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Latest News

While State Government has requested Council provide a Structure Plan by 2013 it is completely up to local Councils to set the height of the buildings, the setbacks and the boundary of the Activity Centre.

There is nothing to suggest that buildings need to be 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 storeys high.

The Baillieu Government has stated that "Labor’s Melbourne 2030 – its one size fits all metropolitan planning policy – has failed. It has failed to achieve its targets, it has divided communities and it has seen a wrecking ball approach to planning become the dominant culture within government."

In fact the Baillieu Government changed the planning act to remove the requirement to allow for high rise, high density development along every tram, train, bus or light rail corridor.

High density does not mean high rise and the Baillieu government has said it will protect suburbs from high rise. It's urban renewal strategy is focusing on transitioning industrial land like Fishermans Bend and E-Gate for high density / higher levels of development.

So what have other Councils done regarding heights and setbacks in their structure plans?

Here are 9 examples. The heights and setbacks are varied and take into account local heritage and urban character.

1. Sandringham

2. Bay St Brighton

3. Church St Brighton

4. Hampton


  • Low rise buildings which preserve our local heritage and urban character
  • The proposed building heights will ensure that the low scale and heritage character of the commercial centre is maintained by matching the heights of existing two storey Victorian/Edwardian shopfronts at the street frontage where applicable
  • The heritage character of Sandringham’s two storey shopfronts will remain, with modern three storey buildings matching the height.


  • Retail: New buildings match the height of existing two storey buildings (mandatory limit of 10.5m – 3 storeys modern equivalent) at the street frontage.
  • Retail: Allow additional storeys to be added to existing single storey buildings provided they meet the height and setback requirements for these areas.
  • New buildings in ‘Surrounding Residential Areas’ areas: up to 7.5 metres wall height and up to 9 metres overall height (mandatory limits); up to 8.5 metres wall height and up to 10 metres overall height where the slope of the natural ground level at any cross section of the site of the building wider than 8 metres is 2.5 degrees or more (mandatory limits).


  • In the Residential Areas, maintain the current front, side and rear setback provisions contained in the Bayside Planning Scheme.
  • Rear setback in mixed areas, where a residential property adjoins: ground level: 3m from residential title; second storey: 5m from residential title; third storey: 10m from residential title.
  • Ensure that new buildings in commercial areas do not significantly overlook the private open space and habitable room windows of adjoining residential properties.
  • Locate uses that may generate noise away from adjacent residential development.

5. Eltham

The Eltham Activity Centre Zone is split up into a number of distinct precincts. These precincts include commercial, retail and some higher density housing. General height and set-back guidelines for the Eltham Activity Centre Zone are as follows:

  • Preferred Height: 10.5 metres, maximum height 13.5 metres.
  • Setbacks: 3rd storey - 3 metres, 4th storey a further 5 metres back from the 3rd storey

The buildings must be designed to preserve views from ajoining residential properties to the treed hilltops

6. Diamond Creek

Housing opportunities

  • Higher density housing can and should occur throughout the residential area of Diamond Creek within walking distance of the activity centre (approximately 400 metres) but must be planned and designed to achieve the preferred future character

Higher density housing – what does it mean?

  • Higher density housing in this plan means redevelopment or new development which increases the relative density. It does not mean high density housing or any particular density. Typically in Diamond Creek this will mean replacing a single dwelling on a lot with two or three dwellings on the same lot – doubling or trebling the density. Redevelopment is likely to be scattered but may be more intense where the opportunities are best.
  • The relative change in density for Diamond Creek as a whole, and the study area in particular, involves changing from one house on lots between 600 and 900 square metres to a multi-dwelling redevelopment of one or more existing lots with each new dwelling on a 250 to 300 or 400 square metre lot. Achieving higher densities will depend on meeting environmental and character objectives.

