Archive:  Gisborne ODP

 Last Updated  14/2/09



Decision On Gisborne ODP Deferred - Unanimously!

(6/10/08 - P)  High level of difficulty in major backflip to 9-0 vote on Gisborne ODP rescission motion from 5-4 the previous week


At a Special Council meeting in Kyneton last Wednesday, those in the gallery could have been forgiven for doing a double take.  Far from the split 5 to 4 vote the week before at Romsey to move Amendment C59 (Gisborne ODP) forward to a panel, this time around Councillors voted unanimously for a rescission motion reversing the 5 to 4 decision taken the previous week. C59 will now NOT move forward at this time. 


Councillors who changed their minds were Noel Harvey, Geoff Neil, Helen Relph, John Connor, and Sandra McGregor. 


Those who originally voted against moving the amendment forward at Romsey, and again on Wednesday night, were Henry Bleeck, Rob Guthrie, Tom Gyorffy and John Letchford.


The rescission motion was lodged by a quick-thinking Cr. John Letchford at the 24 September meeting at Romsey, on the grounds of allowing Councillors more time to read the large number of submissions on the amendment.


A second part to the rescission motion was also passed on Wednesday night, although the motion carried differed substantially from that originally proposed by Cr. John Letchford. 


The original part two motion related to Council calling for the Minister for Planning to provide strategies for the Calder corridor and towns in Macedon Ranges, to re-instate the principles and strategic direction of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 in the Gisborne ODP, provide state protection for Macedon Ranges through special state level exemptions, and that the 2005 version of the Gisborne ODP be adopted as interim policy for Gisborne pending completion of these other actions.  


However, this version of the second part was left "in abeyance", and a new second part substituted:  "That Council having regard to the diverse range of submissions received resolve to review the proposed planning controls relating to Amendment C59 by mid December 2008 and the Submitters be advised accordingly and the Minister for Planning be kept informed of Council's actions."  The vote on this was almost unanimous, but not quite.  Cr. Geoff Neil voted against, giving an 8 - 1 result.



Gisborne ODP Decision At Special Council Meeting, Wednesday 1 October in Kyneton, 7pm

(29/9/08 - SP)   Councillors will decide whether Amendment C59 will move forward to a Panel.

At last Wednesday's Council meeting in Romsey, it was decided to defer a decision on referring Amendment C59 to an independent panel to allow Councillors time to read the 80+ submissions received in response to the amendment's exhibition.   It seems Councillors had only received the submissions a day or so before the meeting.  Residents are strongly encouraged to attend the Special Meeting.


MRRA Says:


The Special meeting will be held at the Kyneton Town Hall.


Is there any point referring the Gisborne ODP to a panel when no-one knows which policy it is supposed to measure the amendment against? 


After the Department of Planning and Community Development's edict that Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is to be killed off, but without confirmation from the Minister, exactly which policy applies? 


Wouldn't the smart thing be to sort this out first, before involving a panel?


It will be interesting to see who votes which way.



Alarm Bells As The ODP Plan You Weren't Told About Tries To Push A Suburban Future On Gisborne

(31/8/08 - P)  Residents not consulted about 180 degree metropolitan shift for Gisborne


Somewhere, somehow, someone has decided Gisborne will be a suburb of Melbourne.


Back in 2005, the Gisborne community was consulted on what type of future it wanted for the town.  Three options were offered:  no change, balanced growth, and high growth.  The high growth option was rejected and subsequently a draft Outline Development Plan [ODP] was exhibited in May/June 2005 which contained a preferred option of balanced growth.  This ODP recognized Gisborne as a rural town, as well as the importance of its role/location within the wider and significant Macedon Ranges and Surrounds area.  The town would grow by another 3200 people by 2031 and, in line with community expectations, would have larger lot sizes and lower density development to protect landscapes and rural character.


Roll forward to August 2008 and Amendment C59.  The purpose of Amendment C59 is to put the ODP in Macedon Ranges planning scheme as the plan for Gisborne for the next 20 years.  It also introduces some new planning controls for Gisborne and New Gisborne.  The problem is, the ODP going into the planning scheme isn't the ODP Gisborne thought it was getting in 2005.


The ODP in Amendment C59 is dated July 2007.  Since 2005, when the community last saw it, the ODP has been re-written to produce a suburban outcome for Gisborne.


