BENDIGO'S council will ask for an independent tribunal to examine which bits of a Condon Street property should be protected.
The City of Greater Bendigo wants a heritage overlay over the site of a private Kennington observatory once used for the city's official meteorological readings.
It fast tracked the process after owners put the site up for sale last year.
They and another party have since told the council they support heritage protections for the observatory, but not a house at the front of the property.
Council officers say the house was built by celebrated historic architect John Beebe.
An independent panel is now expected to deliberate on whether the house is too run down and modified to warrant heritage protection.
Councillors voted on Wednesday night to ask the state's planning minister to appoint a panel.
"In essence, we are acting to protect a key part of our history," Cr David Fagg told them before the vote.
Cr Greg Penna welcomed calls for the planning minister to appoint a panel.
"In my opinion, the sooner the better," he said.
Heritage experts who have visited the site say the observatory could be of potential state significance.
It had left councillors with a rare chance to protect history before it potentially slipped through their fingers, Cr Jen Alden said.
"Why would we not seek to protect Bendigo's rich heritage landscape, particularly when it is so easily lost to development?" she said.
The panel could also revisit questions about established vegetation at the site.
Council staff recently dropped their push for the vegetation to get heritage protection after visiting the site and speaking with experts.
Cr Alden said an independent panel could have its own say.
"It could enhance the visual amenity and also the heritage integrity of the estate," she said, citing some opinions expressed so far in the consultation process.
Cr Alden said the mature trees gave shelter to wildlife in an area of increasing urban development.
John Beebe's backyard observatory became a pawn in a three-way battle for bragging rights between Bendigo, Castlemaine and Ballarat in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
All three Gold Rush era towns had telescopes considered large by the era's national standards, historians have previously told the council.
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