YARRA Ranges Council has resolved to write to Planning Minister Matthew Guy voicing concerns about strict new bushfire controls under the state planning scheme.
Cr Noel Cliff put forward the motion at a council meeting last week, fearing the controls in the bushfire management overlay could make significant impacts on landowners' ability to get planning approval to build or rebuild a house, or renovate an existing house.
"Under the new rules, if a tree falls on your house and damages it you cannot rebuild unless you meet this strict criteria," Cr Cliff said. "But there would only be a minuscule number of people who can meet the criteria."
It's a problem the council is already facing. In the past six months there have been several applications from residents wanting to build in bushfire-prone land - in all instances council officers recommended the applications be refused due to the fire risk.
Among them was Todd Macbeth, who received approval to build in Kalorama last December, after a lengthy planning process.
He said that under the planning regulations, the building materials required were "hugely expensive", so things such as just fixing a window "with steel frames and sealing the window and the other requirements - it may mean people cannot afford to fix it".
Mr Macbeth said the costs for his house had "blown out" due to materials such as fireproof shutters and a tiled deck area instead of wood.
Mr Macbeth supported the council's decision to approach Mr Guy and said more properties needed to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. "I think it's a very complex issue. It is one that needs continual discussion and debate. We live in a risk area; it is about mitigating that risk."
Cr Len Cox said he feared that "we are going to end up with many many blocks of land that are worthless".
"We just can't do that to people".
A CFA spokesperson defended the policy, saying where bushfire risk could be reduced to an acceptable level and achieve the objectives of the planning controls, then CFA would consent to issuing a planning permit.
"The overlay has been carefully constructed to prioritise human life and achieve the outcomes required by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission," the spokesperson said.
"During this assessment consideration is given to the level of bushfire risk that a property could potentially be exposed to."