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Residential Development in Coastal Villages Policy

Version 1.2

1. Introduction

Council is concerned that the standard of some housing and site development in Blind Bight and to a lesser extent, Warneet and Cannons Creek, is detracting from the unique attractive character of those coastal villages.

2. Natural Values

Over the last decade a considerable number of scientific and technical investigations have highlighted the significance of natural areas within Western Port and its catchment, including vegetated areas around Rutherford Inlet and Blind Bight.

Such areas contain an interesting range of vegetation types, provide a habitat for various native animals, are important nursery areas for marine life, including fishes and provides important feeding areas for migrating water birds. Natural vegetation also makes an important contribution to the scenic quality of the coastal villages.

3. Town Planning Controls

In preparing a planning scheme for the Western Port region, Council has sought to protect such natural values and enhance the unique character of the Coastal Villages. The provisions of the scheme were drafted having regard to the intent of the zones as set out below.

Coastal Village 1 Zone (Blind Bight)

“To provide a zone in newly developing coastal recreation centres which are fully serviced and where tight planning controls are required to maintain the amenity of the area and to ensure that development is in harmony with the sensitive environment along the north arm of Western Port”.

Coastal Village 2 Zone (Warneet, Cannons Creek)

“To maintain and ensure the functional and aesthetic arrangement of the medium density coastal villages, to preserve their quiet hamlet character and the integrity of the natural coastal systems”.

The coastal village zones are special residential zones where emphasis is placed on development which is sympathetic to and enhances the vegetated undulating environment which prevails in these areas.

For this reason the planning controls applied in the coastal villages are additional to and different from those which are applied in conventional suburban situations.

More specifically, a planning permit is required for any buildings and works and to clear vegetation. The Planning Scheme also enables Council to exercise control over the colour and nature of external finishes, the general appearance and siting of buildings and works.

Further, building setbacks and the minimum lot size for new subdivisions is larger than in conventional residential areas. Opportunities for commercial and higher density residential development are quite limited.

4. Aim of the Policy

The aim of this policy is to achieve higher standards of housing and site development which will contribute to an improved residential environment. This can be achieved by Council exercising control over the character and siting of buildings and works, the clearing of natural vegetation and where necessary, by requiring that cleared areas be revegetated with appropriate native plant species.

5. Policy Guidelines

All applications will be assessed in relation to the guidelines set out below:


  • In general terms the location and character of all buildings and works should harmonise rather than contrast with the existing and planned character of the area.

Colour and Nature of Cladding Materials

  • The use of cladding materials with textures and colours that relate to and harmonise with the natural environment will be encouraged. Such materials include treated timber, light coloured tumbled bricks, etc.
  • The exterior colour and texture of buildings should not have an adverse visual effect on the surroundings. Natural muted colours and finishes will be encouraged in preference to bright reflective finishes e.g. high glazed roofing tiles, etc.
  • Where possible, outbuildings and additions should be visually integrated with or relate to the style of the dwelling and cladding materials should be of a similar character and/or colour to those used on the dwelling.

Two Storey Developments

Council may favourably consider new two storey developments where:

  • Topography enables split floor levels to be used to advantage or where topography is not an issue, the total height of the development does not exceed 7.5 metres (when measured above the natural surface level).
  • Two storey development is consistent with the attic style building form detailed as part of this policy. Second storey balconies or balconettes will not be allowed. For the purposes of this policy, an attic style building will be deemed to consist of a two storey dwelling with a gabled roof, the bulk of such roof commencing no more than 1 metre above the ceiling height of the lower storey (see attached plan).
  • This form of two storey development is preferred because it has considerably less building mass associated with it than conventional two storey residential development and is more akin to a single storey residence.
  • The building would not be unduly obtrusive when viewed from Westernport Bay.
  • The applicants prepare a detailed landscaping plan which demonstrates the ability to soften or otherwise screen the building (as appropriate).

In addition to the above, Council may favourably consider two storey extensions to existing modern-style residences where:

  • The proposed buildings constitute mezzanine or attic style additions (i.e. not two storey “block” or “stilt” homes);
  • The pitch of the roof extensions generally matches the pitch of the roof on the existing dwelling;
  • The architectural design seeks to limit overall building bulk;
  • The floor area of the second storey addition is generally less than 50% of the floor area of the existing single storey dwelling (excluding carports, garages, verandahs, etc);
  • The overall building height does not exceed 7.5 m above the natural surface level;
  • It is generally impracticable to facilitate the extensions on the ground level; and,
  • The buildings would not be unduly obtrusive when viewed from Western Port Bay.

