THERE was great interest from the residents of Jay Road, on the southern outskirts of Foster, in a recent meeting held to discuss the proposed rezoning of nearly 22 hectares of neighbouring land (in two parcels) from Farming to Low Density Residential.
The meeting, held at Foster Community House on March 29, was called by a couple of residents of Jay Road after they received a letter from South Gippsland Shire Council advising of Amendment C64 to the Planning Scheme proposing the rezoning of the land and also removal of the Environmental Significance Overlay and the Significant Landscape Overlay and the application of a Development Plan Overlay.
The residents doorknocked the street, inviting their neighbours to attend – and representatives of most of the 23 dwellings in Jay Road turned up – along with Coastal-Promontory Ward Councillors Jeanette Harding and Mohya Davies. The shire’s strategic planning manager, Paul Stampton, and strategic planner Nick Edwards also attended.
The mood of the meeting was positive, with residents grateful for the opportunity to have some of the planning steps, which can be complex, clarified. However, residents raised a number of concerns about the proposed rezoning.
No subdivision plans have been presented to Council, but the Jay Road residents understand that the rezoning has been requested by a developer planning a subdivision encompassing 28 to 35 lots, with a minimum lot size of 0.4 hectares.
Darren Piasente, who was one of the residents who called the meeting, summed up the overriding concern of Jay Road residents as being one of safety. “We are not against the development as such, but we are concerned about where the access to this development will be.”
Information on the proposed subdivision, which is still fairly sketchy, suggests access to the new estate will be from Jay Road. The residents say that access into and out of Jay Road is already dangerous enough without adding to the traffic at the intersection with Promontory Road.
“There are more suitable options, such as Boundary Road [up the other end of the development],” said Mr Piasente. As the father of four young children he is particularly loath to see additional traffic in Jay Road, and is very concerned access to the new development will be off Jay Road directly opposite his block.
He and other residents would like to see VicRoads reduce the speed limit on Promontory Road from 100kph in order to make access to and from Jay Road safer. They were disappointed to be advised at the meeting that VicRoads is highly unlikely to create separate access to the new development from Promontory Road, as the roads authority tries to minimise access points to main roads.
The shire officers advised the residents that they were welcome to send in submissions to the planning department, as long as they were received by Council by April 10. Many of the residents said they would be sending submissions.
Bruce Best was one. In his submission he suggested that Boundary Road would be better than Jay Road for vehicle access to the new development and said that simply constructing a shared pathway along Boundary Road – as is proposed – would not achieve the goal of improved access to the town centre, golf course, primary school and main recreation reserve. “A local road with adjoining walking/cycling track would be a far better solution, providing safe and convenient access for all, and in keeping with the idea that housing should be planned for long term sustainability.” He also took issue with the claim that the area was not prone to flooding, saying “Lot 2 has been subject to flooding in past and recent years”.
Drainage, sewerage and damage to the rural outlook are some of the other issues raised by Jay Road residents.
The neighbours of the land under review have been advised that anyone who sends in a submission will be invited to present their views to Council at a public presentation session. Council will endeavour to keep the public informed throughout the planning process.