Temporary new rules relating to building height and setback requirements are now in place along a key section of Melbourne’s Yarra River as the Victorian government moves to protect the river from what it refers to as ‘inappropriate’ development.
In his latest announcement, Acting Planning Minister Tim Pallas said the state government had approved a request by the City of Yarra to amend its planning scheme and apply interim controls in order to protect the stretch of the river which lies within its boundaries from the Darebin Creek near the north-eastern suburb of Ivanhoe to Punt Road in Melbourne’s inner-east.
The move comes amid controversy over a number of residential developments on the river’s edge, including a twelve storey apartment tower set to be built by developer Salta Properties in the suburb of Abbotsford which is thought to be too close to the river, too tall and partially obscuring an iconic Skipping Girl Vinegar sign.
It also follows last year’s appointment of a ministerial advisory council to draft up new legislation in order to protect the river over the longer term.
In a statement, Pallas said the government was moving to protect the stretch of the Yarra which extends from Richmond in Melbourne’s inner east to Warrandyte in the city’s outer east.
He said the new controls were consistent with a policy to protect the river which was introduced late last year.
Yarra City Mayor Councillor Roberto Colanzi welcomed the move, saying the council had long advocated for setbacks of between 25 and 40 meters from the nearest adjoining title to the river as well as height controls varying between one to two storeys and four storeys.
Colanzi said the controls would enable the council to refuse proposals which do to provide adequate protection for the river, and that it was important to have these in place whilst the state’s overarching plan for the river was being developed.
The new controls will apply until December 31, 2017, by which time the state hopes to have finalised its long term plan to protect the river.