Big growth zone for Leneva, Baranduda

WODONGA Council will develop an urban growth zone to allow for the building of 14,000 homes in Leneva and Baranduda to house 35,000 people.

The council yesterday voted unanimously to create the zone and will now ask Planning Minister Matthew Guy to amend the Wodonga Planning Scheme to allow it to progress the project.

The Melbourne-based Metropolitan Planning Authority is expected to take between 12 and 18 months to plan the zone after the amendment is approved.

The urban growth zone covers 500 hectares of land zoned as farming and a rural living zone of about 94 hectares.

“These precinct boundaries provide a logical spine in the form of Baranduda Boulevard, which already has services located along its alignment,” planning and infrastructure director Leon Schultz said in a report to the council.

While councillors supported the move, most said it was vital the city did not lose control over the planning process.

Mayor Rod Wangman said he understood their concern and “I’ll do every­thing I can do to ensure we are in control”.

He said that included making sure experts from the planning authority came to the area to confirm their appreciation of the city’s vision.

The planning period will include consultation with landholders.

Last November, the state government announced it would give the council $250,000 towards more planning for the growth corridor.

The council yesterday revealed it was yet to see this money.

Cr Mike Fraser said there was an argument for the council to be pushing to have the project planning done first “and then sign”.

Cr Fraser said it was the only hesitation he had in moving the recommendation.

The report described several benefits of applying an urban growth zone over the land.

These included managing the transition from non-urban to urban land, encouraging the development of well-planned communities “and developing a holistic development contribution plan”.

Mr Schultz said that would ensure an equitable cost sharing of essential infrastructure across growth area landowners.

Cr Mark Byatt said he did not think there was any doubt councillors supported what was trying to be achieved.