The recent state wide amendments to the General Residential Zone and Neighbourhood Residential Zone via Amendment VC110 included the introduction of a mandatory minimum garden area for lots 400 square metres and above ranging from between 25-35 per cent of the lot area.

The garden area requirement also applies to vacant lot subdivision and additionally requires that lots less than 400 square metres include a garden area comprising at least 25 per cent of the new lot.

The garden area requirement is intended to apply irrespective of whether a planning permit is required, which in our initial view will mean that the requirement would also apply to a building permit application under the Building Regulations.

The zone provisions outline that the garden area must be provided at ground level and the planning scheme defines garden area as follows:

‘An uncovered outdoor area of a dwelling or residential building normally associated with a garden. It includes open entertaining areas, decks, lawns, garden beds, swimming pools, tennis courts and the like. It does not include a driveway, any area set aside for car parking, any building or roofed area and any area that has a dimension of less than 1 metre.’

As outlined previously, this definition is likely to be heavily debated at both council and the VCAT over the ensuing months given the ambiguity of the garden area definition and the absence of any detailed practice note to provide guidance in relation to the underlying intent of the requirement. It is understood that a practice note regarding the garden area will be released in June or July.

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Source: Ratio