Latrobe City Council heard from 20 speakers at a special meeting on Monday night to receive public submissions on the single largest planning revision undertaken by a Gippsland council in terms of scope of land affected.
The amendments to the Latrobe Planning Scheme involve widespread rethinking of land use strategies in what a council report described as a deliberate and controversial intervention "in the present trajectory of growth and development of Latrobe City".
The amendment comprises a number of zoning and overlay changes in three key areas including housing, industry and employment, and rural land use, affecting most areas of the municipality.
Council said the changes were designed to secure long-term job creation and industry diversification amidst the region's "rapidly changing economic landscape".
The proposed amendments were open for public exhibition between March 22 and May 11 and council received 157 written responses.
In a report prepared for Monday's special meeting, council acknowledged "elements of the amendment are controversial and [are] likely to affect members of the community in different ways".
An independent planning panel will compile a report alongside council's recommendations to reduce the risk of potential or perceived conflicts of interest from staff or councillors due to the extensive proposed changes across the municipality.
During the exhibition period, council distributed 12,040 direct notices to owners and occupiers of properties considered to be most impacted by the changes, and held 11 all-day information sessions.
Among the 157 written responses, council received submissions from Federation University, the Environment Protection Authority, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Baw Baw Shire Council, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Energy Australia, the Country Fire Authority, Victorian Farmers Federation, a number of community members and residents, and many more.
Latrobe City Council chief executive Gary Van Driel said council heard speakers who were supportive of the amendment at the special meeting and speakers who objected to the proposals.
"A number of residents were concerned about proposed changes to the rezoning of land in some areas from rural living to farming zone and the potential impact this might have on property values," he said.
"As the Live Work Latrobe project has significant potential impacts on the way our community lives, where we build in future and how we attract investment to our region over the next 20 years or so, council has decided that it needs more time to consider the report and further reflect on the community's feedback, support and concerns."
A second special council meeting will be held on July 30 to consider postponing the requirement for the formal resolution to be made at the August council meeting, which will allow a longer period to reflect on submissions.
For more information about the proposed changes or to review the report, visit latrobe.vic.gov.au/Building_and_Planning/Development/Planning_Scheme_Amendments/Current_Planning_Scheme_Amendments/Amendment_C105_-_Live_Work_Latrobe.