Planning issues are more widespread than ATET
ATET is merely the 2022 incarnation of the planning problems in Docklands.
The Docklands Representative Group (DRG) has been petitioning for years about the issues with the Docklands Act 1991, which allows Development Victoria to grant/deny applications without public notification of its actions, and for many exemptions to the planning process, including not requiring notification of planning applications to neighbours or public advertisement, and the ability to object to a planning application meaningfully.
Changing the Docklands Act is the responsibility of the state government, so the DRG has been speaking with members of parliament to gain support for changes to the Docklands Act and the Docklands Zones in the Melbourne Planning Scheme.
We have had successful discussions with members of parliament and are working on the exact wording of the changes before returning to the MPs and the City of Melbourne for support.
Similarly, the current planning scheme for Docklands Zone includes:
- “Encouraging bars, hotels and nightclubs in the Capital City Zone and Docklands Zone that:
- Accommodate less than 100 patrons.
- Have appropriate noise attenuation.
- Limiting the use of outdoor areas (including smoking areas, rooftops and open courtyards): to 1am; and in noise-sensitive areas, limiting alcohol consumption in outdoor areas to 11pm (13.07-1L-04).”
Despite these planning scheme policies, the Docklands Act permitted the creation of a nightclub for significantly more than 500 patrons with no noise attenuation.
Furthermore, it is clear from the recent Community Meeting on March 14 that the City of Melbourne will only take further action once it has the support of the EPA and other external reports, so it will not stand alone in court when challenged.
The process for a council to change a Planning Scheme is long, structured, and set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Changes are prepared by the local council and approved by the Minister for Planning.
The City of Melbourne, having acknowledged that things are “unacceptable”, should initiate the process to review the Docklands Zone so that once these external reports exist, they are incorporated into the feedback from the community and recommended to the Minister for Planning without undue delay. •