Legal Insights

Introduction of Amendment C270, built form controls

• 06 December 2016 • 7 min read

The Victorian Government formalised planning controls under Amendment C270 in the Melbourne Planning Scheme

On 23 November 2016, the Victorian Government formalised planning controls under Amendment C270 in the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

The controls replace the interim mandatory built form controls that were introduced in September 2015.

The Amendment applies to land generally within the Hoddle Grid and Southbank (the Central City) as shown on the map below:

Hoddle Grid-Soutbank map

The Amendment affects two types of development areas:

  1. General Development Areas (DDO10) – the focus is on growth and more intensive development and is primarily where towers can be located
  2. Special Character Areas (DDO2, DDO40, DDO60 and DDO62) – the focus is to protect specific valued attributes, including a lower built form scale appropriate for each area.

The new provisions seek to improve public amenity and ensure development enhances Melbourne’s long-term liveability. This is considered to be particularly important in the context of rapid increases in the quantity, density and scale of developments within the central city of Melbourne.

The key changes introduced under Amendment C270 are as follows:

Planning control Detail Difference between interim measure
Floor Area RatioFor land to which the DDO10 applies, the Floor Area Ratio is set at 18:1, with a greater Floor Area Ratio triggering a floor area uplift mechanism.

The application must be accompanied by an assessment and report of the proposed floor area ratio from an independent quantity surveyor.

This is a reduction from the Floor Area Ratio in the interim controls (24:1).
Floor Area Uplift MechanismA permit applicant may exceed the 18:1 Floor Area Ratio, provided:
  • a public benefit, as calculated and specified in a manner agreed to by the responsible authority, is provided
  • the permit includes a condition(s) requiring the public benefit to be secured under a section 173 agreement.

If the proposed floor area ratio exceeds 18:1, the application must include details of the public benefit to be provided. The responsible authority must consider the extent to which the floor area ratio exceeding 18:1 will deliver a public benefit.

Under the interim controls, a permit applicant could only exceed the 24:1 site plot ratio if it could demonstrate the buildings and works would be consistent with the Design Objectives and Built Form Outcomes of Schedule 10 to the Overlay and any local planning policy requirements.

In addition:

  • the development must have been declared to be of State or regional significance under s 201F of the Planning and Environment Act; or
  • the applicant must have been able to deliver public amenity improvements as agreed by and to the satisfaction of the responsible authority.
Public benefit for Floor Area UpliftFor the purposes of an application for a Floor Area Uplift, categories of ‘public benefit’ are as follows:
  • publicly accessible open areas on site
  • publicly accessible enclosed areas within the proposed building
  • affordable housing within the proposed building
  • competitive design process for the design of proposed building
  • strategically justified uses including office on site or within the proposed building.

The value of any Floor Area Uplift is measured as 10 percent of the gross realisation value per square metre (GRV/m²) for all additional floor area above the allowable 18:1 floor area ratio.

The GRV/m² depends on the corresponding use(s) and the precinct in which the development is located.

As above, the Floor Area Uplift mechanism under the interim controls did not specify categories of ‘public benefit’.
OvershadowingWhere buildings will cast any additional shadow across certain spaces listed in the DDO2 during the hours and dates specified, a permit must not be granted. There has been an introduction of new spaces and extended dates and times of protection.

The protected areas under this amendment include Federation Square, City Square, the State Library Forecourt, Bourke Street Mall south of tram tracks and ‘any public space, public parks and gardens, public squares, major pedestrian routes including street and lanes, open spaces associated with a place of worship and privately owned public spaces accessible to the public’.

Under the interim controls, the prohibition on overshadowing applied only to the north bank of the Yarra, the Shrine of Remembrance, Federation Square, City Square and the State Library Forecourt. The number of locations has been increased under Amendment 270.

Similarly, the relevant time period under which the interim controls prohibited buildings casting additional shadow was generally smaller.

HeightPreferred street wall height should not exceed 20 metres.

This can be modified to 40 metres if necessary to be consistent with surrounding street wall heights or 80 metres on street corners or fronting some public spaces.

The interim controls restricted ‘podium heights’ to 40 metres.
Setbacks
  • Upper level street setbacks: above the street wall height, upper levels of a building should be set back a minimum of five metres from the street wall.
  • Setback(s) from side boundary: above 40 metres, upper level of a building should be setback a minimum of five metres from a side boundary. For a laneway, upper level of a building should be setback a minimum of five metres from the centreline of a laneway, above 40 metres.
  • Setback(s) from rear boundaries: above 20 metres, upper levels of a building should be setback a minimum of five metres from a rear boundary, or from the centreline of a laneway.

If the building exceeds 80 metres, a minimum side and rear setback of 6 percent of towers height is required.

The Upper level street setback under the interim controls was the same as it is in Amendment C270 (minimum of five metres).

The interim controls did not distinguish between side and rear boundaries. For buildings up to or equal to 100 metres, a minimum tower setback of five metres from all boundaries or from the centre of the laneway above the podium was required.

For buildings above 100 metres, a minimum tower setback from all boundaries and from the centre of the laneway above the podium of five percent of the overall building height was required.

Tower separationA separation distance for multiple towers within a large site of six percent of the combined tower height of the adjacent towers.As above, under the interim controls, a setback of five percent of the overall building height was required for buildings over 100 metres.
Wind effectsIn respect of buildings and works with a total building height in excess of 40 metres, a permit:
  • must not be granted where the buildings and works would cause unsafe wind conditions
  • should not be granted where the buildings and works would cause uncomfortable wind conditions

in publicly accessible areas within a distance equal to twice the longest width of the building measured for all facades.

An application for a permit for a building with a total building height in excess of 40 metres must be accompanied by a wind analysis report.

The test under the interim controls was expressed differently to Amendment C270. Under the interim controls, an application for a permit must have been accompanied by a wind analysis report demonstrating the development was designed to be generally acceptable for stationary long term wind exposure and did not rely on street trees for wind protection.

To view Amendment C270, click here.

The planning controls apply to applications received on or after 23 November 2016.

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