The City of Ballarat has agreed to seek ministerial planning approval for an amendment to rezone four parcels of rural land east of Ballarat at Woodmans Hill.
Currently zoned Rural Living, the plan will see the former fruit and vegetable farm, bound by Kokoda Street, Brewery Tap Road, Western Highway and Orchard Lane, zoned Mixed Use, which will allow the development of businesses such as 'service stations, convenience restaurants/takeaway food premises, agricultural and machinery display, hire and sales', according to the Woodmans Hill Gateway Master Plan (January 2015).
The Courier understands the rezoning has been sought by Mahar Property Holdings Pty Ltd.
A Planning Special Committee Meeting held on Wednesday night approved the application for rezoning, with the addition of a s.173 agreement to the land's title in order to restrict it being redeveloped for residential use, which is possible but 'not considered appropriate or in keeping with the stated direction of the Woodmans Hill Gateway Master Plan'.
Councillors told The Courier the plan is an important part of redeveloping the main eastern entrance to Ballarat and needs to be considered carefully.
According to council, the plan 'envisions an attractive and distinctive approach to Ballarat along the Western Highway and seeks to reinforce the gateway role of the precinct.
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It intends to facilitate appropriate interfaces between the commercial and rural areas of Woodmans Hill and provide a buffer between the Western Highway and the more sensitive uses in the surroundings.'
Currently there is are two dwellings, shedding and a dam on the site, which covers 11.9 hectares. It was a fruit and vegetable farm from the 1940s until the early 2000s and is currently grazed.
The report stated that 'While the proposed expansion of the (mixed use zone) would result in the removal of land within the (rural living zone), it is considered that such a loss is minor and would not significantly impact the supply of rural residential land within the municipality.
'Furthermore, the subject site has low residential amenity attributes in terms of noise and visual amenity from the adjacent Western Highway and medium to long term impacts as a result of the proposed Western Highway duplication works.'
"No direct or indirect interests need to be declared in relation to the matter of this Report', council officers wrote in the report.
Council will now place the amendment on public exhibition for a minimum of one month.
CORRECTION: This story originally identified Shaun and Alison Mahar as trustees of Mahar Property Holdings Pty Ltd. This was incorrect. the error was made by the journalist. The Courier apologies for any inconvenience caused to Shaun and Alison Mahar.
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