We continue our ‘series’ which we started in February on councillor decision making on applications and the results at VCAT. Now that there is finally a planning scheme review being undertaken, council must address the core issues of what is missing in council’s planning scheme.

In our February post (https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/dumb-or-complicit-1/) we asserted that councillors have not learnt from their mistakes; that they have been content to play to the gallery and repeatedly knock off a level or two, or the number of apartments, and think they have done their job. History shows that in every single decision involving a reduction in height or dwellings and where the developer has subsequently gone to VCAT such councillor decisions have been well and truly trounced.

When decision after VCAT decision spells out in lurid technicolor what is amiss with the planning scheme and nothing has been done to address these gaping holes, then as we stated in our header – either councillors are incredibly dumb or completely complicit in a pro-development agenda!

With elections around the corner, readers need to take careful note of who voted for what!

COUNCILLOR DECISION – #5 – 8 Railway Crescent, Bentleigh. Application was for 3 storeys and 10 apartments. Officer recommendation – permit granted. Esakoff and Lipshutz moved motion for 3 storeys and 8 units. Motion was carried unanimously. Developer went to VCAT and was awarded his 10 units. Member decision included: I could perhaps understand Council seeking to remove Dwellings 9 and 10 if there were direct and unacceptable amenity impacts, such as overshadowing of neighbouring properties, or if the site was on the boundary with land included in a Minimal Change Area and in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.  But neither of those circumstances applies here. The land is well away from the boundary of a Minimal Change Area and the only adjoining property affected by overshadowing is to the east and any shadow is only cast in the mid afternoon to the non-secluded front yard. I note that Mr Wood, Mr O’Brien and Mr Filatov do not live adjacent to the site and are not directly affected by the two dwellings proposed to be deleted. Ms Snell agreed that the development complies with all the numeric ResCode standards

COUNCILLOR DECISION -#6 – 24-26 Mavho Street Bentleigh. Application was for 4 storeys and 28 dwellings. Officer recommendation to grant a permit. Hyams and Lobo moved motion to grant permit for 3 storey and 25 units. This motion was carried with Pilling voting against it. Developer went to VCAT and got his 4 storeys and 28 units! The decision reads in part – I am not persuaded by Council’s zoning submissions that the surrounding zoning will in some way perform the role of limiting development or height in this case on this site. This site is clearly in the Residential Growth Zone and does not share a boundary with any other zone….I am not persuaded that this site is to perform a transition role. The is a zone and an area of intensive development. Other sites further will peform this transition role. The fact that Council has rezoned 24 Mavho Street Residential Growth as is the adjoining lot at 22A and 22B Mavho Street and then the zone changes to a General Residential Zone at 20 Mavho Street, tells me that the transition site and role is performed at 20 Mavho Street.

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