Between 2005 and now, larger lots became smaller lots, lower density became higher density, areas designated for medium density development doubled, 3200 extra people by 2031 became 6800 extra people (i.e. double the current population), Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 and 'rural town' were deleted and replaced by Melbourne 2030 (e.g. A Fairer City), existing larger setbacks in some areas were replaced by ResCode, and the new planning controls for Gisborne were watered down and reflected changes made since 2005.


MRRA Says:


The Gisborne / New Gisborne Outline Development Plan was funded and initiated by the State government in 2005.  It all went fairly swimmingly until the draft ODP was exhibited in May/June 2005.  After that, the ODP disappeared behind closed doors and has only emerged for public consumption with the recent exhibition of Amendment C59.


For three years, it seems the Department of Planning and Community Development refused to move Amendment C59 forward until Council agreed to accept an ODP that had a 'suburban' agenda.  All the while, better planning controls for Gisborne sat on the shelf gathering dust. With no end and no improved controls in sight, Council finally gave in.  We can only wonder how differently things might have turned out for Gisborne if those new controls - in their 2005 form - had been introduced at that time.  Everyone knows Gisborne has been crying out for years for better planning controls.  After the collapse of Amendment C8 in 2004, that's why the ODP went ahead in 2005.


MRRA and members have submitted objections to the 2007 ODP moving forward.  Amongst other things, it sets a precedent for officially urbanizing a town in Macedon Ranges - are the other towns next?   And while there was a strategic basis and strategic justification for the 2005 ODP, we are still looking for any strategic justification for the changes in the 2007 version.


The Department's high-handed actions have put Council and our community in a terrible position.  It seems that if we want any better planning controls, we have to take a suburban agenda as well.   MRRA says that's not on.


One thing the Department's behaviour has done is to highlight how very vulnerable Macedon Ranges is, not only to speculators and agendas but mediocre minds.  An attempt is also being made to have Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - Macedon Ranges and Surrounds (Clause 22.01) removed from our planning scheme.  Consequently Macedon Ranges is, more than at any time before, at the crossroads in terms of where the Shire goes in future.


As well as the revised ODP being an unacceptable outcome for Gisborne, the Department's stealthy imposition of metropolitan policy carries much wider implications for the whole Shire, particularly in the absence of the strong planning protections the Shire used to have before 2000.  MRRA has campaigned for several years to have the area's sensitivity recognised at State level and for the protections we lost in 2000 to be re-instated.  We say, make it State policy to protect rural character, rural land and environment in Macedon Ranges.


MRRA has now written to the Minister for Planning asking for these matters to be clarified.



C59 Amendment For Gisborne Outline Development Plan (ODP) Is On Exhibition

(16/7/08 - P)  Submissions to be in by 11 August


Macedon Ranges Council has announced the exhibition of the Gisborne ODP as an amendment to the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme. 

You can go to Council's website on and click on C59 on the Home Page to go to the Amendment documentation (you should try to read it all).


Below is information taken from Council's website:


The Amendment is accompanied by three draft Section 173 Agreements to be entered into by the owners of land to be rezoned Residential 1 Zone and Council that require developer contributions towards community and physical infrastructure.


You may download the amendment, any documents that support the amendment and the explanatory report about the amendment via the links at the bottom of this page or inspect a copy at the following locations:


-    Council’s Gisborne Administration Centre, 40 Robertson Street, Gisborne and Kyneton Administration Centre, 129 Mollison Street, Kyneton.


-    Gisborne Library, 8 Hamilton Street, Gisborne.


-    at the Department of Planning and Community Development web site


Any person who may be affected by the amendment may make a submission to Council.


The closing date for submissions is Monday, 11 August 2008.   Please note that this has been changed from 29 July


Submissions can be submitted via the Submission form link at the bottom of this page or sent to the Chief Executive Officer of the Macedon Ranges Shire Council, PO Box 151, Kyneton VIC 3444.


Community Information Sessions


Two community information sessions will be held to provide more information and to answer your questions about the amendment.


-    For issues relating to New Gisborne: Tuesday 8 July 2008, 4 – 5.30pm at Council’s Gisborne office


-    For issues relating to Gisborne: Tuesday 15 July 2008, 4 - 7pm at Council’s Gisborne office [two sessions commencing at 4pm and 5.30pm]


If you plan to attend one of these sessions please register with Gillian Romeijn by email to or phone 5421 9619 so we can be fully prepared for the meeting.


