The Macaulay urban renewal area is located approximately 2 kilometers north-west of Melbourne's CBD, in close proximity to the Parkville National Employment Innovation Cluster and the Arden renewal precinct. The area was rezoned in 2018 to accommodate Melbourne's growing population. This was accompanied by the introduction of new built form controls which enable developers to exceed preferred building heights if a development delivers ‘community benefit.’ In approving the controls, the Minister for Planning identified the need for greater clarity in the definition of community benefit and to bring the implementation of this policy in line with other recent initiatives in central Melbourne planning.
The City of Melbourne has engaged Hodyl & Co to investigate the definition of ‘community benefit’ in the context of the planning scheme and to identify mechanisms through which to deliver any agreed benefits. Any recommendations needed to be deliverable within current planning legislation.
This work will review current Victorian legislation and planning mechanisms to establish an existing understanding of community benefit. It will also research best-practice models, drawing upon definitions of ‘community benefit’ from planning tools in other Australian and international cities.
This work recognises the need for a robust and agreed method of defining community benefit and a transparent and fair mechanism for delivering community benefit through development contributions or incentives.
Moonee Ponds Built Form Framework
Moonee Ponds is a neighbourhood in the inner-north of Melbourne. It is an identified Major Activity Centre centred on Puckle Street, the traditional high street. The Moonee Ponds Activity Centre was the first project announced in the state government's Activity Centre Pilot Program. This program sought to identify how planning controls in activity centres could more effectively support adopted council strategies, provide clarity on the use of height controls and provide certainty for the community on the future scale of development. The key impetus for the program was community concern over the approval of a 30-storey tower development that is double the preferred height limit specified in the planning policy.
Hodyl & Co were engaged to develop built form controls for the Moonee Ponds Activity Centre. Our work proposes revised planning controls that respond to the valued character of the precinct, that improve design outcomes and that contribute to the delivery of identified strategic objectives within the centre. The controls need to support projected population growth, retention of jobs, expansion of employment opportunities and the delivery of high quality open space and affordable housing.
The built form controls must successfully deliver design excellence on large complex strategic sites, as well as catering to smaller, infill sites. Our design process was iterative and involved extensive built form testing that led to the establishment of context-specific built form controls.