Developer pushes back against Bellarine DAL boundaries

July 15, 2021 BY

The blue-and-white dashed line shows the proposed town boundary for Ocean Grove under the draft Statement of Planning Policy.

A DEVELOPER with an interest in land near Ocean Grove says the state government has moved too quickly in setting town boundaries through the Bellarine Distinctive Area and Landscape (DAL) program.

Phase 3 of public consultation on the Bellarine DAL began, after some delay, on June 29 with the release of the draft Statement of Planning Policy (SPP).

The SPP sets a “50-year vision for protecting areas for conservation while providing long-term certainty for investment” and proposes protected settlement boundaries for all towns on the Bellarine Peninsula.

This includes Ocean Grove, which has areas labelled for growth on the east side of Grubb Road and south of the Bellarine Highway but not on the west side of Grubb Road and to the north of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve.

Morgan & Griffin – the developer behind Oakdene Estate on the east side of Grubb Road – bought the land it now refers to as Oakdene West as it was within the designated long-term settlement boundary in the City of Greater Geelong’s 2007 Ocean Grove Structure Plan at the time.

Compared to the draft SPP, the structure plan has a much wider possible long-term town boundary (for beyond 2020) and has the area on the west side of Grubb Road and to the north of Ocean Grove Nature Reserve earmarked as “protect long-term growth option”.

The developer argues Ocean Grove was previously considered to be a regional growth hub on the Bellarine, but the draft SPP is a reversal of this and is not supported by rigorous analysis.

Dominion Property Group director Richard Strates, a town planner and consultant to developers including Morgan & Griffin, said protecting landscapes that were unique and important was only one facet of planning for settlement boundaries.

“The Bellarine DAL documentation released by the state government does not demonstrate a thorough review of coastal township settlement boundaries like Ocean Grove,” Mr Strates said.

“Typically, a review of township settlement boundaries would involve a fulsome assessment conducted through a Structure Planning process where all relevant considerations are equally assessed by an independent planning panel.

“New housing is critical to ensure there are affordable housing options for young families, workers and others who are increasingly being hedged out of Ocean Grove and other towns on the Bellarine.”

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