ESAKOFF: began by asking Torres to explain the ‘differences in the recommendations’ for Bentleigh and Carnegie.

TORRES: said that the ‘centres are different’ in ‘physical characteristics’ – ie Bentleigh is ‘east-west running linear’ precinct and Carnegie is ‘north -south’ centre ‘that is concentrated in the middle’. This ‘leads to different considerations especially in terms of shadowing’ and in Carnegie ‘commercial properties shadow each other’ but in Bentleigh the shadowing is on homes. Plus ‘the scale of development’ is ‘different’ which ‘leads to this different treatment’.

ESAKOFF: said she wouldn’t repeat what councillors had already said about ‘mandatory’ versus ‘discretionary’. Went over the consultation meetings for the Planning Scheme Review and highlighted – ‘amenity’, ‘traffic’, ‘visual bulk’, ‘congestion’, etc. Because ‘it will take some time to go through’ with structure planning, that’s why council is ‘asking for’ the interim controls. The zones ‘are currently being reviewed by the State Government’ so ‘until we are informed of that outcome’ they need to work ‘accordingly and that’s why we’re starting here’ even though she thinks that ‘it is the impact on those residential zones which is the most concern’. Repeated that for outside the major roads, ‘we need to see what the government does in those’ areas. ‘As I understand it’ council will be ‘looking at schedules to preserve those’ areas ‘better’ and ‘some further work at transitioning from zone to zone’. The interim controls ‘will give us some time to work through in greater detail’. Other councils ‘sometimes failing in their bid’ to have mandatory heights such as in Mentone who wanted 4 storey mandatory but the Minister made this discretionary, ‘they have already started receiving applications for 6 storeys’ and ‘that seems to be what we will have to expect’. Boroondara did have mandatory but ‘those have actually been overturned’ in the main activity centres. Said she was ‘hopeful’ and ultimately ‘moving along to other areas of Glen Eira that do need to be addressed’.

LIPSHUTZ: stated that ‘every councillor’ has ‘had concerns about height limits throughout our municipality’. Years ago 3 storey buildings ‘were too high’ but now it’s 6, 7 and 8 and ‘because we don’t have height limits’ and ‘the interpretation by VCAT has changed’ and they are ‘allowing buildings to go up which do not accord with what we and residents want’. ‘Politics is the art of the possible’ so ‘it’s not what’s right, what’s best’ but ‘what is actually attainable’. Said he would ‘love’ to see limits ‘across the board but realistically that’s not going to happen’. Said he saw an email from a resident who had written that if councillors ‘really cared’ they would ‘go for mandatory’ height limits. ‘We do care’ and we’re doing ‘this because (all mandatory) is not obtainable’. ‘It’s a huge risk’. The Minister could agree with mandatory ‘but realistically I don’t think that’s going to happen’. The Minister could also say ‘I”m rejecting it all; go back to the drawing board and start all over again’ or all discretionary. ‘We have to turn our mind to what we see as important’ and ‘we have a better chance of getting this’ than getting ‘nothing’. This is ‘interim’ so he hopes that ‘in two years time’ they will have done their ‘reasonable’ structure plans and this will enable them to ‘go to the Minister’ and say ‘some of the discretionary height limits should now be mandatory because of our research’.  ‘I would rather see something than nothing’ and this ‘plan is likely to be accepted’. ‘If we go the other way which is certainly the popular way to go’ then councillors would be ‘popular’ but it ‘isn’t the attainable way to go’.  As councillors ‘we have to ensure that we do the best for the city’ and ‘residents’.

LOBO: ‘we have rattled our residents with all the zones’. The forums let councillors hear ‘loud and clear’ how they are ‘destroyed’ and how their homes ‘have been taken by these residential zones’. There’s also the ‘ripple effect’ from the State Government’s ‘directives on parking’ and there’s the infrastructure ‘which will obviously have to be replaced’ and end up as ‘increasing rates’. One resident was so angry ‘he kept me for 2 hours in his house’ and told him ‘this is not the way to insult our intelligence’. ‘If we want to settle the anxiety of the residents’ then there shouldn’t be discretionary height limits. With discretionary then ‘vcat can do the opposite’. ‘This is not a solution’.

PILLING: thought that ‘we’re all on the same page here wanting the best possible protection’ but council needs to put the ‘strongest case forward’ and the ‘most likely’ to get approved and ‘then work towards getting even stronger controls’. According to the ‘best advice’ the option is to go for a ‘targetted approach’ which ‘gives full justification for the mandatory areas’ instead of doing a ‘blanket approach’. The north sides of both Carnegie and Bentleigh ‘do have car parks’ so their impact on residential zones is limited. Council is ‘calling for what residents have been asking for’. Thought that ‘we are addressing’ resident concerns and ‘doing it in a measured way’. As for what Lobo has said, he attended many of the forums and council is addressing what residents wanted especially about the southern sides of Neerim and Centre Roads. ‘We are listening to the community’.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED

VOTING FOR: PILLING, LIPSHUTZ, HYAMS, ESAKOFF, HO, DELAHUNTY, SOUNNESS

VOTING AGAINST: MAGEE, LOBO.

 

COMMENTS

  • If Lipshutz is, and was, so concerned about height limits in Glen Eira, then perhaps he can explain why on on a 12 storey application and 173 units he espoused the following (dates are from our posts) – Went on to ask ‘why is 12 storeys wrong’? Agreed that there would be an impact on traffic though but that would happen regardless of whether it was 8 storeys or 12 storeys. Further, this is a ‘high quality building’ and not cheap and nasty. The area is mainly commercial/industrial and there’s nothing really nice about it and this would ‘improve the area’. If the application was for anywhere else he would support the alternate motion but not this time. “I see nothing wrong with this building in this particular site”. (13/11/2012).
  • Contradictions abound. Lipshutz says that the ‘research’ will be done in the next two years for the structure plans. Pilling says that council’s ‘targetted approach’ of only partially mandatory heights will have ‘full justification’. Thus has ‘research’ really been done already? Or has bugger all been done over the past 12 years and this is simply buying council time whilst fulfilling Wynne’s orders? Or has council via the back door already had confirmation that this will get through so no need to do all the hard yakka?
  • Esakoff like so many others fails to reveal the full truth. Boroondara gained mandatory height limits for 31 of its shopping areas. This included 28 ‘neighbourhood centres’ strips and 3 main commercial strips in the major activity centres. Wynne then did remove the mandatory height limits on the 3 major shopping strips but Boroondara has kept its three storey maximum in 28 neighbourhood centres. Further, because Boroondara had done its work there was ONE AMENDMENT which covered everything. In Glen Eira we face the prospect of 20 years work before all our 10 neighbourhood centres are protected.
  • The old tactics of fear dominate. Amazing how other councils refuse to wait and implement their own policies well before the State Government gets around to it – (ie Water Sensitive Urban Design) and parts of Moreland’s Residential Code. Surely it is time that instead of saying that things are ‘unattainable’ that council is prepared to have a go? Other councils do!
  • Finally, where is Ho on this vital issue? Why his silence? In fact, Ho uttered approximately 50 words in the entire council meeting! We guess that his developer interests might make his contribution(s) somewhat suspect?
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