Our apologies for this long post. However, we believe it lays to rest any misapprehensions about the new zones and the damage they are wreaking throughout Glen Eira.

We highlight one single case that has dragged on for over 12 years – that of 17 Rosella Street, Murrumbeena which is now zoned GRZ2 but which directly abuts the so called ‘minimal change area’. It is also a large site of approximately 1200 square metres. The property, we believe, was originally a government sale in 2002. Since then, there has been application after application for a variety of developments. Here’s a brief history:

2003 – application for 3 double storeys and one single storey. Application withdrawn eventually.

2003/4 – application for 2 double storeys and one single storey. Permit granted (3/2/2004)

2005 – application for 5 double storeys. Permit granted 6/9/2005

2005 – amended application – permit granted 7/4/2006

2006 – ‘voluntary amendments’ – Permit granted 22/8/2006

2007 – application for amendment to increase units from 5 to 9. Refused permit – 21/6/2007

2010 – application for 2 storey and 12 dwellings. Officers recommended approval. Councillors unanimously refused permit – 40 objections. VCAT hearing – which incidentally is not recorded in the planning register!

2013 – application for 3 storey and 7 dwellings. Permit refused – 15/4/2014

2014 – application for 7 double storeys. Decision pending.

In 2010, when that particular application went to council, the officers report included the following gems:

 

A Planning Permit was issued by Council in May 2005 for the subject site and authorised the construction of five (5) double storey dwellings and basement carparking. This permit has not been acted upon and has expired.

The proposed development is considered to be consistent with and respectful to the existing and envisaged character of this neighbourhood. At a height of two storeys, the proposal is considered to be compatible with the existing building stock inRosella Street and nearby streets which includes single and double storey dwellings and a range of multi unit development. Its setbacks and appearance (materials and roof form) are also appropriate in the existing streetscape on this 1177 square metre site.

The development will have a maximum height of 6.6 metres. This is comparable with other building heights in the neighbourhood and will provide a reasonable transition with adjacent single storey development.

The site abuts seven properties within the Minimal Change Area to the south and west. The development provides setbacks of at least 4 metres from the western boundary and over 14 metres from the southern boundary at both ground and first floor. This is considered an appropriate design response to these sensitive interfaces. The rear setback in particular could be described as a generous outcome for a housing diversity area and will allow planting of canopy trees and protection of the Melbourne Water main drain asset.

Crs Esakoff/Pilling

That Council:

Issues a Notice of Refusal to Grant a Planning Permit for the construction of a two storey building comprising twelve dwellings and basement carparking, in a Special Building Overlay Area for Application No. GE/PP-22781/2010 in accordance with the following grounds:

  1. The proposal does not satisfy the intent and objectives of Council’sHousing Diversity Areas policy (Clause 22.07-3.1). It will have anadverse visual impact on the adjoining residential properties to thewest, which are located in a minimal change area.
  1. The proposal is not site responsive in terms of minimising adversevisual bulk impacts on the adjoining residential properties to thewest.

The MOTION was put and CARRIED unanimously.

The ensuing VCAT hearing which also refused the application, had the following comments to make:

  • The review site is within the Hughesdale residential neighbourhood centre. Its western boundary is the boundary between the residential neighbourhood centre and an area of minimal change. Council and residents opined the site is a transition site and development should respond to guidelines for minimal change areas as well as those for residential neighbourhood centres.
  • Planning policies for the residential neighbourhood centres such as Hughesdale anticipate an intensification of dwellings and built form in a manner that:
  • is a lower scale and density than development in commercial and mixed use areas of neighbourhood centres
  • is appropriate to that of the neighbourhood centre
  • is sited and designed so that it does not dominate the streetscape
  • responds positively to its interfaces with existing residential development in minimal change areas.
  • The submissions, photos tendered at the hearing and my inspection suggest to me the neighbourhood character of this area comprises:
  • predominantly interwar single storey dwellings, with very low site coverage, generous front setbacks, side setbacks and some canopy trees in rear yards. Nearly all dwellings have hipped roofs, articulated built form and a mix of materials and colours
  • some varied larger built form such as 1960’s style ‘barrack’ flats, articulated townhouses and dual occupancies in both tandem and side by side arrangements
  • few developments with basements and ramps to the public realm
  • breaks and gaps in the built form when it extends deep into the site.
  • Mr Bowden, Mr Shumack and Ms Ramsay opined the proposed development would be inconsistent with the character of the neighbourhood, even allowing for some level of change and intensification. Mr Bowden submitted broad planning policy objectives need to be tempered by the site’s inclusion in a residential neighbourhood centre and its proximity to a minimal change area. He thought the site to be suitable for some intensification but not to the intensity or built form proposed. He thought the proposed level of intensification to be better located within a higher order commercial neighbourhood centre or village. (Source: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2011/352.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=17%20and%20rosella

 

CONCLUSIONS

  • Under the new GRZ zones there IS NO TRANSITION BUFFER
  • 3 years ago, it was considered that 12 units and 2 storeys (of 6.5 metres in height) was ‘too intense’ development. Now 3 storeys (and 10.5 metres) is deemed suitable by council
  • There is no differentiation in council’s GRZ AND RGZ zones between commercial and ‘neighbourhood centres’ that are hundreds of metres away from any shop, any railway station, or any transport route.
  • This application typifies everything that’s wrong with planning per se, but especially the disaster that is planning in Glen Eira.
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