FERNTREE Gully Village residents and traders are delighted Knox Council has given the nod to interim height controls for development in the area.
At its meeting last week, the council approved implementing interim height limits of 7.5 metres while the possibility of a structure plan is looked into for the area.
The controls still need to be approved by the state government but residents are confident that Ferntree Gully MP Nick Wakeling will follow through on his assurances to get the changes through swiftly.
Councillors voted to place the interim controls in the Village after locals voiced concerns about a proposed four-storey development at 44 Station Street.
Mr Wakeling last week held a meeting with residents, traders, Knox Council and a representative from Planning Minister Matthew Guy's office. Mr Wakeling told the group that if the council decided to implement the height restrictions, the government would consider that request in a "timely manner".
The interim controls voted on last week were almost delayed for another month, however, when Cr Sue McMillan proposed there should first be a report into height controls in The Basin, Upper Ferntree Gully and Ferntree Gully Village.
That move was defeated and, says former Knox councillor Karin Orpen, "common sense prevailed" when Cr Mick Van de Vreede called for the height controls to be implemented.
Ms Orpen — who may be a candidate in next month's council elections — said: "When you get an offer like this [from Nick Wakeling], you grab it."
She said a report was not acceptable because "a government offer like this doesn't come along very often". "I believe Nick Wakeling was sincere. It is now his responsibility to pressure the planning minister to get these controls through."
When he spoke to the Weekly, Mr Wakeling could not give a date of when the controls would be implemented, because it depended on when the council submitted its request. "I don't want to pre-empt the timing," he said.
Mr Wakeling denied he had put the council in a tight spot by promising to push the controls through. "We highlighted the council's options to the community," he said.
However, Ms Orpen felt it did force the council's hand because the council had already had plenty of time to do something about the issue. "This is a great win for the community but there is obviously a lot more work to be done."
What do you think? Do you support the height controls? What sort of new development would rejuvenate Ferntree Gully Village? Let us know at knoxweekly.com.au, facebook.com/knoxweekly or @knoxweekly.