MOUNT Alexander Shire councillors have backed tighter housing controls in Harcourt to keep its rural character and deal with climate change.
The planning scheme amendment will now go to an independent panel and, eventually, planning minister Richard Wynne for a final sign off.
The panel will flesh out a range of issues linked to the reforms, Cr Tony Cordy said.
The council wants changes for a town with a rising population.
Several large tracts of land are expected to be transformed into residential streets in the years to come.
Residents have told the council that changes should not come at the expense of Harcourt's neighbourhood character.
Many residents oppose the types of housing tracts they have seen elsewhere in Victoria in which houses are all the same size and built from the same materials, a recent council report on submissions from members of the public said.
Some members of the public said the best way to address the risk was to compel developers to build a range of housing that reflected Harcourt's rural character.
Others said more environmental controls were needed to help deal with climate change.
The council also voted on Tuesday to send Maldon planning scheme reforms to the minister for final consideration.
Cr Stephen Gardner said the push started several years ago and involved local heritage advocates.
The council wanted to refresh design guidelines dating back to the early 1970s, he said.
"The old guidelines could be a bit confusing and difficult," Cr Gardner said.
"It gives people a bit more certainty about what they can and can't do."
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