Bayside Council installs planning zones and protects parkland at Highett CSIRO site
by Jon Andrews
Bayside Leader 28 May 2015
BAYSIDE Council has moved to protect a large parcel of land in Highett from development.
The 9.28ha parcel of Federal Government-owned land, bordered by Graham Rd and Middleton St, is expected to be sold for development by the end of the year.
At its meeting this week, the council installed planning restrictions, including height limits of five storeys in the northern section and four storeys in the middle part of the block.
A 3ha reserve will also be zoned as public conservation to protect rare indigenous trees, known as the Highett Grassy Woodlands, while a 1ha parcel must be used for parks or open space.
Highett Grassy Woodlands campaigner Pauline Reynolds told the meeting the zoning of the land, a former CSIRO site, was another step in the process.
She said it was great the vegetation was protected, and it was now up to the council to make sure only attractive developments were considered for the unique site.
Michael Norris said protecting the trees was the right move, but it should be extended to the rare scrub and bushes that also populated the site.
Cr James Long said it was essential they managed the native vegetation.
“We need to get the balance right between open space, residential amenity and heights … we’ve got to be very careful on how we manage the (planning) process,” he said.
Mayor Felicity Frederico said Highett was crying out for more open parks, and greenery like this was sorely needed.
Goldstein Federal Liberal MP Andrew Robb, a long-time campaigner on the woodlands issue, said he was happy with the “sensible” zoning decisions.
“The zoning is in alignment with the expectations I hold in respect to the future use of this site,” he said.
“In effect, this means that Highett residents are receiving a 43 per cent open space provision on this site.
“I congratulate Bayside Council and the involvement of the wider community in ensuring we deliver the outcome Highett residents want.”
The state Planning Minister will now need to formally approve these planning controls for the site.