Panel Hearing


A submission which seeks to change the amendment and is not accepted by Council will be referred to an independent Panel appointed by the Minister for Planning under Part 8 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. If a submission is referred to a Panel, a Directions Hearing and Panel Hearing are to be held on the following dates:


-    Directions Hearing: week of 6 October, 2008

-    Panel Hearing: week of 3 November, 2008


Anyone who has made a submission which has been referred to a Panel has an opportunity to be heard.  All submitters will be formally advised in writing of any Directions or Panel Hearing and the date.


Contact details and further information


For further information regarding Amendment C59 please contact Council's Strategic Planner on ph: 03 5421 9619. Alternatively you can submit any queries/questions you may have via the enquiry form link at the bottom of this page, or email


MRRA Says:


It has been a long time coming and, in its original form, the new design and development controls would have been a desirable influence in ensuring new development wasn't totally suburban in character.  However, MRRA has heard some residents hold concerns with the changes that have been made to this document since the community last saw it (some 3? years ago).  Further to that, there are concerns out there about (a) the population target in the ODP and whether the Department of Planning and Community Development's aspiration for rampant growth has prevailed, and (b) whether developer pressure has seen changes made to the ODP for their benefit rather than in the long-term interests of Gisborne and strategic planning. 


So... the devil's in the detail. 


It is in Gisborne residents' best interests to take some time to look at and comment on this amendment - it will shape the future of the town for years and years to come.  Finding out down the track that something nasty has got through will be a too late, too bad, so sad situation.   MRRA has heard that aspiring developers dominated the two meetings held by Council recently.  Don't let that be the only input.


The word is that the copy of the plan sent to Gisborne residents can't be read without a magnifying glass, and we understand that a glitch with the Government Gazette hasn't left a huge amount of time for exhibition and submissions to be made (although please note that the closing date for submissions has been extended from 29 July to 11 August). 


Residents will need to obtain readable documentation ( and get their skates on making a submission.


More Info About Gisborne Outline Development Plan (ODP)

(29/5/07 - P)   But why do we have to find out what's going on from VCAT?


Residents can't seem to get much information about the Gisborne ODP, but this recent VCAT decision to approve an application for an 8 lot subdivision and seven dwellings in Stephens Street, Gisborne (contrary to the ODP's standards), helps fill in a lot of the gaps.   Here are some extracts from VCAT decision P3057 / 2006: 


"3      With the exception of alleged deficiencies with regard to neighbourhood character (streetscape), hard surface as a result of the provision of a third driveway to the two existing driveways over the two blocks and a sense of address to the existing dwelling, the fundamental ground of council’s and objector opposition to this proposal is its density of 1:500 square metres.


4      Pursuant to a non-tested outline development plan, the east side of Stephen Street is permitted a medium density of 1:450 square metres per dwelling whereas the west side of the same street, on which the subject site is located, is only permitted a medium density of 1:800 square metres per dwelling.


32     There is a current debate between council and the Minister for Planning’s Department of Sustainability and Environment with the former projecting a need for dwellings housing a projected population increase of 3,200 persons to 2030 (to achieve a township size of 8,500 persons) whereas the Department anticipates a requirement for dwellings to serve an increase of 8,800 people to achieve a township size of 14,000 people by 2031. [emphasis added]


33     The principal issues for consideration in respect of this application for are the extent of hard surface driveway pavement, sense of address for the existing dwelling (whose front door is to its northern side rather than to the street) and proposed density of 1:500m2 instead of council’s preferred 1:800m2.


34     It is clear that, aside from minor streetscape issues which can be addressed by permit conditions, council’s fundamental opposition to this proposal hinges on its Gisborne – New Gisborne Outline Development Plan (“Outline Development Plan”), a policy which is neither incorporated into its planning scheme nor is a reference document and is only in embryonic stage.


38     Notwithstanding clear Tribunal opinion that the Gisborne New Gisborne Outline Development Plan has no status at this stage which would require me to take it into account, council seeks to persuade me to rely upon it as the fundamental reason for refusing this proposal."


MRRA Says:


The State government has a $25,000 stake in the Gisborne Outline Development Plan, so wouldn't you think it's in the State government's as well as Macedon Ranges' interests to move this project forward?  We've got some key questions we would like answers to:

While this shadowy debate continues, Gisborne keeps on 'burning'.  Isn't it time the powers that be stopped 'fiddling' while Gisborne 'burns'?  Isn't it time for some accountability and openness - and broad community consultation?  Isn't it time someone took responsibility for moving this project forward to completion?



