Planning pigsty?

No piggery has operated in Monegeetta for 10 years yet locals remain restricted by its planning triggers and are demanding answers.
Neighbours to the former Monegeetta Piggery on Chintin Road are facing unnecessary red tape when seeking to make changes to their properties, which has cost them time and money.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council introduced a Environment Significance Overlay Schedule 2 to protect operation of an intensive agricultural use relating to the piggery in 2000, which remains despite it ceasing operations in 2009.
Hank and Robyn Bruger were forced to face the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a permit to build on their 185-acre farming property opposite to the old piggery to avoid entering into a Section 173 Agreement.
The Brugers took their case to VCAT and won with some critical feedback for the council.
In her ruling in 2017, Senior VCAT member Jeannette Rickards said the overlay was “for all intent meaningless” and “invalid” and “should be deleted”.
“ESO2 refers to a specific piggery which no longer exists. As it no longer exists the intent and purpose of ESO2 has no relevant meaning,” she said.
“If in the future an intensive animal husbandry use is proposed it would need a permit and any owners or future owners of the subject land would have rights to lodge any objections. No existing use rights remain for use of the piggery.
“It is not for council to protect future owners from something that does not exist.”
A January 2017 petition to have the overlay removed held 30 signatures of directly affected residents. Since then the Brugers have written to the council to remind them no action has been taken.
“Our concern is that our voices are not being heard, the overlay is still in place, the overlay increases the cost and time of anything that we want to do in the area and there’s no reason for it,” Mr Bruger said.
“We are happy that we now have our permit but we are not happy about the process that it took to get it.”
Such an overlay could act as a deterrent for prospective property buyers, says John Langdon, Monegeetta resident and former Romsey Shire councillor.
“It’s just another hindrance – why buy that land when you can buy anywhere in Victoria where there isn’t a noxious zone?” he said.
Council’s director of planning and environment Angela Hughes said the Macedon Ranges Planning Scheme Review 2019, adopted by council in February, recommended the removal of the overlay.
“Council’s resolution requires officers to report back to council with an implementation plan as to how officers propose to update the planning scheme in accordance with the recommendations of the review,” she said.
“The implementation plan will need to consider how council deals with this planning control.”

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