Erosion Management Overlay Review

House impacted by erosion

Councillors voted unanimously at the 9 May 2023 meeting to support a Planning Scheme Amendment C217 for the Erosion Management Overlay which, if approved, will result in updated planning controls that meet current Australian guidelines and enable more flexibility when considering planning applications in landslip locations. 

While the State Government is responsible for Overlays as part of the Planning Scheme, it is Council’s responsibility to apply them and ensure they are current. Updating an Overlay requires a Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) process to be undertaken.  

Amendment C217 proposes to amend the current EMO schedule to make it more streamlined and user friendly by simplifying its structure and including new exemptions for more minor proposals. The amendment will also ensure the risk provisions in the schedule are consistent with the guidance provided in the AGS 2007 (Australian Geomechanics Society Practice Note Guidelines for Landslide Risk Management) by accepting ‘moderate’ property risks in particular circumstances.

Currently any planning application for a property that has an EMO has to be risk assessed from a landslip perspective. 

Council currently applies the low/very low threshold for planning applications which means that the level of risk faced by a development is judged the same whether the application be for a hospital, or a shed. The proposed changes include raising that threshold to moderate in particular circumstances, subject to a planning permit.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Councillor Jim Child said the risk aspect of the current EMO impacted some residents when it came to rebuilding after the June 2021 storm. 

"This update to the EMO, which has already been approved in other municipalities by the Department of Planning and Transport recently, will bring us in line with the recommendations from the AGS and if approved will mean that we can assess the level of risk to the property with the type and use of structure being built. 

“We will now ask the State Government if we can proceed with the PSA. Following that we will write to all residents who currently have an EMO on their property with details about how to make a submission on the amendment proposal.

“Council will also hold some webinars to assist impacted residents understand what this process is, what it means to them and how to make a submission if they wish to do so. 

“We hope that if approved, this PSA will help our storm-affected community to build back better," said Cr Child.

The funding to undertake the review came from the Federal Government’s Preparing Australia Communities.

Links to Council reports:

Council Report 9 May 2023(PDF, 216KB)
Attachment 1 Current Clause 44.01 Erosion Management Overlay(PDF, 174KB)
Attachment 2 - Current Schedule 1 to Clause 44.01 Erosion Management Overlay(PDF, 132KB)
Attachment 3 - Draft Explanatory Report - Amendment C217(PDF, 158KB)
Attachment 4 Draft Schedule 1 to the EMO (showing proposed EMO1)(PDF, 202KB)
Attachment 5 - Proposed Incorporated Document to the EMO(PDF, 255KB)

What is an Erosion Management Overlay?

All land has some form of planning controls and the steep slopes that some properties are on in the Yarra Ranges means that there is a risk of landslip – which is why an Erosion Management Overlay (EMO) is used – like many other areas in Victoria.   

Overlays are part of the Victorian Planning Scheme and Yarra Ranges Council is responsible for applying it to some properties within our municipality.   

Properties with an Erosion Management Overlay need to have a Geotechnical Assessment undertaken if development or earthworks are undertaken.  


What is a planning scheme amendment?

A Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) is when changes are proposed to the policies or provisions in a Planning Scheme.   

This is a formal process and Council must seek permission from the state government at various stages to make those changes and for final approval.   

The community will be informed about the amendment and given the opportunity to make a submission.  

When the process is complete the Planning Scheme will be amended.   


What is Amendment C217 to the Planning Scheme?

Council is asking the State Government if we can amend the Erosion Management Overlay within our municipality.   

We are proposing to update the existing schedule to the Erosion Management Overlay to simplify its structure, include new exemptions for minor buildings and works and vegetation removal, include separate requirements for subdivision applications and amend the tolerable risk criteria from Low to Medium in particular circumstances.   


How do I know if I will be impacted?

Council will write to all residents/property owners that have an Erosion Management Overlay applied to their property. 

This letter will include the dates when the consultation period will be open and when it will close. 

You can make a submission for or against the PSA within the consultation dates.