Your say…

May 23rd, 2024Your say…

I’m part of the family who owns the farm on East Street, Daylesford (called Mayfield) which is being proposed to be rezoned, and I’m currently living on that farm.

Proposed re-zoning a shock

I’m part of the family who owns the farm on East Street, Daylesford (called Mayfield) which is being proposed to be rezoned, and I’m currently living on that farm.

It was bought by my great-grandfather in 1921 and has been farmed continuously and productively since then (as well as before my family bought the land). My family are proud of having farmed it all this time, and wish to continue doing so.

It was a shock to all of us to discover when the draft plan was released that 14 hectares of our farm (one third of the entire farm) was being proposed to be rezoned into residential. Despite the potential for profit, all of the family are opposed to the proposed rezoning, and have had no part in that proposal.

Although there seems to be a number of inconsistencies and problems in the draft structure plan, I commend the council on the plan overall. It’s been a huge effort by many people to put together, and I think it’s important for the shire to have such a structure plan.

I understand there is pressure from the state government on council to allocate
new housing for growth in the town. However, Daylesford is not an ideal location
for much growth with its geographic constraints, forest to the west, farmland to the
east. Perhaps council needs to push back on the state government’s required growth
obligations for the town?

For whatever growth is necessary, I would argue it should be contained within the existing urban growth boundary, including vacant blocks, in three-storey buildings in parts of the centre of town, on some of the more difficult hilly terrain and in some of the bush-fire prone areas when built to the appropriate bushfire attack level, before developing prime agricultural land.

Our farm is on amongst the best farmland in the entire country, with its rich volcanic soil and good rainfall. It has the potential to feed a good portion of the town if farmed intensively, and offers future food resilience to the community, especially with it being located right beside the town. The whole reason we have farmland zoning is to protect the best farmland.

My principal objection to the proposal is on these grounds. Farmland should be valued more highly in the structure plan assessments and should be amongst our highest priorities to protect.

The council goes on about how important it is to them to protect our farmland, yet this just seems like rhetoric when I see such a proposal in the draft plan. This is our chance to stand up for our farmland! I would urge all the councillors to uphold their purported values, to put their rhetoric into action, and
vote to remove this proposed rezoning of prime agricultural land from the plan.

Of course not everyone will agree on all aspects of the plan, but I believe there is widespread opposition, both in the neighbourhood and the wider community, to the proposed rezoning on East St.

As others have mentioned, it would be good to see the alternative options for growth to the East St rezoning, and perhaps community could vote on the options, or provide their feedback. Considering the alternatives seems especially prudent given that my family do not wish for the land to be developed, and without increased rates pressure forcing our hand, do not intend to sell the land.

A slide from the meeting’s presentation claims that our rates will not increase if our land is rezoned to residential so long as it continues being farmed, but I am quite sceptical of this.

It is contrary to my own prior understanding and to what I’ve heard from several other people, including a former Hepburn Shire mayor.

Surely such a rezoning would increase the property’s valuation and thereby incur higher rates, not to mention land tax and windfall gains tax. What assurance would we have that our rates would not increase with this proposed rezoning?

This is of great concern to my family, as the future of our farm would hinge on it.

From: Farmer Ned Powell, East Street, Daylesford.

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