STANLEY TOWNSHIP ZONING
For the past two years SRCI Executive Committee has been negotiating with Council regarding the zoning of Stanley in relation to the establishment of a permanent post office and general store, to replace those that were closed in 2009/10.
The permits for the old store and post office have an existing title that was established before the current planning regulations were put in place. Any new premises have to be granted a new permit. Therein lies the problem: Stanley is zoned ‘Farming’ under current planning regulations, and this precludes the operation of commercial premises such as a post office and general store. A change to the planning laws with Stanley being re-established as a township seemed like the best outcome.
In 2011 Council agreed that Stanley township should be re-zoned as a ‘Town’, with a new boundary that would replace what was erased when the Farm Zoning was put in place. It seemed like a simple answer to a complex problem. Not so! Stanley plateau is the water catchment area for Yackandandah and Beechworth. Council entered into discussions with Goulburn Murray Water (GMW). GMW decided an assessment and report were required and contracted a consultant to provide the necessary information for consideration.
In recent weeks Councillor Bernie Gaffney advised the following regarding the zoning/catchment issues: that Council was briefed on the consultant’s report into Stanley’s zoning and water catchment issues; a recommendation with a number of alternatives will be discussed at the November meeting of Council; depending on the decision of Council, the recommendation will go out for public consultation and brought back to the March (2014) meeting of Council for ratification. This process has taken so long because of consideration of the water issue.
SRCI understands that in general terms the report is not favourable to establishing a township. This would require new waste water systems. As a consequence Council will need to assess if it wishes to proceed with the rezoning process. It also needs to assess the impact or opportunities offered by the recently adopted changes to Rural Zoning in Victoria, which allows for more development and uses within its framework.
The present site of the post office is licensed under local laws as a roadside facility. It is believed that Council will allow this situation to continue until a permanent home is found for the post office.
The community will get its say at the proposed meeting.Thanks to all those who have contributed to keeping the post office going. Its value as an asset to the community is well and truly established.