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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Planning scheme overhaul

This was an RMIT hard news assignment completed in my first-year studying a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism),

Ararat Rural City Council proposed changes to its planning scheme at a meeting last night, to fix historic red tape halting Ararat’s development.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said there needs to be a clear model that promotes “thriving” development moving forward.

“We need to provide people with real clarity on what they can use their land for, and ensure overlays are current and necessary.”

Council reviewed the scheme as required within 12 months of adopting its new Council plan.

The review found there are insufficient housing choices in the Ararat area and historic zoning issues preventing development across residential and industrial sectors.

Dr Harrison said overlays need to be clarified if Council is to achieve its “ambitious targets” of 600 residential lots and 300 residential properties developed in the next four years.

“We want to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape,” he said.

Greater Ararat Business Network treasurer Maria Whitford said it is refreshing to see Ararat Rural City Council taking steps to ensure Ararat continues to be a viable town.

“It will only take one big investor to come and build here and then the rest will follow,” she said.

“Expanding our thinking beyond what we believe is capable will be rewarded in a thriving town.”

The planning scheme review has been published online and Council is seeking feedback to help guide its amendments.

Mayor Jo Armstrong said councillors will welcome community evaluation of content, assessment of the clarity of communication through to future needs and wants.

“The consultation process is a chance for residents to have their say and ensure we have captured what is important to them,” she said

“It is time that Ararat Rural City has a planning scheme that is effective, efficient, and continues to support our region’s growth.”

Feedback can be provided via the Engage Ararat portal.

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