Heat rising on higher homes

By NOEL MURPHY

OBJECTORS to rezoning Newtown and Belmont for dwellings up to four storeys high are fighting to convince authorities the plan is way out of line.
They have lodged with council a 350-signature petition arguing that State Government’s proposed C300 planning scheme amendment is at odds with council’s guidelines.
The amendment affects selected suburbs and towns around the state.
The petition said the proposed zoning within Newtown was inconsistent with the intent of the state-wide rezoning on four grounds:
* the area was beyond walking distance of Geelong Railway Station, contrasting the objective of C300 on access to train stations;
* the area lacked a shopping strip or an activity centre, as required for rezoning;
* significant neighbourhood character, including a National Trust property and numerous period homes deserving protection; and
* physical constraints including schools and associated traffic congestion.
Belmont residents said they had similar objections.
The objectors met councillors Stretch Kontelj and Bruce Harwood to voice their concerns.
Cr Harwood said he and Cr Kontelj “tried to facilitate a forum for them to be heard and express some of the issues that will be faced”.
“There’s considerable community comment on this amendment and we need to listen to that and give it due consideration.”
Cr Harwood said C300 had the potential to be a “game-changer” for regions such as Geelong.
Some of the objectors’ points “certainly” had merit, he said, but “other points will be more difficult to convince a panel or certain ministers”.
“However, the message is clear that the City of Greater Geelong need to consider carefully where this medium-density housing should be and that this development needs to be included in the existing plan for Geelong along with considerations such as traffic.”

He said the some of objectors’ points “certainly” had merit but “other points will be more difficult to convince a panel or certain ministers”.

Asked if the issue could influence the State Government’s re-election prospects, Cr Harwood said:  “Typically any sensitive issue in election years do get magnified. In this case a portion of the community is having a very vigorous say in what they think is best for their neighbourhood.

“It will be interesting to see how it is viewed by council and the government.”

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