This is the first part of a very long post, which we’ve interspersed with our own commentary on the continual nonsense that issues from the mouths of all our elected representatives. We are admittedly having great difficulty in deciding whether most of these councillors are just plain ignorant and haven’t done the necessary homework or, whether all their utterances are designed to deceive, beguile and play to the audience. Or whether they simply don’t give a damn and are only going through the motions. Whichever, one thing is absolutely clear – they are not up to the job in any shape or form. The following illustrates this completely.

MORTON AVENUE APPLICATION

Pilling moved to accept and seconded by Magee

PILLING: stated that this was a ‘key site’ being ‘opposite a railway station’. Supported the officer’s recommendation and said that recently they’d lobbied and been ‘successful in getting new zones’ and this application ‘falls into 3%’ of the municipality and ‘it’s the only zone which hasn’t got height restrictions’. Pilling also said that ‘6 storeys in this location is quite acceptable’. Said that all round there really weren’t any residences – a library, carpark, etc. Claimed that people ‘shouldn’t shy away’ from the fact that the city is protected and that 3% around activity zones is quite acceptable. ‘We should be true to what we’ve been advocating’. Acknowledged that there was some concern about the reduction in visitor car parking but this could be ‘justified’ by the nearby VicTrack  public car park. Went on to say ‘that we are encouraging high development in this area’ so that people will end up using public transport. ‘This is in keeping of where we were aiming for’.

COMMENT: Pilling should definitely check his facts – the Commercial zone is NOT the only zone within Glen Eira that does not have height limits. The Mixed Use Zone (of which there are 23 within Glen Eira) is also without prescriptive height limits.

MAGEE: said that when an application like this comes up then ‘we know’ that parking will be an ‘issue’. Then ‘you go through things that as an individual councillor concern you’. Claimed that this ‘meets every criteria for a six storey building’ and for ‘the right building in the right place’. ‘It’s a very good looking building’ and ‘I think it’s a responsible height‘. Said that there’s an ‘abundance’ of car parking nearby and  ‘visitor parking isn’t such an issue’ because ‘evidence based’ information says that this is after hours. Said he hoped that it ‘does meet the community’s expectations’. ‘I believe that this is the right building at the right place and certainly at the right time’.

COMMENT: A bit rich for Magee to comment on ‘community expectations’ when the community has NEVER been provided with the opportunity to state clearly what its preferred height limit is in any area of the municipality. We would also advise that Magee sits down and carefully reads the government guidelines on higher density development. We certainly doubt that he has! We also love the appeal to ‘evidence based’ data. We interpret this to mean any data that is provided by the developer’s traffic consultant!

OKOTEL: said that this is a ‘gross overdevelopment of this area’ since Morton Avenue is ‘small’ and already has many ‘new developments’. It’s already ‘congested’ and made worse by ‘traffic’ and there’s a ‘lack of amenity’ for those people already living there. ‘It is incumbent on council to consider that’. Reported that in 2003 VCAT approved a 4 storey dwelling in Morton Avenue but ‘at that time Morton Avenue was a very undeveloped area’. Now ‘ten years on’ this is a ‘completely different area’. But since council has since approved a 5 storey development nearby it would therefore ‘be fair’ for this to also be five storeys. Said that infrastructure was ‘lacking’ and that turning into Koornang Rd is ‘a nightmare’. Visitor car parking is also ‘of great concern’ and ‘we do need to look at our policies and what we require’ and that even if one storey is lopped off there would still be ‘inadequate car parking spaces’. Spoke about how residents can be impacted by such developments and the lack of amenity. Said that potentially this means ’80 people’ moving in and finished by saying that ‘this is not an appropriate development’.

COMMENT: ‘need to look at our policies’!!!! Well, all we can say is that this is why you and other councillors are there! When was the last time that the Road Safety Strategy came up for review? When was the last time that Parking Precinct Plans were even thought about? When did council last successfully introduce any parking overlays in its Planning Scheme? What on earth have these councillors been doing – except to mouth the platitudes that certain policies need to be ‘looked at’!!!!!!Actions count and not public grandstanding!

ESAKOFF: agreed with Okotel that 6 storeys, 40 units and waiving car parking is ‘a little too much’ for the ‘busiest corner of Carnegie’. Said that if they start waiving 7 car parking spots then they’re ‘asking for incremental trouble’. She would ‘like to see the parking provided that’s necessary’ but ‘would consider a waiver of perhaps three’. Agreed that if ‘there’s a place, this is the place’ but ‘it is not providing sufficient parking’ and for her this has ‘always been a sticking point’. Foreshadowed a motion for 5 storeys. Went on to say that ‘in an ideal worls’ she’d like to see ‘something happening’ up on roofs as part of open space such as a garden or just ‘a space’.

