2004 – Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Neighbourhood Character Survey
The full report is available at Aireys Inlet to Eastern View Neighbourhood Character Study 2004.
This Study encompasses land within the four settlements of Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven, Moggs Creek and Eastern View. It has established that the towns each have a low density character, with a dominance of vegetation over the built environment and informal relationship between private and public realms contributing highly to this character. The Study found that although there are some variations in character across different precincts in the towns, mainly associated with the degree of disturbance to the indigenous vegetation cover, many character elements are common to all of the Study area. Key factors influencing this are:
– A low density of built development, with vegetation around buildings often screening them from the street and adjoining properties. Where there is less vegetation cover, buildings are well separated.
– A lack of solid front and side boundary fencing and lack of definition between boundaries of public and private land.
– A number of unmade gravel roads with informal kerbs and vegetated roadsides. x A low profile building height, with houses generally not exceeding two storeys.
The assessment of community perceptions conducted by Dr Ray Green for the purpose of the Study found that views of natural features such as the ocean, coastline and areas of indigenous bush are highly contributory to the character of the Study area, and that buildings considered incompatible with this character exhibit the following attributes:
– ‘Boxy’ and bulky forms
– Vertical orientation that oppose the dominant lines of the landscape
– Tall buildings
– High walls fronting the street with little surface articulation
– A ‘Hotch-potch’ mix of colours, materials, designs, roof types and window forms
– Large scale of building form relative to the size of the allotment
– Lack of vegetative screening
A vegetation assessment conducted by Mark Trengove confirms that the vegetation cover throughout the Study area is mixed, with some areas of quite intact indigenous vegetation, and areas where the indigenous tree canopy is intact but the understorey vegetation is more disturbed. The central part of Aireys Inlet was found to have the lowest tree canopy cover, with a higher level of exotic species and environmental weeds. A priority identified in the Study is to place emphasis on re-establishing the indigenous vegetation cover in these areas. Changes are also recommended to more effectively protect the habitat of the threatened Rufous Bristlebird.
The Planning Scheme has been reviewed taking into account the findings of the Study, with the following key recommendations that:
– A Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) and a Design and Development Overlay (DDO) replace the Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO) across the study area, to better incorporate changes recommended by the Study.
– A DDO be applied over land zoned ERZ on either side of the Painkalac Creek, including properties on Bimbadeen Drive and Bambra Road, to protect the scenic values of the valley.
– An Environmental Significance Overlay be applied to vegetation across the study area, with different schedules reflecting the conservation significance of the vegetation.
– A permit be required for all buildings and works in central Aireys Inlet – reflecting controls elsewhere in the towns and more effectively controlling building materials and colours, siting and boundary setbacks. Importantly, it would provide an effective means of requiring new landscaping on development sites to increase the vegetation cover.
– The minimum lot size and maximum development density in northern Aireys Inlet and around the Split Point lighthouse be increased from 1:800m2 to 1:1000m2, reflecting the current minimum lot size in Fairhaven and Moggs Creek.
– The maximum permitted site coverage for buildings be reduced from 35% to 30%.
– The maximum permitted hard surface area be reduced from 50% to 40%.
– The maximum permitted building size (ie plot ratio) be reduced from 0.5 to 0.4.
– The principles of ‘Surf Coast Style’ continue to be used to discourage suburban forms of development and bulky buildings with unarticulated blank walls.
– A permit be required for solid side boundary fencing in central Aireys Inlet, with paling fences discouraged in favour of post and wire fences – reflecting provisions in the balance of the settlements.
– The requirement to establish habitation envelopes across the study area be removed.
– The proposed overlay schedules applying across the study area and land surrounding the settlements continue to be reviewed, as part of a wider review of biodiversity protection within the Shire to ensure that the habitat of the Rufous Bristlebird, Merran’s Sun Orchid and other threatened flora and fauna is appropriately protected.
– A Design and Development Overlay be applied to the two commercial centres in Aireys Inlet following finalisation of the ‘Aireys Inlet Urban Design Framework’.
– Priority be given to proactive enforcement of planning provisions.
Other recommendations unrelated to the Planning Scheme include:
- Maintaining an informal appearance of road surfaces and naturestrips in public streets and new subdivisions.
- Educating both existing and new residents of the environmental values of the settlements, environmental weeds, and preferred indigenous planting (ie Surf Coast Shire’s Indigenous Planting Guide, 2003).
- Giving consideration to prohibiting the planting of environmental weeds by way of a local law.
The Surf Coast Planning Scheme, the Victorian Coastal Strategy (2002) and the Great Ocean Road Region Landscape Assessment Study (2003) all state that future residential development on the coast should be focused in growth centres such as Torquay in order to preserve the low density character of the smaller settlements and to reflect the environmental sensitivities of those towns. The outcomes of this Study will implement this strategic direction and strengthen the capacity of planning controls to more appropriately guide development in the Aireys Inlet to Eastern View area.