Roll Up, Roll Up - Get Your Subdivision Now.  Macedon Ranges Council Is Giving Away Free Lots!!!

(28/4/07 - P)  Mmm... this one had almost everything - muddled meeting process (again), changing votes, outlandish statements, a couple of bombshells, and of course the usual "blame someone else" and "throw the planning scheme out the window" events - and an old-fashioned land deal

What a tangled web they are weaving...   Here's some background on this subdivision application in Melton Road, Gisborne.


This was originally an application for 9 lots - lots which met the size requirements in the Gisborne Outline Development (ODP) adopted by Council.  After later finding that some 7000 square metres would need to be set aside as a reserve to protect significant native vegetation on the land, back came a revised application to Council's 11th April meeting - this time for 12 lots (including the reserve).   At that meeting, however, the application was found to be missing a vital ingredient - a development plan (which must be approved before Council can even consider issuing permits), so the whole shebang was deferred off to the next meeting on 18th April, 2007.  


With now 11 lots and a reserve proposed, the residential lots, of course, are much smaller - as Cr. Tom Gyorffy (West) later pointed out, the ODP cites 4000 square metres as the desirable lot size in this area, with a minimum lot size of 3,000 square metres, but the revised application had only one of 11 residential lots bigger than the ODP's minimum 3,000 square metres size.


Here's where it starts to get interesting.  At the 18th April meeting, Council's Director of Sustainable Development set the ball rolling by saying the latest (12 lot) application wasn't compliant with the Gisborne ODP.  Whereas the original plan had lots just under 4000 sq m, the revised plan has lots less than the minimum lot size contemplated by the ODP. 


Are you ready for the first bombshell?  The officer's written report to Council said that didn't matter.  More than that, the officer's report retained its earlier assessment of the original (9 lot) plan against the planning scheme's Development Plan Overlay (DPO) requirements, even though the application was now for 12 lots.  Huh?  But the topper was the officer's comment that Council didn't need to be too fussy about the application complying with the planning scheme's Development Plan Overlay requirements as long as --- the application complied with the Gisborne ODP.  Huh?? 


Cr. John Letchford (South), rather than defending his hometown's ODP quickly shafted it by asking Ms. Schilling its status, and she replied the ODP doesn't pass the test of being a seriously entertained document. In essence that meant it didn't have to be taken seriously. 


First off, Cr. Rob Guthrie (South) reiterated his request from the previous week that a condition be added requiring the subdivision to be sewered before it can proceed.  It was agreed such a condition could and would be added. 


Cr. Noel Harvey (West) moved the officer's recommendation to approve a permit (as amended above) but also wanted some changes of his own.  Those having been agreed to, Gisborne's Cr. John Letchford (South) seconded the motion.  Getting to his feet, Cr. Harvey quickly said the issue is balance.  He was surprised at Ms Schilling's comments about the ODP but said they strengthened his argument for approval.  He said that if Council could give a bit in other areas he believed Council had an obligation to do so.  The native vegetation area set aside in the subdivision will become an important part of vegetation links in the township.


The next bombshell came from Cr. Geoff Neil (East) who said he had no dispute with Cr. Harvey's comments, but...  The native vegetation reserve had come about through referral of the application to the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), who said it wanted more land than in the originally proposed reserve. Cr. Neil said this latest plan had that, and another 11 lots. Cr. Neil then waxed lyrical about how this was an extraordinary subdivision - a prime piece of real estate which will yield maximum dollars for the proponent.  However, he had an issue with protecting native vegetation, saying the best people to do that would be DSE.  If Council took it on it would be regarded as an open space contribution.  He said he felt Council should be able to have its cake, and eat it too, and pointed out that Council doesn't have a development contributions plan.  He said he believed that since the reserve contained native vegetation, Council should give it to the people with the expertise (i.e. DSE) and so remove the onus from Council.  Council should also be saying to the developer that he is a lucky ducky, getting 3 extra lots, and so he should give Council  5% of the value of the land in cash (as well as handing over the native vegetation reserve to DSE).  He flagged an amendment to the permit conditions to include his ideas, which Cr. Sandra McGregor (East) alone supported.


The Mayor Cr. Helen Relph (South) at this stage advised Council it was dealing with both Cr. Neil's amendment and the original motion.  However as Cr. Rob Guthrie (South) began to speak against the proposal, Cr. Noel Harvey (West) called a point of order, saying Council couldn't follow such a process.  The Mayor then said Council could only consider Cr. Neil's amendment at this stage to which Cr. Harvey responded with the statement that Cr. Neil's proposal was nonsense.  He went on to say that the State government couldn't look after the land it already has, and it was an insult to ask the applicant to provide another 5%.  Cr. Henry Bleeck (East) didn't support the amendment either, also giving the State government a serve by saying State government land is a disaster, the State has a history of not looking after reserves and was incapable of looking after the new reserve.