Heights & Setbacks

  • Retail: Rear setback where a residential property adjoins: ground level: 3m from residential title; second storey: 5m from residential title; third storey: 10m from residential title.
  • For Retail new buildings should extend up to two storeys (7.5m) at the street frontage and can include a third storey (up to 10m) provided it is recessed from the front street boundary by at least 3 metres.
  • For mixed development backing on to residential new buildings should extend up to two storeys (7.5m) at the street frontage and can include a third storey (up to 9m) provided it is recessed from the building frontage by at least 3 metres and setback 10 metres from the rear boundary where this is residential.

7. Cheltenham

Retail Core

  • Maximum 4 storeys with levels beyond a robust 2 storey commercial edge to the street to be setback a minimum of 5 metres. Additional 3 metre setback to levels beyond 2nd storey taken from ground floor setback rear lanes.

Mixed Use

  • Encourage secondary retail and commercial uses at ground floor with residential uses in upper storeys.
  • Maximum 4 storeys north of railway line stepping down to 3 storeys adjoining residential areas.
  • Maximum 3 storeys south of the railway line.
  • Provide a robust 3 storey hard edge to Nepean Highway with setback to 4th storey.
  • Extend the 2 storey commercial hard edge throughout this precinct ensuring that levels above are setback 5 metres

Increased Residential

  • On sites of 1,000sqm or less and with a frontage of 30 metres or less buildings and works should not exceed a maximum 2 storeys and development should be limited to additions to existing detached dwellings.
  • On sites (comprising one or more lots) of greater than 1,000sqm and with a frontage of greater than 30 metres buildings and works cannot exceed a maximum height of 3 storeys. Development should provide a mix of dwelling options in an apartment format rather than villa units or townhouses.
  • Development must be setback a minimum of 5 metres from the front property boundary which should be landscaped.
  • All habitable room windows and balconies of development above ground level must be setback 4.5 metres from side or rear boundaries.
  • Car parking spaces be provided optimally in basements rather than at ground level, accessed via a single entry onto the site, in order to maximize the opportunity to use ground level areas for landscaping, and open space.

8. Lilydale

Town Centre

  • Limit the height of new development within the precinct to a maximum of three storeys and retain solar access to public spaces.

Mixed Use

  • Encourage multi level development to a maximum of four storeys on sites that have been consolidated into parcels of at least 2000 square metres. Current scale and setback of buildings from the street is maintained.
  • New development is not more than two storeys in height except for properties in Chapel Street opposite the northern side of Melba Park which may be developed up to three storeys on consolidated lots.
  • Ensure that any new development within the ‘Area’ subdivision (Belle Vue & Mont Vue) is designed to: Not exceed two storeys in height


  • Encourage multi level development up to two storeys on sites throughout the precinct · Provide for residential development in buildings of up to three storeys on sites that have been assembled through the consolidation of lots.
  • Ensure that redevelopment on sites fronting Victoria Road and Beresford Road does not exceed two storeys and is of a scale that is compatible with the streetscape character of residential areas located on the opposite side of the road beyond the designated Activity Centre
  • Limit the height of new developments to a maximum of two storeys to minimise the impact of new development of key vistas into and through the activity centre from the east.

9. Croydon

  • Establish a maximum building height of four storeys above natural ground level for the Town Centre. Within the retail areas of Main Street and the Arndale Centre, encourage upward additions to buildings or new buildings that are two-three storeys at the street frontage (with a fourth storey possible along Main Street if set back from street frontages and largely concealed from view), to make more efficient use of available land and create a stronger definition to these spaces.
  • Encourage mixed use or residential development on sites adjacent to the large open space areas of up to three storeys at the street frontage, with a fourth storey set back and largely concealed from view from the street.
  • Encourage mixed use development of three storeys (with a possible fourth storey if set back and largely concealed from view from the street) in the industrial/commercial area around Lacey Street.
  • Encourage new residential development on the old tile factory site in Lusher Road of two-three storey.
  • Retain the key open views to the Dandenong Ranges and Wicklow Ridgeline from Croydon Park and Town Park by ensuring that development adjoining or opposite these spaces does not exceed 2-3 storeys at the frontage.


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