The Minister for Planning has approved Amendment VC152 introducing a more streamlined and consistent approach to facilitate the development of residential aged care (RAC) facilities.
Victoria needs more RAC facilities to meet existing and future demand from an ageing population. Supporting RAC facilities within existing residential areas will allow older people to live in appropriate housing and remain in their local community.
More information about ageing trends in Victoria:
The RAC facility reforms support key policy outlined in Homes for Victorians and Plan Melbourne 2017-2050.
New Residential Aged Care Facility provision
Amendment VC152 introduced a new Particular Provision at Clause 53.17 of the Victoria Planning Provisions (VPP) and all planning schemes.
Clause 53.17 streamlines the assessment of RAC facilities by using a number of tailored development standards and requirements to ensure appropriate, high quality, built form outcomes occur.
Previously, RAC facilities were assessed as standard residential buildings.
The new provision focuses on the following assessment requirements:
- How a development impacts on its adjoining neighbours (for example, overshadowing, overlooking).
- How a development interacts with the immediate streetscape (for example, front, side and rear setbacks).
- Caps building height at a maximum of 16 metres in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, General Residential Zone and Township Zone to support a reasonably sized RAC facility that contains an appropriate number of beds.
- Ensures that a minimum number of car spaces (0.3 to each room) is provided.
- Addresses other issues such as site access, building footprint coverage and communal open space.
View the new planning control and amendment documentation:
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Frequently asked questions
Why was the project undertaken?
Victoria’s primary policy objective is to ensure that access to RAC services is available for all those who need them within the communities in which they live. By 2051 it is estimated that 27% of all Victorians will be older than 60. The middle and outer suburban areas of metropolitan Melbourne will experience the largest proportion of this projected change.
The control also responds to a series of recommendations outlined in the Managing Residential Development Advisory Committee – Residential Zones Review Report which identified the need for residential zones to provide greater support and flexibility for the development of RAC facilities within existing residential areas consistent with long standing state planning policy.
What is the policy context?
There are three key policy areas that support the new control:
1. Homes for Victorians (March 2017), aims to provide certainty in planning and housing supply and coordinate issues of housing affordability, access and choice.
2. Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 focuses on the need to streamline approvals processes for specific housing types, including aged care, to ensure future community needs are met.
3. Clause 16 Housing of the State Planning Policy Framework sets out a range of policies aimed at achieving housing affordability and facilitating the development of RAC facilities.
Why was there a need for change in the planning system?
Currently RAC facilities are assessed as a standard residential building which limits appropriate assessment, resulting in delays and costs.
This is largely due to RAC facilities having a unique built form that has not been recognised in the planning system with specific development controls to support appropriate outcomes. This has created uncertainty limiting potential for appropriate RAC facility development.
The new control provides for appropriate assessment of the built form impacts of a RAC facility within residential areas, particularly within the inner and middle suburbs of Melbourne.
What form is the new planning control in?
The new control is in the form of a new Particular Provision found at Clause 53.17 of the Victoria Planning Provisions(VPP). The control is a state provision meaning that it applies in every planning scheme in the State.
A ‘Residential aged care facility’ is defined at Clause 73 of the VPP. A RAC facility remains a section 1 use (no permit required) within all residential zones. The new control requires a permit only for the development aspects related to a RAC facility.
What does the new planning control do?
The provision applies to the development of land for a RAC facility within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ), General Residential Zone (GRZ), Residential Growth Zone (RGZ), Mixed Use Zone (MUZ), and Township Zone (TZ).
The control overrides other development controls found in a planning scheme to provide consistency and certainty. An application will be required to meet a range of standards and requirements to the satisfaction of a responsible authority (council). These include:
- a maximum building height within the NRZ, GRZ and TZ of 16 metres. A discretionary height limit of 16 metres applies within the MUZ and RGZ
- car parking to be provided at 0.3 car spaces to each lodging room
- site area coverage capped at 80 per cent of the site area
- meet the following standards similar to those found at Clause 55 of the VPP:
- Street, side and rear setbacks (excludes a porte cochere)
- Walls on boundaries
- Daylight to existing windows
- North facing windows
- Overshadowing of private open space
- Noise impacts
- Daylight to new windows
- landscaping, site access, building entry and communal open space requirements.
How have the planning requirements been determined?
The new control was developed in three stages:
1.Scoping and draft control development (Sept – December 2017)
2.Public consultation and analysis (December 2017 – February 2018)
3.Final control development (February – July 2018)
A project working group (PWG) guided the process, providing technical input and advice throughout the process. The PWG consisted of range of councils, the RAC industry and state government departments.
Broad consultation was undertaken over an eight-week period on a draft Particular Provision planning control between December 2017 and February 2018. A total of 51 submissions where received from a range of peak bodies, industry associations, local governments, and community groups.
What was the scope of the project?
The scope of the reform process as part of this project was limited to technical design elements of the built form of an RAC development. This includes features such as building height, setback and landscaping. Post construction operations and related medical or care related issues were not part of the scope of the project.