Cr. Geoff Neil (East) summed up saying it was interesting how much Council was saying about how hopeless the State Government is at looking after land.  As it stood, Council would have to look after the land for something that wasn't its responsibility (i.e. native vegetation) all because DSE said the reserve had to be created.  Council was forced into it by a referral response, and shouldn't forego the extra 5%.  The motion was lost when only Cr. Geoff Neil (East) and Cr. Sandra McGregor (East) voted in favour, the other 7 Councillors voted against.


Debate then returned to the original motion (as amended earlier by agreement).  Cr. Rob Guthrie (South) resumed speaking, saying the application was fatally flawed, as was the process.  He expressed strong concerns that Council was again attempting to approve a "development plan" (which extinguishes residents' rights to be notified of and object to future development) without consulting the community.  He said if Council was about open, transparent government, it needs to say to Gisborne - hey, if we approve this it takes away your rights, have a say now.  Sounding exasperated, he pointed out that Development Plan Overlays (DPOs) have now been applied in most towns, and the process Council undertakes in dealing with them has implications across the Shire.  He referred to recent unfavourable experiences for Council at VCAT for failing to get DPO processes right, quoting VCAT's Helen Gibson "It does not appear that the council has a practice of separately endorsing plans as approved development plans under the Development Plan Overlay as recommended in the Planning Practice Note, Applying the Incorporated Plan Overlay and Development Plan Overlay".  He also pointed out that if Council supported the officer's recommendation, it would (on paper at least) be adopting a development plan for all of DPO Cell 4b, when it only had a development plan for this particular property, which is only a small part of Cell 4b, in front of it.  He asked, where is the development plan for the whole cell?  He reminded Council of the recent $4,500 costs awarded against it for issuing a permit without having an appropriate, approved development plan to hand.   He said Council couldn't move the application forward because it didn't have a development plan for all of DPO Cell 4b.


Cr. Tom Gyorffy (West) opposed the application on the basis that it didn't meet the requirements of the draft Gisborne/New Gisborne Outline Development Plan [for which Council is preparing a planning scheme amendment]. The land is located at the gateway to Gisborne. Cr. Gyorffy referred to Cr. Neil's impassioned plea last week to not allow two units at the gateway to Romsey, and said this land was just as important and this subdivision was as out of character as the Romsey application had been.  Cr. John Letchford (South) on the other hand said the Outline Development Plan was dead.  It had been around for 10 years and had never been finalised.  The application was the best outcome for the land and was in the best interests of the community.  It was a prime piece of land.


Cr. Noel Harvey (West) closed the debate saying the ODP wasn't a seriously entertained document - Councillors could shake their hands as much as they liked but it shouldn't be considered.  The proposal accorded with the planning scheme. This is a good outcome, don't be distracted by the ODP. 


At this point Cr. Geoff Neil (East) leapt to his feet, saying he was distressed and wanted an adjournment to discuss a matter with officers before Council made its decision.  The Mayor denied his request and proceeded to call for the vote.  A division was called which showed Crs. Noel Harvey (West), Henry Bleeck (East), Sandra McGregor (East), Helen Relph (South), John Letchford (South) and John Connor (West) supported approval, Crs. Geoff Neil (East), Tom Gyorffy (West) and Rob Guthrie (South) opposed.


MRRA Says:


We'll obviously have to come up with an alternative to 'dog's breakfast', because we can't keep using it all the time!  Nevertheless it goes some way to describing what has happened with this application, although we feel something stronger is called for. 


Now let's see.  This is what it looked like happened. 


DSE said save the trees, which it has the power to do.  That meant that roughly 17% of the land was given over to a Protected Vegetation reserve, responsibility for which would be Council's.  The thinking then seems to have been that carving the rest of the land up as per the ODP's 'large lot' requirements wouldn't yield enough financial return.  So, essentially, be blowed to the ODP, be blowed to good planning outcomes, be greedy instead.  And all but two of our Councillors (Guthrie and Gyorffy) fell for it, with two (Harvey and Neil) publicly promoting it, hence Cr. Harvey's comments about 'believing Council had an obligation to give a bit in other areas' [apparently in return for saving the trees], and Cr. Neil's comment about the developer being "a lucky ducky, getting 3 extra lots" and so should give Council money as well as land.  In other words, some of our Councillors knowingly and publicly acknowledged a deal was being done, contrary to planning requirements, that helped the developer. 


