A passionate plea from a Whorouly property owner has convinced Wangaratta councillors to go against the recommendation of council officers and subdivide his farm property.
The Carboor-Whorouly Road farm owned by Donald Matheson has been in his family for 100 years and now he wants to implement succession planning, to pass on the property to children.
To do that, he wants to subdivide the 83.96-hectare property into two lots.
Council staff made the recommendation to refuse his application based on the planning policy, which looks to protect agricultural land from development, but Mr Matheson said he was "not in it for a quick buck".
"This is so my children can take over the land," he said at Tuesday night's meeting.
"You feel like you belong to the land and the people."
Councillors voted to allow the property to be subdivided, with the condition it only be into two lots and there are no further subdivisions into smaller lots.
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Mr Matheson said the King Valley's population had dropped by 1000 since Rural City of Wangaratta was established in 1994 and, at a time when older farmers are experiencing mental health troubles, it was important to keep the next generation on farms.
"We see farmers grow old and ineffective," he said.
"We need young families coming onto business otherwise we're just going to be a retirement village out there."
Deputy mayor Mark Currie voted against the subdivision, along with Cr Ken Clarke, saying he did not want to set a precedent for other farms and the Matheson family could have built multiple houses on the property without officially splitting up the title.
"What I'm seeing is that we're going to go against the rules," he said.
But mayor Dean Rees supported the move, agreeing that succession planning should be taken into consideration for other families who want to subdivide farms to keep them in the family.
"We need to be more versatile and believe what is good for our area, not from out of Spring Street," he said.
"There's a lot of mongrel blocks around you can't do anything with, but productivity and building a community is a great farming asset."