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Local zoning in Australia

Well, I’ve certainly written about a number of major differences between Australia and the US, but one thing that is pretty similar (and in fact, may be pretty consistent around the world) is the desire of local zoning authorities to try and control the aesthetic appearance of their communities.

It happens in the US, and it also happens here in Australia, I’ve learned. Apparently, a city council here in Australia has decided that they’d like to heritage list 5 entire streets in their city in order to protect the character of the area. From the news report, no one is happy about it, because it means that they can’t do any home renovations without approval. They showed a number of the homes which didn’t really look historic at all — it’s a little hard to see what heritage the city council is trying to protect : )

The story reminded me so much of my Land Use class last fall and a case we read where the city council wanted to approve the colors and design of new buildings to make sure they fit with the ‘character’ of the area. The only problem was that the council didn’t exactly know how to describe the character of the area, only that they knew it when they saw it. Certainly some useful guidelines for people trying to remodel or build.

Anyways, one thing I don’t know is how you go about challenging that sort of zoning proposal here in Australia, but it would be interesting to find out.

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