A couple of other items caught our attention as well:


For starters, the Gisborne Outline Development Plan HAS NOT been around for 10 years as Cr. Letchford claimed, consultation processes for it began in 2005.  It has $25,000 of State government money in it and is starting to look like a stop-start-stop disaster - well, at least in the hands of Macedon Ranges Councillors and the Department's office at Bendigo.  MRRA would like to know why a document which Council voted to move forward to an amendment to the planning scheme (C59) only 2 months ago, is now NOT a seriously entertained document.  We've asked it before, and we'll ask again, what's going on with the Gisborne ODP?  Who doesn't want it?


We got the distinct impression from Cr. Harvey's closing comments that he may not be entirely clear on the difference between an ODP and a DPO. 


What's an ODP?  It's a strategic framework, a plan, that sets out a vision and future directions for an area or town.


What's a DPO?  It's a statutory provision in planning schemes, an overlay that must be complied with, which is (usually) applied to undeveloped land and triggers a requirement for a development plan to be prepared and approved (showing in detail how the land will be developed) before any permits can be approved to develop the land.


Not knowing the difference just cost Council $4,500 at VCAT.  So when Cr. Neil said he was distressed, and wanted to talk to officers, how much do you want to bet that the penny had finally dropped that Council was doing it again?  Still, there aren't any objectors to this proposal as far as we know, so Council is likely to get away scot-free on this one.


Cr. Neil's comments that native vegetation wasn't Council's responsibility were extraordinary, to say the least!  Where has he been while the world changed?  And far from defending Gisborne's gateway as he had the week before Romsey's gateway, alas Cr. Neil did not bring forth an alternative motion to refuse this application.  Seems, as we suspected, refusals only apply in Geoff's home town of Romsey. 


And lastly, did Cr. McGregor change her vote?  It seemed she voted against the proposal but when a division was called, voted for it.


Not happy with how your Councillors are performing?  Then start thinking about who will replace them in 2008.



Gisborne ODP Finally, Finally Moves To An Amendment To Put It Into The Planning Scheme

(17/2/07 - P)  Almost 3 years after the project was first put up by the State government, Gisborne ODP is now Amendment C59

Macedon Ranges Council resolved to prepare an amendment to put the Gisborne ODP into our planning scheme at its Planning Committee meeting last Wednesday.  Residents are urged to keep a sharp lookout for notices advising that Amendment C59 is going on exhibition.  That's when you have a say in where Gisborne goes in future - and how many people it will have.


MRRA Says:

This project has moved at a snail's pace, reportedly because of differences of opinion about the amount of growth the town should have - with the Department of Sustainability and Environment reportedly wanting a substantial increase in growth over the ODP's original growth target of 3000 or so more people by 2031.  The number in the Amendment adopted by Council now ranges between 3000 and over 6000, so it looks like the Department won the argument and is dictating the amount of growth Gisborne will have.  That means either more land will need to be rezoned to residential, or existing residential land will have to have more houses on it which could lead to a 'stack and pack' outcome for Gisborne.  Either way, the amazing growth range included in the amendment will undoubtedly make developers drool.


It will probably be at least another 18 months before Amendment C59 is actually included in the planning scheme.  Almost five years all up.  And all the while the developers are having their way with the town.


Final Gisborne Outline Development Plan Pushes Privately-Owned Golf Course Inside Town Boundary

(19/4/06 - P)  The golf course isn't inside the town boundary now, so how did it get included when land inside the boundary is earmarked for residential development?

Residents will be interested to see the Gisborne Golf Course, which was recently rezoned to Rural Conservation Zone by the C48  Amendment, is newly included within the township boundary proposed in the final version of the Gisborne Outline Development Plan.  Land inside the town boundary is identified as where residential and low density residential development until the year 2030 will occur.


MRRA Says:

Hhmm... while the golf course is coloured green on the ODP map, which may have been misunderstood to mean this is a publicly-owned and publicly-zoned recreation facility, it isn't, and including such a large chunk of rural zoned land inside the township boundary has the potential open up some very unplanned future residential development opportunities and pressures.  Just so it's really clear, MRRA will be asking for the boundary to be moved back to where it is today, and encourages Gisborne residents to likewise notify Council of this over-sight.


