Ballarat councillors took another step towards revitalising the eastern entrance to the city, adopting a planning scheme amendment to rezone a parcel of land on the Western Highway to make way for future commercial development.
The land, located in Brown Hill on the northern side of the freeway between Brewery Tap Road and Orchard Lane, is currently zoned for rural living and includes four separate properties with a total area of 11.9 hectares.
The land was identified as a 'potential future development site' in the 2015 Woodmans Hill Gateway Precinct Master Plan as being appropriate for high-quality development that could 'capture significant economic activity that would otherwise not contribute to the Ballarat economy'.
The master plan encourages uses to capture economic activity such as a service station with an adjoining takeaway food premises.
According the master plan, VicRoads has a long term plan in place to upgrade that section of the highway to freeway status with road widenings, on and off ramps and flyover works.
Council's decision comes after the amendment was open to public submissions in July. Out of 17 submissions, only one objection was received from a neighbouring landowner, which was later resolved and withdrawn.
With the planning scheme amendment adopted by council, it will now be submitted to the Minister for Planning for final approval.
Mike Kaufmann, of Kaufmann Property Consultants which requested the amendment, presented to council regarding the matter.
"The amendment on the Western Highway at Warrenheip will provide opportunities for employment to Ballarat, but also in particular, Ballarat East which is good to see in these times where jobs are important," he said.
South ward councillor Ben Taylor said the rezoning had been a long-term issue for council.
"I remember, about 13 years ago, this item came forward as a recommendation as part of work around Woodmans Hill and looking at this piece of land. It's been a really long time, the work's been done, it's been out to community and now it's the next step to go to the planning scheme amendment," he said.
"I think it makes sense to do it, it fits in and has a great opportunity for Ballarat East and the entrance to the city and also industry and jobs. It makes sense and now we put it to the Minister to make those decisions."
Central ward councillor Samantha McIntosh said it was time council took an important step forward for the entrance to the city.
"We need to know that we protect the right feel for Ballarat, the right entry for Ballarat, but we need to be in a position where we can allow things to move forward and this gives us that step," she said.
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