A planning application for the demolished Frogmore site is now public. It proposes a 120 bed aged care facility. The site is just under 8000 square metres, yet according to the plans is NOT big enough to ensure that all aspects of the requirements for the Neighbourhood Residential Zone are met. Even worse is that dozens upon dozens of healthy trees are to be removed. Here are some of the proposals –

  • Of the 92 trees on site, Jewish Care wants to remove 88
  • Only 38 car parking spots will be provided on site (plus 2 ‘drop off’ sites). This is despite the fact that the proposal states – “ Total number of staff is expected to be around 100 Full Time Equivalent (FTE), while the maximum number of staff on duty at peak times is projected to be around 45 people”.
  • Failure to reach the required ‘permeability’ requirements is stated to be a ‘minor variation’, as is site coverage. Incredible for 8000 square metres of land!

The plans themselves are incredibly short on detail such as providing actual dimensions, whilst the so called traffic report can be challenged time and time again. What did catch our attention is this gem from the arborist’s report – Development changes the use of an area, adding buildings, infrastructure and people to the landscape. This increases the potential for trees to cause damage to people and property. Therefore, trees that are structurally poor or that have a short life expectancy are generally unsuitable for retention on development sites.

So, this is justification for removing 88 trees – many of which are ‘significant’. Here is the list of trees to be removed. Please note the number that even the developer’s arborist sees as ‘healthy’ and of ‘high significance’. Of course, with a council that has no tree protection policies and facilitates as much moon-scaping as possible, the applicant is definitely on solid ground.

What will be fascinating is:

  • Will Magee be present at voting time? Will the ‘decision’ deliberately be delayed so that Magee in all likelihood will no longer be mayor and thus cannot use his vote twice as Pilling did?
  • Will Esakoff have ‘resolved’ her conflict of interest issues and her ‘close relative’ have found a place in the meantime?
  • And has the decision already been made and this will end up at VCAT – due to objectors and not council decision?

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