Minister to introduce Wildfire Management Overlay in Alpine Shire

Hundreds of land owners in the Alpine Shire will need to apply for a planning permit to build on their property after Council received advice that the Minister for Planning is introducing a Wildfire Management Overlay throughout the Shire.

Council's Manager Planning and Environment, Heather Green said the overlay regulates development not use of the land.

"Council had previously raised issues and been working with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) for a number of years to put a Wildfire Management Overlay in place in parts of the Shire. However, now the Minister is by-passing the normal amendment process and has advised that the overlay will be introduced," Ms Green said.

"We have seen the maps and the overlay affects the whole of Bright and Harrietville, most of Wandiligong, and parts of Porepunkah, Myrtleford, Mount Beauty, Tawonga and Tawonga South. Some parts of villages are included and others aren't. It's not a blanket overlay so the only way to check if your property is affected is to look on the online map," Ms Green said.

"This will mean more planning applications are received by Council which will mean processing times for applications will increase. Council will now consider how it can best plan for this increase," she said.

The community, including owners and Council will have the opportunity to make an objection, or support the Wildfire Management Overlay, to a committee set up by the Minister. This committee will have the power to recommend amendments to the overlay.

"We understand there is no time limit on when these objections can be made," Ms Green said.

More information on objections is available here.

Ms Green said the overlay aims to ensure that developments likely to increase the number of people in the area meet fire protection objectives and do not significantly increase the threat to life and property from wildfire.

"This is one of 26 to be introduced by the Minister in Victoria. The requirements will consider location, vegetation, fire suppression and access for emergency vehicles," Ms Green said.

"The overlay will mean many more developments will require planning approval, including new houses and major extensions to houses and commercial development. These applications will have to be referred to the CFA for consideration," she said.

The Department of Planning and Community Development has set up an online map which shows the affected properties in each area. The maps can be found here.
Residents can see if the overlay covers their property by obtaining a free property report here.

Council has not yet received the mapping information from the Department but once it does, will make it available to interested property owners.

For more information contact the Department of Planning and Community Development on 1300 366 356 or Council.

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