Gisborne Outline Development Plan Goes Forward To Amendment

(28/3/06 - P)  Copies of the finalised draft now available

MRRA has been advised that the finalised draft for the Gisborne ODP is now available from Council's website ( and from Council service centres.  Council is in the process of preparing a planning scheme amendment to introduce the ODP into Macedon Ranges planning scheme.  Additional work on traffic issues is also to be undertaken.


MRRA Says:

People in Gisborne need to check out the final draft so they know what's in it leading up to an amendment process.  MRRA has heard a whisper or two that some changes have been made that may serve to weaken proposed controls. We'll be looking at it, you should too.



UPDATE  Time For Input Into Gisborne ODP Extended

(31/7/05 – P) 8th August is new date for submissions to be in

MRRA understands Council has extended the time in which submissions can be made on the Gisborne Outline Development Plan (ODP).  Our advice is that August 8th is now the cut-off date.   Check with Lisa Gervasoni or Veronica Schilling at Council for more information.


Gisborne Outline Development Plan Finally On Exhibition

(8/7/05 – P) Series of ODP displays: Submissions close 29 July

Gisborne’s future is on the line with a plan (ODP) for how the town will go forward now on exhibition.  The consultants (Earthtech) will be available to discuss the plan, between 3.00pm and 7.00pm, on July 5, 14, 19 and 28.  Click here for details or contact Lisa Gervasoni at Macedon Ranges Council on 5422 0314 or   Stop Press:  MRRA has heard that someone has decided that a final decision won’t be made on these plans until December:  THAT’S AFTER THE NEXT COUNCIL ELECTION.


Gisborne Outline Development Plan Still Uncertain

(14/6/05 - P) Just what’s going on with the Gisborne ODP?

At its 8 June Planning Committee meeting, Council ‘sort-of’ approved a draft preferred option for the Gisborne Outline Development Plan.  Let’s take a step back.  A draft preferred option and report has twice been put to Council, and twice deferred.  Apparently Council wanted changes before exhibition.  Someone hasn’t made those changes. In last Wednesday’s agenda, the changes still hadn’t been made although the officer’s report to Council included an Appendix of changes to be made. But that still wasn’t good enough so ‘Version 3’ of the ODP was handed out to Councillors and the gallery at the meeting. Cr. Dunn moved and Cr. Guthrie seconded a motion that ‘Version 3’ of the preferred ODP would be placed on exhibition if, following a check by CE Ian Morris, all changes listed in the Appendix have been made to the document.


MRRA Says:

We’ll leave it up to the CE to check if the Appendix changes have been made but we’ve found a few ‘clangers’ of our own that shake our confidence in the project.  Examples include the ODP report saying Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 is “premised on unsewered land, and thus its relevance to this project is limited.”   Wrong.  The former Shire of Gisborne found 3 elements of the policy were fundamental to that Shire’s 1992 residential land review (i.e. including sewered land).  Then the ODP report says one key feature of the township area’s natural environment is… Rosslynne Reservoir.  And that the reservoir is used for recreational purposes!   On the other hand, the Jackson Creek escarpment apparently isn’t a feature of the town’s natural environment.  There are also some assumptions about growth that aren’t making a lot of sense, and we will be doing some work on this.


MRRA is wondering just who is writing the script for the ODP.  Remembering that this project has State government funding, we’ll be keeping a very close eye on the Gisborne ODP to make sure it isn’t hijacked to implement a State government suburban growth agenda, and to pass on a few things to watch for to residents in Romsey and Kyneton where ODPs are also underway.



Gisborne Outline Development Plan (ODP)

(31/5/05 - P) Public exhibition of ODP put off again.

At the ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday 25th May, Councillors opposed the planning officer’s recommendation to put the draft ODP on exhibition, and deferred the matter once again until more information and clarification is available. Council is now scheduled to again consider the ODP at its Planning Committee meeting on 8th June at Kyneton.


Gisborne Outline Development Plan (ODP) Hits A Hurdle?

(16/5/05 - P) Council puts off exhibiting the plan for Gisborne’s future.

At its Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday 11th May, Council put off considering a recommendation to exhibit a ‘preferred’ ODP plan for Gisborne.  It will now be considered at the May 25 ordinary Council meeting in Romsey.  Apparently a preferred option, providing for another 1,676 new dwellings, has been selected although we don’t yet know who prefers it or why.


