GEELONG council has endorsed a local planning policy in a bid to ensure new developments in the municipality are sustainably designed.
Multi-unit, mixed use and commercial developments will undergo “Environmentally Sustainable Development” (ESD) assessment as part of the planning permit process, checking off seven areas, including energy performance, water resources, indoor environmental quality, stormwater management, transport, waste management and urban ecology.
City of Greater Geelong sustainable development portfolio chair Cr Jim Mason said the planning policy would deliver many environmental benefits such as a reduction in waste and commercial heating and cooling costs.
“I’m excited by council’s adoption of the Environmentally Sustainable Development program, which will significantly improve the environmental performance of new developments and increase the number of residential and commercial buildings achieving above mandatory standards,” Cr Mason said.
The policy will see more developments in the region achieve compliance above the required building standards for sustainability, from design to construction and operation.
An 18-month “pilot program” where an ESD officer was on call to offer free advice to developers acted as a catalyst for the policy’s development.
A draft of the policy was released to key stakeholder agencies for feedback in November last year, resulting in two changes to permit triggers and the inclusion of an e-waste disposal.
Geelong mayor Bruce Harwood said the voluntary pilot program was successful in helping “developers consider these types of design changes, so we’re pleased to have now made this a formal policy”.
The policy will now be sent to the Minister for Planning for approval.