VCAT has granted a permit for the Centre Road development. It will be 8 storeys and 33 dwellings, plus car parking waivers. The original application was for 9 storeys and 40+ dwellings, but amended plans were submitted following the compulsory conference. PS: correction. Here is the link to the full VCAT decision – http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2016/538.html

These extracts from the decision once again point out the deficiencies in the Glen Eira Planning Scheme. As per usual, any talk of introducing height limits for commercial allotments is far too little and far too late. The horse has bolted! Council had a decade and more to act. It has steadfastly refused to do a single thing! This is now the result!

Some quotes

The acceptability of the height of this proposal is influenced by the planning scheme’s policy framework as it applies to this locality.

The policy identifies three urban villages in the municipality (Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick) and no distinction is drawn between them in terms of the role and scale of each centre.

Significantly, there are no height controls applying to the Bentleigh urban village, or to any of the other urban villages.

The policy framework outlined above provides a strong level of support for a building on this site that is higher than the prevailing one and storey scale of development in the centre.  The achievement of the Council’s urban village and housing diversity objectives will almost inevitably involve the introduction of buildings into the urban village that have a greater height than the buildings that currently comprise the Bentleigh centre.

In the absence of more detailed built form controls or guidelines than those currently in the planning scheme, our finding that higher buildings can be contemplated where the Commercial 1 Zone abuts the RGZ, does not greatly assist us in forming a view about the acceptability of an eight storey building on a site that has an abuttal to the GRZ and the NRZ. 

In these precincts, developments of three to four storeys are emerging on consolidated sites in both the RGZ and the GRZ.  That analysis demonstrates that the urban village designation and the associated policies are having a profound impact in changing the built from character of the Bentleigh centre in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of those policies

We commented during the course of the hearing that Clause 55 does not apply to the consideration of a building of 5 or more storeys. Consequently, reliance on Standard B17 is limited to its use as a guide only.  In this case compliance with B17 up to level 3 (including the width of the lane) is of some assistance because it is these levels that will have the greatest visual bulk impacts on the immediate neighbours.  Above level 3, the additional setback is significant.  Having regard to the nature of the interfaces we have described previously, and having regard to the strategic context of the review site, we are satisfied that the interface treatment is acceptable.

We acknowledge that the building will be viewed from the wider residential hinterland to the south.  The visibility of the building is not however an impact that is beyond the reasonable expectations that emanate from the Council’s designation of this locality as an urban village and a housing diversity area.

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