Written in pencil or in ink: Private covenants and their legacies for housing and planning in Victoria

Taylor, E and Rowley, S 2018, 'Written in pencil or in ink: Private covenants and their legacies for housing and planning in Victoria', in Proceedings of the 8th State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 2017), Adelaide, South Australia, 28-30 November 2017, pp. 1-11.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Written in pencil or in ink: Private covenants and their legacies for housing and planning in Victoria
Author(s) Taylor, E
Rowley, S
Year 2018
Conference name SOAC 2017
Conference location Adelaide, South Australia
Conference dates 28-30 November 2017
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 8th State of Australian Cities National Conference (SOAC 2017)
Publisher Analysis and Policy Observatory (APO)
Place of publication Australia
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Abstract Through Australia's history, private developers have introduced restrictive covenants to property titles. Typical private covenants stipulate building materials, limit dwelling numbers, and prohibit particular land uses or the sale of alcohol. Covenants, like zoning, have tended to "put the single-family, owner-occupied home at the pinnacle of uses to be protected", and have functioned as security for homeowners (Fischel 2004). This paper explores the power of private arrangements - from the past, and from more recent developments - in influencing contemporary housing and planning outcomes. We analyse 75 sampled Victorian planning tribunal cases substantially concerned with private covenants over 2013-2016. Legislative changes to Victorian planning legislation have meant - through a combination of legislative creep and apparent drafting errors - restrictive covenants now explicitly take precedent in permit assessments. We examine patterns in what covenants restrict; the hearing types and issues raised; and outcomes. We profile spatial patterns in the ages of covenants arising in planning disputes. Showing idiosyncrasies where decisions are determined by whether covenants are (literally) written in pencil or in ink, we argue covenants sometimes have enduring 'ink' legacies, compared to the transient 'pencil' of strategic policy. This is despite the covenants frequently being either directly contrary to current planning policy; or simply being nonsensical and outdated. We argue covenants illustrate the varied genealogy of planning: Booth's (2005) characterisation of planning as originating in private rights and morphing into public interest. This interlinked history is relevant to conflict over density and to the rebound of private zoning in response to urban consolidation.
Subjects Land Use and Environmental Planning
History and Theory of the Built Environment (excl. Architecture)
Housing Markets, Development, Management
Keyword(s) covenants
Victoria
law
housing
density
history
DOI - identifier 10.4225/50/5b3031e534300
Copyright notice © State of Australian Cities Conference 2017
Versions
Version Filter Type
Altmetric details:
Access Statistics: 13 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Thu, 06 Dec 2018, 10:39:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
© 2014 RMIT Research Repository • Powered by Fez SoftwareContact us