ESAKOFF: stated that others had already brought up what she had wanted to address. Said that structure planning was the ‘first one’ she wanted to talk about. Said that she didn’t ‘know whether they are a good thing or they’re not’. Went on to say that ‘we’ve been advised in the past that unless you go for more they’re not likely to be approved’ and ‘time will tell whether this is in fact the truth or not’. Said she’s ‘been thinking back 13, 14 years before our zones were in place’ and ‘attending meetings that were held to do with the zones’ and in the discussions ‘people were shock, horror’ about 3 storeys ‘in an activity centre’. This ‘had not been seen before’.  15 years down the track and ‘we would probably be very glad that they had a minimum of 5’. ‘Perhaps if we had gone for structure plans that long ago we might have got 5’. ‘We might have been shocked at the thought that it’s five’ but ‘today it’s looking pretty good’. Said that ‘no one can see ahead’ and wished that ‘sometimes we could’. ‘We don’t know what’s around the corner in the years to come and what we will consider acceptable or not’.

Stated that the ‘topics of conversation’ at the forums ‘were pretty consistent’ and people noted structure plans, transition zones. Acknowledged that ‘transition has been an issue since I’ve been on council’ and that she’s ‘always wanted transition to be wider than one block’ and ‘that’s what people want too’. Hoped this could be achieved so it’s a ‘slower transition from one block to another’.

She hoped that ‘we can address’ neighbourhood character since ‘there’s a fair bit of damage done’ so difficult to ‘say in some areas what neighbourhood character is any more’. Hoped that with Neighbourhood Character Overlays this could ‘cover those areas still intact’.

On traffic and parking she thought this could ‘extend further’ than just the borders of the activity centres into residential areas where people are saying they can’t park in their streets anymore. Growing population will impact on this but council ‘has done a lot by way of parking around activity centres’ via refusing parking permits for new developments.

Heritage ‘can do with a review’. ‘No doubt, it’s been a while’. ‘Loss of trees on development sites was also an issue. ‘We have put in place some sorts of barriers to stop moonscaping’ but ‘that doesn’t always work – it doesn’t deter developers overly’.  So ‘whatever’ council decided to do ‘it has to be something that is passed’. ‘If it’s something that is going to stop development altogether it will be stopped in its tracks’ because the State Government ‘is for development’.

Went on about infrastructure and ‘improvements’ and thought this was ‘fair enough and we will see what we can do there’. Open space is also an issue and ‘that’s why we are trying to secure open space in and around activity centres’. However ratecapping ‘has put a little bit of a dampener on that’.

ESD is another issue that ‘we have addressed somewhat and will address further’. Underground parking is another issue and she ‘guesses’ this is about canopy tree coverage on development sites. But ‘underground parking allows for lower heights I believe’ since trying to ‘park at grade you are increasing your height because’ it’s got ‘nothing to do with the reduction of the number of dwellings’.

 

COMMENT

  • God help us!!!!!! Here is a 13 year serving councillor admitting she hasn’t got the foggiest about structure planning! Has she ever asked? What has she been told? Has she ever bothered to read other council’s planning schemes and their numerous structure plans? And what does this say about the ‘advice’ that councillors have been fed from the likes of Newton and Akehurst over the past 13 years? And more importantly, what does it say about the will of councillors and to what extent they have been complicit in a planning agenda that has finally been called out by the Minister as being totally out of kilter with best practice?
  • ‘No one can see ahead’. Surely that is the objective of a good planning scheme – to prepare a vision for a municipality that can stand the test of time. Exactly what is the overall ‘strategic vision’ of Glen Eira, except to create countless opportunities for developers to ruin suburb after suburb?
  • At least Esakoff acknowledges that ‘neighbourhood character’ is now hard to define in many areas. Perhaps if council had preferred character statements years ago, instead of waffly useless phrases like ‘emerging character’ in its planning scheme, many areas would still be ‘intact’? More importantly, is this an admission that all council is intending to do is include a few more streets under Neighbourhood Character Overlays? What is most disappointing about Esakoff’s statements is that residents are provided with literally no idea as to what anything means, nor what council plans to do. Detail is non-existent!
  • Esakoff’s and the other councillors short-sightedness is evidenced by her statements on underground car parking. The issue is far more important than whether or not a few canopy trees can be planted. The issue of underground parking could be calamitous in terms of its impact on the water table and the cumulative impact on constant digging. London research has shown that the more basement car parking allowed in one area, the greater the risk of sink holes – aka Monash last year!
  • Epiphanies keep coming for councillors when less than a year ago, Esakoff was quite happy with the provisions to stop moonscaping and no necessity for a tree register –  ‘the owner of that property should have every right to do what they like’. She has always ‘been on the side of personal rights’ and she doesn’t want people to be told ‘what they can and can’t have’ in terms of trees in their gardens. That’s their ‘domain’ and it’s ‘called private open space – private’. ‘To be personal and to accuse people of inconsistency I think is a disgrace’. Said that people can argue for protecting street trees and planting more trees, but on people’s own property they should decide. Went on to ‘red tape and the costs’ is ‘another layer that the community is over’. Said that the ‘community’ doesn’t ‘want any more red tape’ or costs in choosing ‘what to do with their own private space’. (24/3/2015)
  • and there are good protections currently existing via what council already has to deal with Mentioned ResCode and how this ‘removes the advantage that developers gain’. Permits also come with conditions that trees can’t be removed but this also has a ‘down side’ because years later there’s the request for a change in condition so these trees which are now ‘causing damage’ can be removed. There have to be avenues of appeal with the tree register because that would make it ‘fair’ and to remove ‘those rights of appeal would not be a fair process’. Said that ‘my position remains unchanged’ and that she is against ‘tree control in Glen Eira’. (16/10/2013)
  • Existing mechanisms include town planning, so that if there is a significant tree then town planning conditions are ‘put in place to protect them’. There are also ‘large penalties’ for ‘breach of those conditions’. Other safeguards are landscape plans, 4 metre setbacks and open space requirements which means that more trees can be planted. ‘There are enough hoops to jump through’ without adding to them. (14/10/2013)
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