Yes and no in farm zone

Building on land under 40 hectares in the Farming Zone remains a sore point in Macedon Ranges. Photo: Journey By Light Photography

Building on land under 40 hectares in the Farming Zone remains a sore point in Macedon Ranges. Photo: Journey By Light Photography

Building on land under 40 hectares in the Farming Zone remains a sore point in Macedon Ranges as cases continue to emerge with differing and unlikely results.

This month, two council rejections for permits were appealed at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, resulting in approval for construction of a dwelling at a Carlsruhe property under 3ha but not for a 28ha Chintin property.

The Pultney Street site's lack of suitability for farming, separation from agricultural land and potential to expand the Cobaw Biolink weighed heavily in the decision to give it the green light.

The council said the site was outside the Cobaw Biolink region, and maintained that allowing a dwelling in the Farming Zone would prejudice current and future agricultural activities.

Town planner Lester Trickey argued that the aim was to expand the Cobaw Biolink which was in accordance with the council's policy to establish a coordinated network of biolinks.

It was also heard that the property had limited capacity for farming with regular flooding and due its separation from farming land to the north by two road reserves. It is also close to rural residential lots.

The property has no physical abuttal to any actively farmed land and cannot be incorporated into the adjacent land used for farming purposes.

The VCAT member believed a decision to allow a dwelling on the site would "not set a precedent for similar applications in the future".

It was a different story for a 28ha property at 3009 Romsey Road, Chintin, where it was ruled that the proposed dwelling was not necessary to protect productive agricultural land.

Property owner Serifali Seyit has been a primary producer for more than 18 years but his farm plan and vision for his property failed to convince that a dwelling was required for his proposed business.

Mr Seyit submitted the property was capable of sustaining 200 boer goats which require full-time care for daily feed, protection from predators, response to weather conditions, and birthing management.

VCAT member Tracy Watson said the planning scheme was heavily weighted against the loss of productive agricultural land and only supported construction in limited circumstances.

"The farm management plan fails to demonstrate the need for a dwelling as an ancillary component to the productive agricultural use…I was also unconvinced that a dwelling is necessary to support the proposed goat business," she said.

In handing down her judgement, Ms Watson referred to three other similar Macedon Ranges VCAT decisions that supported her conclusion including a 2012 case on the outskirts of Kyneton that proposed a dwelling to assist with breeding angus cattle.

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