Driven away


Council puts foot down to discourage drive-through developments…

NEW drive-through facilities could be pushed away from towns across the Dandenong Ranges following the approval of an amendment to the council’s planning scheme.
Amendment C126, which features five Design and Development Overlays (DDOs) for Yarra Ranges towns, was put before the Yarra Ranges Council on 22 October and passed by a majority of the councillors.
If approved by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, the DDOs will enforce guidelines on new developments for town centres, with separate DDOs for different regions of the municipality.
DDO14 and DDO15, which affects Tecoma, Kallista, Mount Dandenong, Olinda and Sassafras, and Belgrave respectively, had an extra guideline that discourages buildings that feature drive-through facilities.
Lyster Ward councillor Samantha Dunn said that, if the changes are endorsed by the planning minister, the DDOs would be acknowledged by VCAT for any future development disputes.
“It’s about driving good quality design – it will clarify to people who want to build about the kind of things that are acceptable,” she said.
Ms Dunn said the addition of the drive through discouragement is to help encourage foot-traffic through tourism towns in the hills.
“Towns that spread across the Dandenong Ranges are a key tourism route,” she said.
“It’s about built-form, aiming to be as pedestrian-friendly as possible in high-tourism towns.
“Drive through sales impact on that – they are not as pedestrian friendly.”
She said the discouragement of drive-through facilities would not affect any current drive-through businesses in the affected towns.
Smaller towns, such as Belgrave South, Montrose and Wandin North, among other towns, will not have the guideline discouraging drive-through facilities added to DDO13, which covers their areas.
Ms Dunn said that concerned residents should inform the council if they would like to see changes to design guidelines in their area.
Among the other items in the DDOs are guidelines for building heights and a requirement that developments that have a floor area over 1500 square metres must meet Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) requirements.
To meet the ESD requirements, an application would have to include a management plan showing how the proposal would adopt environmentally sustainable design principles.
An intensive process was used to develop the five DDOs, which Ms Dunn said have been in development for years.
The amendment to the planning scheme, including a draft version of the DDOs, were exhibited for six weeks over March and April this year, with 72 submissions regarding the amendment.
According to Yarra Ranges Council, the majority of submissions were in regards to future fast food restaurants in the Dandenong Ranges.
A panel was appointed by the planning minister in May, including representatives for McDonalds, with two days of public hearings in August, delivering a report and recommendations shortly afterwards.
The panel’s recommendations did not support the limiting of drive through facilities in the Yarra Ranges, but the council decided not to support the panel’s view on the matter.
There were a number of other matters of contention between the panel and the council, including the ESD requirements, which the council supported but the panel did not.
Ms Dunn said the council is entitled to not support the panel’s recommendations.
“Council is perfectly in its rights to reject panel recommendations – because of our role with the community, we’re much closer in terms of community aspiration,” she said.
“It is really important that it gets done right, with the right level of consultation, and that we’re comfortable that its there.
“I hope the minister recognises that, and I look forward to them being approved, in their current form, sooner rather than later.”
There is no timeline currently set for the planning minister’s decision on the amendment.
For the full council report on the DDOs, visit