Construction Methods

  • On sloping ground the use of stump footings will be encouraged in preference to slab type construction which necessitates extensive and expensive cut and fill.
  • Where stumps are used the underside of the house should be enclosed to make it more safe in the event of bushfire.


  • Hard paved areas should be kept to a minimum and the use of gravel, crushed rock, bitumen, etc., will be encouraged in preference to stark white concrete.


  • Fences should be designed to harmonise the natural surroundings e.g. brush or wire fences are less obtrusive than conventional vertical paling or asbestos cement fences.


  • Except where alternative setbacks would result in a more appropriate development of the site, all buildings should be set back a minimum of 10 m from the frontage in Cannons Creek, Warneet and a minimum of 6 m from the frontage in Blind Bight. Side and rear boundary setbacks should be 3 m in the former areas and 2 m in the latter area.
  • Single storey dwellings within the second stage of the “Gentle Annie Estate” should be sited consistent with the above, or with minimum building setbacks as follows:
    • - 4m from a site frontage; and,
    • - 1m from all other boundaries (with the exception of garages and carports that may be constructed on boundaries),
    • subject to the objectives of the policy being satisfied.


  • Wherever possible, existing native vegetation should be retained and utilised to protect the dwelling from prevailing windows and hot sun and to provide privacy and a pleasant setting for the dwelling.
  • Construction works should be confined to the minimum area possible and vegetation to be retained should be protected during the construction period.


  • The dominant plant species used in any landscaping or re-planting should be indigenous to Australia and preferably indigenous to the area. (A list of native plants suitable for most conditions is available from the Municipal Offices).

Site Treatment

  • Topsoil resulting from any excavation should be stockpiled and re-spread on any bare areas as soon as possible to encourage regeneration of native plants.

Site and Orientation

  • Dwellings should be sited slightly below the crest of hills to avoid strong prevailing winds and to avoid the adverse effect of a hilltop location. A dwelling sited below a hill crest is also safer in the event of bushfire.
  • Where possible, dwellings should be oriented with the long axis east west and so that living rooms face north. West facing walls should have few windows and north facing windows should be protected externally from the hot summer sun. Such orientation should improve interior comfort and reduce energy consumption.
  • Dwellings should also be oriented and designed to allow cross ventilation and to take advantage of cooling summer breezes.

NOTE: Each application will be dealt with on its merits and a proposal which does not comply with the individual requirements of the policy but which accords with development on that property or adjoining land may be favourably considered.

6. Submission of Applications

A Planning Permit is required to erect any building or to clear vegetation in the Coastal Villages of Warneet, Blind Bight and Cannons Creek. (A permit is not required to clear vegetation within 3 m of a dwelling).

It should be noted that Council will take legal action against persons who clear vegetation without a Planning Permit.

The following information should be submitted in support of any application to erect a dwelling in the Coastal Village areas:

  • (a) An application on the prescribed form completed in every detail. Applications can be made by a prospective purchaser, but the owner must sign the application form.
  • (b) Three copies of a site plan properly drawn to a scale of at least 1:100 and showing: Residential Development in the Coastal Villages Page 5
    • (i) The location of all existing and proposed buildings in relation to property boundaries.
    • (ii) The location and proposed materials of fences and driveways.
    • (iii) The location of existing vegetation, indicating areas to be cleared as well as vegetation to be retained.
    • (iv) A generalised landscaping plan showing details such as areas to be grassed, areas to be re-planted with trees and shrubs, paving materials etc. (A sample site plan indicating the standard of presentation and level of detail required is attached.)
  • (c) Three copies of side and front elevations of any dwelling showing nature and colour of all external cladding materials including roof, walls, spouting, fascias, window frames etc. (The colour and nature of cladding materials should be described in simple terms such as light brown bricks, olive green prepainted roof decking rather than be reference to product names such as “autumn blaze”, “Tempest Brown”, “Conturion Latrobe” and the like).

NOTE: In most cases applications which provide the above information and which comply with the intent of this Code can be dealt with under delegation in approximately fourteen days, whereas those that do not comply will be referred to Council for a decision which is a more lengthy process, taking up to one month. Such applications may be referred to Council with a recommendation that they be refused.

7. Advice

Council’s Planning staff are available to offer advice and answer queries about the requirements of this policy. To avoid delays, it is advisable that an appointment be made. The Landscape Approvals and Development Officer is available to give advice on matters relating to landscaping.


Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy at to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200.

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