Thursday, April 25, 2024

Knox Mayor voices development concerns with minister

A Knox City Council delegation has met with Minister for Planning, Sonya Kilkenny, to discuss concerns over the State Government’s approval of a development plan for the former Boronia Heights school site.

Knox Mayor, Marcia Timmers-Leitch said Council was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Minister to elevate the concerns of both Council and the local community.

“Our concerns start with the lack of engagement to date, along with the intensity of the development, a lack of specifics on social and affordable housing delivery, the protection of habitat zones and vegetation, bushfire risks, traffic access/congestion and a drainage system needed to manage increased stormwater runoff,” she said.

“While the state government’s approval of a Development Plan for this site limits our ability to influence those outcomes already set, we are pleased with the Minister’s indication of support for a partnership approach to be established with Council. This includes support to establish a formal protocol with Council for the development approval process from this point forward.”

In 2018, the Victorian Government rezoned the site for residential development and made the Minister for Planning the Responsible Authority for planning application decisions, and not Council. 

At the time, the Government Land Standing Advisory Committee recommended establishing a formal protocol with Council regarding the development approval process for any planning permits issued for the site. No protocol was ever established.

“It is critical that Council has a stronger role in this process to ensure that future development better respects the Knox Planning Scheme provisions and community expectations,” Mayor Timmers-Leitch said.

“We hope this will be the start of a constructive and productive partnership, and Council is certainly prepared for future advocacy we may need to pursue for this site.”

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