By Eden Hynninen
Councillors were united at the Macedon Ranges Shire Council meeting after resolving two development matters in Riddells Creek and Gisborne on Wednesday night.
All councillors refused an officer recommendation to deny residents of an informal consultation prior to commencing a developer-led plan in Riddells Creek.
Instead they moved an alternate motion to consult with the community for a four-week period commencing in 2019.
In June 2017, Planning Scheme Amendment C100 was approved to rezone 103 hectares of land in Riddells Creek into an Urban Growth Zone.
The zone is used to ‘identify future urban land where a Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) must be prepared’ to outline how land will be developed.
Developers Sector Advantage are now in the process of preparing the PSP.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council director of planning and environment Angela Hughes said the PSP for the site was a ‘developer-led project and the officer view is that informal consultation [with the community] is not appropriate for this development at this time’.
However, west ward councillor Jennifer Anderson led the motion to undertake a public informal consultation, comprise letters directly sent to landholders inside of the Riddells Creek township boundary and that community consultation should include a presentation from the developer.
“Outcomes of consultation are to be presented back to council by no later than February 2020 at the ordinary council meeting,” Cr Anderson said.
The move follows her lost motion to abandon Planning Scheme Amendment C117 to control and develop 60 hectares of land in Lancefield.
At a May council meeting, Cr Anderson told councillors that “we are elected to represent them (the community) and we need to listen to them and have faith in the system so down the track we can assess what is going on in the shire”.
All councillors refused the Gisborne Area 4B Development Plan for a proposed development at 39 Willowbank Road, Gisborne on Wednesday.
The project will be sent to VCAT for officers to negotiate a suitable outcome.
Cr Anderson questioned Ms Hughes on why the matter was moved to VCAT when the motion was refused.
“It is because the developer has already sent this matter to VCAT.
This came through officers asking for further information on the development and to do a thorough assessment,” Ms Hughes said.
“There are 166 objectors who are unable to join at the appeal so officers can use what they’ve said to support VCAT’s decision-making.
“We are not to compromise if we are unhappy with what the developer says.”