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Impact Of The New Zones In The Geelong Region_____

Impact Of The New Zones In The Geelong Region

Following the release of the reformed residential zones by the State Government on 1 July 2013, councils have been reviewing existing planning policies and investigating the best strategic options for applying the new suite of zones in their municipalities.

The Greater Geelong City Council will be working to meet the 1 July 2014 deadline for implementation of the new suite of residential zones which is likely to differ from its metropolitan Melbourne counterparts. Geelong, being the largest regional city in Victoria, will need to develop an individual approach to address its unique issues.

Given the role that the regions are expected to play in accommodating Victoria’s growth, it is likely that the Greater Geelong Council will replicate their current zoning approach and apply the General Residential Zone (GRZ) across the majority of the municipality.

It seems to make sense that the Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) be applied to some of the activity centres throughout the municipality also known as ‘Increased Housing Diversity Areas’. This will depend, however, on how much of a focus is made of increasing residential densities within Geelong’s CBD.
The biggest question mark is over the application of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ), and whether there are any areas within the municipality that warrant its application. And if so, how will the application of the NRZ impact the city’s ability to accommodate urban growth?

It is worth noting that the G21 Draft Strategic Housing Incentives Action Plan attempts to identify the road blocks to accommodating urban growth in the Geelong Region and provides suggested solutions to navigating around them.

Whatever the strategy chosen by the City of Greater Geelong for the application of the residential zones, it will be interesting to see how it will support and promote the G21’s Regional Growth Plan to drive sustainable and affordable growth in the region. Kirsten Kilpatrick is an Associate Town Planner in our Geelong Office and the Head of UDIA Geelong.
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