PS: Esakoff was absent and Magee arrived late – just in time for public questions!

LOCAL LAW COMMITTEE

LIPSHUTZ: said that the ‘two major issues’ were the tree register and local law 326 (organised sport). Tree register is council’s wish to identify ‘the best sort of trees in the area’ and can’t be removed without permits. They looked at ‘appeal process’ for trees on private property because they thought ‘there might be some objections’ by landowners since ‘people who nominate trees’ are generally neighbours. ‘Process won’t be nomination’ but a ‘panel of arborists’ who will ‘go around the municipality and nominate trees’. Appeals will be for damage too. Corporate counsel is ‘drawing up further provisions’. Hoped that at next meeting IN SEPTEMBER, there would be the ‘final draft’.

The other issue of organised sports had caused a lot of ‘angst’ so instead of changing the law and ‘making a mess of it’ they thought that the best option was to say ‘how we define’ and interpret. Claimed that this was the ‘common’ approach in ‘acts of parliament’ that they ‘tell you how to interpret’ the law.  For people with an ‘allocation’ they can play and those that don’t have an allocation can also play on surfaces as long as they don’t damage the grounds and they can ‘play there without fear of prosecution’.

On the ‘review’ of the ‘whole local law’ there might be ‘other areas’ that people want to speak about but that was for the next meeting in September.

COMMENT: not a single word was said regarding the alcohol free zones in Bentleigh shopping strip. Thus a major council decision has been made without any public discussion, without any public comment, and without residents being privy to the evidence, the arguments, nor the circumstances which lead to this decision.

RESIDENTIAL PARKING PERMITS

Lipshutz moved an amendment that in any building of 3 or more dwellings that a sign be in the foyer informing people that there are no residential parking permits available for this building and people with a ‘disability’ or those people with ‘extenuating circumstances’ could apply for a residential parking permit. Seconded by Okotel. Lipshutz explained the scheme that residents could apply because there was ‘increasing pressure’ for parking and people park in streets so that residents ‘themselves’ can’t park in their own streets. Said that ‘where we have minimal change areas’ and ‘large developments coming up’ there aren’t parking permits. Said that they ‘wanted people to know’ that if ‘you’re going to buy’ then you won’t get a permit. There are other circumstances such as people becoming injured or are ill so that they should be able to apply for a parking permit. Claimed that often people don’t know that they won’t be eligible for a permit since few look up the actual permit papers so this will make it clear in that the developer has to have signs publicising the fact. ‘That means that residents can feel happy that their streets will not be clogged’. Said that this is also a warning to developers that council won’t be helping them out by ‘allowing’ permits.

OKOTEL: supported the amendment and said that every level of government needs to ‘take into account’ the needs of people with disability. Council needs to address the issues of parking but also to recognise that these measures mightn’t suit those people with ailments. At local level very important ‘that we do take into account’ those people with disability.

LOBO: said that ‘personally I don’t have any problems’ with the ‘exclusion’. ResCode was ‘hypothetical’  and ‘definitely not practical’. Outlined ResCode provisions (ie one car space for 1 & 2 bedrooms, etc.) Called these ‘nothing but a joke’ since today most couple both work and therefore have 2 cars. ‘Applying this code does not decrease parking demand’. Talked about alternate transport and who was ‘monitoring this’ and ‘complying’. Said that this all leads to the ‘destruction’ of people’s ‘facilities’. Claimed that Glen Eira had been given the ‘pill’ to solve the problem. On the one hand there is the claim that Glen Eira ‘is compact’ and on the other hand keep building. Mentioned the Alma Club and 75 unit application with only 4 visitor car parking spots – ‘the government can tell it to the swans’ that this is ‘sufficient’. At ‘this rate our suburbs are on the verge of being destroyed’. Reminded people that two years ago he claimed that we’re heading toward Calcutta and that one councillor disagreed and they had a bet. Said that the parking in Glen Eira is a ‘sheer schemozzle’ and the government lets trailers and boats to park in streets that only makes the situation a lot worse. Said that in January the issue was put to the local MP who was asked to take the issue up with the State Government. He is still waiting for a response.

HYAMS: Lobo is right on ResCode and that everyone knows that people who live in 1 or 2 bedroom apartments have more than one car. When they have applications they always hear about parking and traffic from objectors so this policy says if you want to live here then if you’ve got cars then you won’t get a parking spot. So this ‘encourages people to limit themselves to the number of cars’ they have and ‘can fit in the building’ so that it doesn’t impact on the streets. This is a ‘good policy’ and also solves one of the issues about people knowing this via the signs.

MOTION PUT: in favour – Lipshutz, Hyams, Sounness, Pilling, Delahunty, Okotel. Against – Lobo.

COMMENT:  Lipshutz obviously has no qualms in fudging the facts. The policy DOES NOT MENTION MINIMAL CHANGE. Secondly, minimal change areas are the major recipients of parking permits. Thirdly, council’s sudden concern for those residents with disability is quite touching considering that in the past there have been applications where disability parking has been removed and converted into ‘visitor parking’ – hence council has given permission for the REMOVAL of designated disability parking spots.

Lobo’s arguments are quite amazing we believe. As objectors pointed out at the Alma Club planning conference, RESCODE is a guideline. Councils can do as they wish in terms of residential parking permits – as we illustrated in a previous post. It is mind boggling that these councillors always manage to find convenient scapegoats for their own reluctance, and failure to address such issues head on.

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