A PROPOSAL to rezone one of Dromana’s remaining pockets of bushland close to the town has raised concerns about over development and a lack of town-specific planning for growth.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has advertised the proposed planning amendment C249 to allow a 250-lot subdivision on a bushland triangle of land on the corner of Boundary and Collins roads.

Planning documents reveal the proposal will require vegetation removal on the treed allotment, with the land to be rezoned from low-density residential to neighbourhood residential zone, and the environmental significance overlay to be removed.

Many Dromana residents have warned council will have a fight on its hands to get the amendment approved.

Health worker Karli Smith, who moved to Dromana just over a year ago, was “in shock” that the council would develop land that has overlays after declaring a climate emergency.

“I’m concerned that they’ll just rip up all the vegetation and leave three-quarters of that triangle of bush totally cleared,” she said.b“I really think there will be a backlash against this proposal, we just dealt with the Arthurs Seat [quarry] proposal and we are a pretty active community down here. People want our precious environment protected.”

Dromana Association president Simon Brooks, a former shire councillor, said the group was not necessarily opposed to the proposal but had some concerns about allotment size, planning and infrastructure.

“The Dromana Association will be providing feedback to the proposed planning amendment C249,” he said.

“With limited land available for housing on the southern peninsula we want to ensure any development is complementary to the existing settlement character and proper consideration is given to how it will fit within the township.

“This includes good connectivity to the town centre, impacts on existing roads and clear identification of any gaps in services and community assets such as schools, pathways, open space and sports facilities.

“We will also look at if the shire has adequately encouraged a good outcome in terms of sustainability and creating a resilient and connected community as per key policies, strategies and recognised best practice.”

A combined planning scheme amendment and planning permit application process is proposed for the housing development, which will include a 6.99-hectare conservation area to protect “existing high-value” native vegetation, provide some open space and build associated infrastructure.

But another resident posting on the Dromana community group Facebook page described the development as “Lego land”.

“What a disgrace and purely a money grab,” one said.

Others were sceptical of the plan to allocate $2 million for social housing in the development, given the high price of even small houses in the region and critical of the lack of action on a Dromana development plan.

The shire’s strategic and infrastructure planning manager, Katanya Barlow, said councils were required by the state government to plan for predicted population and housing growth over a 15-year “horizon” in accordance with the forecasts outlined in its Victoria In Future 2019 (VIF2019) statistical report.

The peninsula’s population is predicted to grow to more than 200,000 by 2036, which equates to the need for around 1200 new homes each year.

Ms Barlow said the shire’s housing and settlement strategy provided a sustainable approach to accommodating predicted housing growth while protecting the special values and character of the peninsula.

Data shows there were 825 new lots created from subdivisions in 2018-2019, 547 in 2019-2020 and 740 in 202-2021.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 1 February 2022

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