Agenda Item 9.4: Interim Heights

Council’s agenda features Amendments C147 and C148 which will go to the Minister seeking ‘interim height limits’ for the Bentleigh and Carnegie activity centres. The proposed amendments are for areas zoned commercial and mixed use.

Whilst Council is to be applauded for getting the ball rolling, there are many features of these amendments that are far from satisfactory and which will achieve very little in terms of protecting neighbourhoods. We have uploaded the full report HERE.

The concerns we have are:

  • Many of the proposed height limits are ‘discretionary’ – meaning that developers can, and undoubtedly will, apply for much higher buildings.
  • The metres nominated are highly questionable – given the residential zones. For example: In both amendments we have such schedules as “14 metres comprising up to 4 storeys”. If developers can now erect 4 storey buildings with a height limit of 13.5m, then surely they can cram 5 storeys into 14 metres. All that has to happen is a lowering of ceiling heights, or the slope of the land. Why hasn’t council stuck to the 10.5 and 13.5 height limit here?
  • The amendments also allow a 4 metre extension (ie lift over-runs, antennaes, etc). 4 metres is extraordinary when the zones provide the developer with only a 1.5 metre leeway.

The most grating aspect of these amendments however is the failure to ask residents what they think are the appropriate heights in any of these areas. Now, with a resolution to go to the Minister under ‘fast track’, there will again be the exclusion of the public to provide a viewpoint. Nor is there one scrap of strategic justification provided as to why 7+ storeys is acceptable in Carnegie. Has council really done its necessary homework, or once again sat down at their computer desks and drawn lines on a map? And what of the requirements for setbacks? Why keep accepting ResCode when it has been such a dismal failure? We remind readers that when other councils introduce DDOs (Design and Development Overlays – even interim ones) these features are included. Not in Glen Eira! We suggest that once again this is lazy and poor planning and does not meet the community’s expectations.

Some aspects of these amendments are literally laughable.The Bentleigh one basically regurgitates what the current planning scheme contains – ie Buildings on the North side of Centre Road to be designed and articulated so that they do not overshadow onto the footpath on the southern side of Centre Road at the September equinox at noon. (amendment) and the current planning scheme has – Buildings on the north side of Centre Road are articulated, so shadow is not cast onto the footpath on the south side of Centre Road.  We therefore wonder how on earth the potential for a 5 or 6 storey building on the North side of Centre Road will not cast a shadow!

FYI, we’ve summarised the proposals below:

carnegiebentleigh

PS: we wish to highlight some other anomalies in these proposed amendments. Here is the map of the zoning in Centre Road.

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Please note:

  • For the ‘northern’ areas of Centre Road where commercial sits alongside Neighbourhood Residential zones (ie Wheatley Road, Rose St) council has imposed a 4 storey MANDATORY HEIGHT. Thus for this side of the road it was deemed appropriate that the 4 to 5 storeys sit alongside an 8 metre mandatory height limit.
  • On the other side of Centre Road (directly opposite) there is a mandatory height limit of 3 + storeys. Why? Admittedly there is a Heritage Overlay for these streets ( ie Sunnyside, Eddy’s Grove, etc) but this still does not excuse in our view why one side of the street should be given a different mandatory height when both abut NRZ homes.
  • Things get even more crazy when we consider the proposals for Robert Street A 4 storey mandatory height limit for commercially zoned land along the southern side of Centre Road between Mavho Street and Robert Street . Two streets up from Mavho, we have another heritage overlay. But these are zoned Residential Growth Zone. Thus, instead of changing the zoning, Council it seems has simply chosen to once again do nothing about the zones and to use these amendments to simply rubber stamp the existing zoning. When one side of Centre Road gets a 3 storey recommendation possibly because of its nearness to a heritage overlay, and up the road for streets that are in a Heritage overlay are assigned 5 storeys, then planning is awry and incompetent.

The bottom line is that council will do nothing that involves changing one single aspect of its atrocious zoning.

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