Archive:  Amendments C114 (Macedon) and C115 (Mount Macedon)

Last Updated  23/12/16


See also Macedon-Mount Macedon Town Plan Archive




NEW  Action Required   Amendments C114 (Macedon) and C115 (Mount Macedon).  These are Implementing "Design Guidelines" To Protect Character??   Not on your nelly! 

(23/12/16 - P)  How does this sound:  zero front setbacks, two storey development, no preferred character, planning requirements able to be waived by council, street trees a minor consideration - in both towns.  And this: a Special Use Zone at Mount Macedon allowing McDonalds, and 'pole signs', with "small scale" development deleted. That's what you are getting with C114 and C115.   Submissions close 30 January, 2017.


Amendment C114 at Macedon includes a draft Design and Development overlay (DDO26), and changes to the Macedon Township Policy at Clause 21.13-6.


Amendment C115 at Mount Macedon includes a draft Special Use Zone schedule (SUZ6), and changes to the Mount Macedon Township Policy - and Framework Plan - at Clause 21.13-7.


Amendment information is available from Council's website although, as has happened before, some is missing: neither of the towns' Village Centre Studies or Design Guidelines documents, which underpin the amendments, are with the amendment documentation.


MRRA Says:


As a principle, enshrining strong development and design standards in the planning scheme, to preserve and protect character, has merit.   Alas, that's not quite what these amendments are doing.


A project of the previous council, the C114 (Macedon) and C115 (Mount Macedon) planning scheme amendments have their genesis in Village Centre studies adopted for both towns in late 2014.  The amendments are claimed to be putting the Design Guidelines that derive from those studies into the planning scheme.  Well, that's the theory, at least. 


The previous council wasn't going to exhibit any Design Guidelines - officers' recommendations for both towns were to just leap from adoption of Village Centre studies straight to amendments that would put unseen Design Guidelines into the planning scheme without further consulting council or community.  The big surprise came in late 2015 when a majority of the previous council voted against doing this for Mount Macedon.  As a result, draft Design Guidelines for both towns, along with a very incomplete draft Special Use Zone for Mount Macedon, were put out for community comment last May. 


Problems with the exhibited Design Guidelines included excessive use of "should".  Problems with the exhibited 'half' of a Special Use Zone schedule were obvious:  it allowed currently prohibited uses, and most of the zone schedule's provisions and requirements were missing.  Something that zone schedule did include were statements authorising council to reduce or waive planning permit application requirements for everything except signs.


In September 2016, the previous council voted to prepare planning amendments to put the Design Guidelines into the scheme, via a Design and Development Overlay at Macedon and a Special Use Zone schedule at Mount Macedon.  As was that council's habit, it gave council officers authority to make changes, without further consultation or council endorsement, prior to exhibiting the C114 and C115 amendments.   The Design Guidelines and zone schedule were then whisked off into council's back room to be translated into the amendments currently on exhibition, which have emerged with at times unrelated and unrecognisable content.  Yes, a lot of the former "should" language is gone, particularly at Macedon, but not all.  Some of the original "musts" have been wound back, replaced with new "should", "minimise" or "discourage" language.  Shifts in emphasis and issues being addressed dilute requirements for development, and too many of the original Design Guidelines are omitted and just aren't there at all in the amendments.


Yet council's official line remains the same, continuing to misrepresent these altered and weakened amendments as being good for Macedon and Mount Macedon.  However, as with other recent amendments (for example, Structure Plans at Riddells Creek and Kyneton),  the previous council's habit of watering down or deleting anything that put standards or the environment first, and of fudging policy to be less onerous and more 'flexible' for development/developers, is indelible.  Some of the changes made to the Design Guidelines in their translation into the C114 Design and Development Overlay and the C115 Special Use Zone certainly seem to favour potentially largish pub expansion at Mount Macedon, and diluted development standards for 19 Victoria Street, Macedon. 


These amendments are not delivering the protective planning that most of the community wants, and is being told it is getting.  MRRA can't see how, in their current form, these amendments are 'good' for either town.  Here are some of the issues with the amendments MRRA has detected to date:


C115 Mount Macedon:





C114 Macedon:

The consequences of these amendments won't only impact local communities.  Does anyone really want a Maccas-style development at Mount Macedon?  Or large apartment-style development at Macedon?  Or street trees removed to accommodate (over-) development?


Everyone can help by putting in submissions by 30 January, objecting to Amendments C114 and C115.  This is a formal planning scheme amendment process, so clearly mark your submission with the amendment number (C114 Macedon, C115 Mount Macedon), objecting to the amendments as they have been exhibited, and requesting that neither be progressed.   The new Macedon Ranges council has the option of abandoning all or part of the amendments, or of reviewing, rewriting and re-exhibiting them. 


Minimum objectives for any rewriting would be to replace the favours, 'flexibility' and weaknesses in C114 and C115 with strong, unambiguous standards, 'starting points' and requirements (with no waivers), that prioritise and are genuinely sympathetic to protection of character and environment, and result in limited, small scale, low key, high quality development.   Nothing less will do in these extremely sensitive towns.