As with the Caulfield Village, the history of Virginia Estate goes back many years. The processes involved are subtle, incremental, and ultimately identical – namely:

  • Rezoning to allow high density development
  • Removal of third party objection rights via Incorporated/Development Plans

The First Amendment

On the 4th November 2009, council first considered the question of rezoning Virginia Estate from Industrial to Business 2 and Business 3 – thus allowing for residential development to occur. The proposed amendment also introduced the euphemistically entitled ‘Development Plan Overlay’. This set the scene for 10 storey development in the centre of Virginia Estate.

As to the purpose of the amendment, the officer’s report stated:

The amendment seeks to facilitate a shift from traditional heavy industrial and warehouse uses, to technology based industries and office uses. It will also enable a limited amount of retail, directly related to the uses on the site, to meet the needs of tenants.

The word residential did not appear once in this report or the public notice. Conclusion? Devious, deceptive, and not stating up front in clear, precise language exactly what this amendment would mean.

The resolution read:

Crs Hyams/Magee

That this item be deferred to the Ordinary Council Meeting of November 24 to allow Council to receive more detail.

The MOTION was put and CARRIED unanimously (Penhalluriack declared a conflict of interest)

Meeting of 24th November 2009

No ‘more detail’ was provided in the officer’s report this time around and incredibly placed last (Item 8.17) in a long, long agenda list. Given that the resolution stated that it was ‘Council’ (with a Capital ‘C’) to receive this additional ‘detail’, then this additional ‘detail’ should have been included in the officer’s report. It wasn’t. Instead the November 24th version was identical, word for word, with the 4th November effort. Thus once again, decisions are made on the basis of information with-held from the public, and the public record and decided behind closed doors.

Crs Hyams/Magee

That Council

  1. Seek authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit Planning Scheme Amendment C75.
  2. Exhibit the amendment no earlier than January 27 2010.

Meeting of 8th June 2010

The amendment (following advertising) was considered again. No submissions were published and officer comments were largely supportive of the amendment.

Euphemisms continued as per the following:

Proposal – Amendment C75 proposes to rezone the Virginia Park ‘industrial’ estate in East Boundary Road, Bentleigh East to a Business 2 and 3 Zone to facilitate commercial redevelopment.

14 submissions were submitted. No detail given as to how many opposed the amendment and how many supported the amendment. The resulting decision was to send off to a panel.

Meeting of 15th March 2011 & The Panel Report

The following paragraph from the Planning Panel report is significant in that it mirrors exactly what happened with the C60 version(s) of the Incorporated Plan – ie. residents were not privy to the ‘negotiations’ taking place between the developer and council and hence their objections were based on what had been advertised and NOT what was now before the panel. Further, since none of the submitters attended the panel hearing, presumably believing that their submissions addressed what was advertised, they were not provided with the time, or the opportunity, to challenge the changes. One must seriously question whether ‘natural justice’ had been afforded to objectors.

A schedule to the DPO was exhibited with the Amendment. Council submitted a revised schedule on 24 August 2010 and Mr Scally on behalf of the proponent tabled a tracked changes version of the schedule at the hearing. It is understood this version followed further discussion between Council and the proponent before the hearing. The blue text is the further changes proposed by Council and the red text is the further changes proposed by the proponent. It is proposed to use this version as the working document in this report

The council resolution stated:

Crs Lipshutz/Magee

That Council:

  1. Adopts Amendment C75 in the form recommended by the IndependentPanel with the following change:

(a) The exhibited setback of 8 metres to the southern boundary (Virginia Reserve Interface Precinct) and eastern boundaries (Third Avenue Precinct) is adopted.

  1. Does not forward the adopted Amendment to the Minister for Planningfor approval until the Gillon Group enters into a Section 173 agreementwith Council for the provision of infrastructure works.

The MOTION was put and CARRIED.

 CURRENTLY

As we’ve stated previously, resolutions mean nothing in Glen Eira. Here was a decision regarding setbacks and now the amendment wishes to reduce this setback. No Section 173 agreement has been made public.

CONCLUSION

Residents should ask themselves:

  • Why does this council continually agree to remove resident third party objection rights?
  • Why does this council continually cave-in and meet the vast majority of developer demands?
  • Why does this council continually fail to advertise and inform widely on such important issues?
  • Why should residents have any faith that the projected 4,600+ dwellings is the final figure, given the experience of C60?
Advertisements