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  • Writer's pictureSwarup Dutta

Vegetation- a complex problem

Dual Occupancy

Recent interactions with different councils in Victoria have exposed uncertainty in decisions made or to be made by councils.

Take the example of a duplex in an area undergoing strong demand for housing.

The proposed duplex had two trees on the nature strip- these belong to council.

The common driveway breached less than the 10% of the Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) allowed under Australian Standards. That formula is accepted across Victoria and VCAT.

However this "super smart" Council arborist decided to change the rules and would disallow the driveway being built.

He had formulated his own exclusion zone. When challenged to provide the gazetted planning policy of the Council it refused to come up with a satisfactory answer.

We now have to redesign the duplex- which was on the brink of getting an approval.

Fortunately we have land to allow that to occur. But what if we did not.

Council officers are sometimes on a power trip which causes housing shortage, delays and adds costs to development.

Then take another Council meeting I attended last week. Here we were proposing in excess of 30 houses/ lots. That progressive Council was willing for trees on nature strips to be removed because it would maximise development!

We would work on a net gain strategy replacement of nature strip trees elsewhere.

So two different opinions from two different councils within two weeks. No wonder our planning system needs an over haul.

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