COMMENT: ‘would like to see the parking provided that’s necessary’. Wow! Perhaps someone should point out to Esakoff that there are standards in the planning scheme that council, including herself, simply like to ignore. Here are just a few of decisions FROM 2013 that have waived car parking, and/or loading/shop front parking bays! And all have been given the stamp of approval by councillors themselves – often in unanimous votes. It’s a bit difficult then to swallow the guff about providing what’s necessary when waiver after waiver is granted, not by VCAT, but by councillors themselves.

645 – 647 CENTRE ROAD, BENTLEIGH EAST

198-202 BALACLAVA ROAD, CAULFIELD NORTH

483-493 GLEN HUNTLY ROAD ELSTERNWICK

451-453 SOUTH ROAD BENTLEIGH

We also have to ask whether a waiver of 3 car parking spots does NOT REPRESENT ‘INCREMENTAL TROUBLE’ OR IS 7 SOMEHOW THE MAGICAL NUMBER?

SOUNNESS: was in support of the recommendations but had some concerns. Thought it was ‘good to have people’ close to transport, and a good facade which this has. Was worried about the lack of 3 bedroom units. Said that there are similar zones in Glen Eira and that greater density will be happening and that council ‘will be facing pressure’ from developers for 6, 7 or even higher buildings. Claimed that there has to be a ‘range’ of dwellings and not just ‘boxes’. He will support the recommendation, but he sees this issue as ‘lacking in Glen Eira’s policy’.

COMMENT: Oh dear – another councillor who does not know his own planning scheme and community plan. The scheme clearly states the need to encourage a ‘diversity’ of dwellings including 3 bedroom units. The fact that council does nothing about this is another matter. Please Sounness, do your homework. It’s a year now since you’ve become a councillor and should at least know the basic but unimplemented vision!

HYAMS: didn’t have ‘a problem with the height’ because it’s the ‘right place’ and ‘next door to a five storey building’. Conceded that there are one storey houses in Sheppason Avenue but ‘they won’t even be able to see’ the building because of setbacks and the 5 storey building. Was worried about parking and that there is ‘policy’ and that the ‘reason why we have policy’ is to make Glen Eira ‘a whole better place to live’ and they adhere to policy when they consider how the ‘amenity’ of other people is affected. Said it was hard to get parking in the area and ‘especially on a Saturday’ so ‘we should continue to do what we can’ to make developments have sufficient car parking. Putting in more stackers won’t solve the problem. All that will help is ‘reducing’ the number of units. Thought that ‘it is important that we try to stick to our policies’. On that ‘basis’ he is against the motion.

COMMENT: good to know that ‘policy is policy’ (but only when it suits) since in the past Hyams has clearly stated that applications should be looked at on a case by case basis! Wonderful rhetoric that leaves room for all kinds of inconsistencies and political manoeuvring!

DELAHUNTY: ‘as a general rule’ she believes in ‘sustainable development’ and that higher density has to go near railway stations, etc. This is good for ‘traders’ and ‘the city’ and that it’s ‘council’s job to make sure that the traffic flows’ and also ‘encourage’ people to use alternative modes of transport. ‘The only thing’ with this application that worries her is the lack of visitor car parking. Said that council’s policy on visitor car parking ‘is not necessarily consistent’ with other councils’ guidelines. She is ‘torn about this’ but will support the recommendation. Admitted that ‘it might set quite a precedent for that area’.

COMMENT: what a pity that Delahunty doesn’t acknowledge that without height limits, without parking overlays, without any attempt to introduce structure plans for activity centres in the past decade, there is no such thing as precedent! Anything goes, and it’s already long gone!

PILLING: ‘this is the right area’ for this development. Thought that there ‘has to be some flexibility around visitor car parking’ and the problem is also level crossings so have to be ‘flexible’ about the car parking and get people to use transport. ‘Balancing’ the ‘pros and cons’ he thought that officers ‘had got it right’ and ‘it’s in line with the zones’ 

MOTION PUT AND LOST 4 TO 5.

VOTING FOR – MAGEE; PILLING, SOUNNESS, DELAHUNTY

VOTING AGAINST: ESAKOFF, OKOTEL, LIPSHUTZ; HYAMS, LOBO

Part 2 will focus on the next motion from Esakoff that also went down in a flaming heap! and nor did it lift the level of debate as readers will see.

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