with like development. The immediate effect of this would be to remove the circumstance wherein a particular development is refused despite all or most surrounding allotments already enjoying the sought use.

  2. To address issues raised by the Panel that reported to the Minister regarding Planning Scheme Amendment C21 (which later became amendment C48) e.g.: the Panel recommendation that the Town Zone covering several small towns should not have been changed.


The community response to the review was excellent in their attendances at the public meetings and their written submissions. The review presents their views put but in our opinion is weak in relating the views put to the recommendations of the Council planning staff. We had high expectations of the product that would result from the review and are disappointed by arguments that conflict with each other through out the report.


We make comment on parts of the review:


  1. Principal Seven  on Page 66:

We do not accept that a land owner be required to provide his or her land as a vista benefiting neighbours and traffic passing by the freehold property;

  1. Planning Policy number eight, (Protection of the Macedon Ranges): this policy was introduced over thirty years ago by the State Government and has not been taken up by the Shire. We consider the current view of the State Government, that policy is obsolete, is the correct view;

  2. Figure 5 Page 31;

This figure is taken from the Rural Land Review (C21). It was far too vague then and is no clearer now. We consider this figure inappropriate for any detailed study. Moreover, we dispute the general premises illustrated by this figure;

  1. Rural Living Strategy Document does not address issues identified by the Panel that considered Amendment C21. In particular, we refer to the inappropriate inclusion of town zones (Pages 76 to 79) among other things; 

  2. The RLS has not identified, recognised nor addressed a number of significant mapping errors currently being administered incorrectly, that should be corrected before further amendments are made in the affected areas.

  3. Additionally there are multitudes of minor defects arising from amendment C21/48 that remain to be corrected and none of these defects are addressed by the RLS.

  4. That a stock of Rural Living allotments available is a specious argument, because any allotments which may be vacant are not shown to be for sale, and may never be on the market

  5. To zone the land correctly, in accordance with its existing use, is not to add to the stock of rural allotments available for further dwellings, but simply to properly recognize the existing use of the land.

  6. It is our opinion that the Planning Scheme is a source of great animosity towards the Council from rural landowners. Many hold the belief that Council officers are prepared to damage them in order to pursue an agenda which includes retention of their land as a spectacle.  Private land is not a national park

  7. From the report presented our committee can not understand who determined the scope and nature of the strategy; the elected Councilors or the authors of this document? It is our belief that Councilors expected that the study undertaken would identify areas of rural living in the rural zones. In our opinion the document presented does not do this, and unless it is amended to do so, it should be rejected


We attach our discussion paper and are prepared to enter into discussion on the Draft Rural Living Strategy Document.



Yours faithfully,

Macedon Ranges Land Owners Committee

Zalie Merrett


Copy sent to each Councilor and each candidate for the coming Council Election.