MRRA Says:

First we were told Option 1 could provide the 1,300 additional lots purportedly needed to accommodate growth in Gisborne and New Gisborne until 2030 without creating any new residential zonings (ODP Open House on March 30th).  The Council officer’s report says Option 1 now provides for 1,446 new dwellings.  Then along comes the ‘preferred’ option with a capacity of 1,676 new dwellings.


If Option 1 could deliver the 1,300 lots/1,446 dwellings ‘needed’ without new residential zonings, why are we looking at a preferred option that provides for 1,676 new dwellings and (going on earlier options) sacrifices New Gisborne to suburbia?  MRRA is aware that the level of ODP consultation already undertaken hasn’t impressed residents.  It hasn’t impressed us either, nor are we impressed so far with the increasing amount of development to be accommodated or with how it’s proposed to be accommodated.   Has anyone looked at what’s right for Gisborne, for an area of State significance?   Is anyone going to?



Residents Feel Left Out of Gisborne Outline Development Plan Consultation

(18/4/05 - P) Has there been sufficient consultation on the three options presented for Gisborne’s future development?

At a recent Open Day forum in Gisborne, residents were invited to comment on three options for the future development of their town.  All options accommodate the galloping growth projections for Macedon Ranges released by the Department of Sustainability and Environment last September.   Macedon Ranges’ residents who attended MRRA’s Say NO To Suburbia meeting in Gisborne last October rejected these growth levels as being too high.


All options turn most of the traditional Gisborne township into (high density, small lot) ‘unit utopia’.

As the Gisborne ODP project is funded by the State government, what’s the betting that ‘high growth’ Option 2 gets the nod?  The options and their background document were not publicly available before the Open Day forum. Working/commuting residents had difficulty attending, and many who asked to be notified of the forum were not alerted.  Consequently some Gisborne residents feel there hasn’t been fair opportunity to inspect or comment on the options prior to a preferred option being exhibited (scheduled for later this month).   MRRA has been advised by Council an ‘open door’ policy on submissions will apply: Council will accept and consider community comments until Council makes a final decision.  The options, although hefty files, are now available on Council’s website ( and, we understand, at the Gisborne Service Centre.


MRRA Says:

Great care is needed to ensure all residents who wish to participate in consultation processes about Gisborne’s future are able to do so.  As the Open Day forum seems to have been the only opportunity provided for residents to have direct input on the options, given the lack of information and inability of many to attend, it’s hard to see how feedback on the options could be reasonably considered broadly representative or informed.  MRRA hopes additional opportunities will be provided to allow residents to inform themselves and make comment before any further decisions are made.



Latest Gisborne ODP Forum: Open House, Wednesday 30 March

(29/3/05 - P) Opportunity for Gisborne area residents to comment on next stage of future plans.

Council is preparing an Outline Development Plan that will guide future development in Gisborne and New Gisborne.  Tomorrow’s forum marks the next stage of the process. Details of the forum from Council are: Wednesday 30 March 2005 at the Masonic Lodge Hall cnr Aitken St and Fisher St, Gisborne from 12 noon until 8pm.  Drop in anytime during the afternoon or evening.  There will be brief presentations held at 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 6:30pm providing general information on the project, followed by small group workshops to discuss your ideas and the preliminary plans that will be available for discussion.  The following information about issues is from Council’s website or click to go to the site.


The Key Issues Raised At The First Open House Were: Varying Views On The Following Key Issues Were Provided:
    The need for appropriate infrastructure and adequate services to meet various people’s needs
    Where future development should occur and what size lots should be provided, including the demand for, and location of, medium density and low density housing.
    The natural environment is a key feature of the townships and surrounds and needs to be protected.
    The amount of future population growth that should be accommodated in the towns. Population growth forecasts should not be imposed – rather residential densities and the growth boundary should be determined to maintain the character of the towns.
    This plan provides an opportunity to require that new development meets high level environmental standards.
    Whether services should remain in a centralised hub in Gisborne in order to maintain the ‘village in a rural landscape’ character of the area, or whether services should be dispersed more evenly throughout Gisborne/New Gisborne.
    The lack of confidence in the current planning controls to achieve the resident’s preferred future development of the towns.
    The preferred form of future development to best limit the impacts on the natural environment, including native flora and fauna.
    Gisborne/New Gisborne should be planned to provide a ‘healthy environment’, providing a built environment that encourages walking and cycling.

    The importance of providing attractive townships and achieving/maintaining a rural village character