A very long post, but incredibly important.

Following months and months of public consultation on structure planning for Glen Eira’s activity centres we finally get the first glimpse of the ‘design guidelines’ for Bentleigh, Elsternwick and Carnegie and the ‘big picture’ for the other activity centres (neighbourhood centres).

Residents should be very, very alarmed with what is another nebulous and poorly explicated effort from Council. The only thing that is clear is that very little of what residents have stated they desire has been incorporated into these waffly documents. For example:

  • Height limits of 3 to 4 storeys, especially in ‘neighbourhood centres’ was stated time and again. It now is on the drawing board that suburbs such as McKinnon, Ormond, Bentleigh East,etc can expect buildings  much higher depending on zoning. Needless to say not one single word of justification is forthcoming as to why 8 or 12 storeys is warranted anywhere. Further, another item in the agenda recommends that a permit be granted for a 6 storey development in McKinnon Road, McKinnon. The rot has well and truly started for our neighbourhood centres!
  • Below is 2 examples of what we mean. Please read carefully

As for the major activity centres themselves we find the following:

  • There is still the intent to flog off public land for high rise commercial development
  • Multi storey car parks are still in the picture
  • Structure plans will NOT BE forthcoming by December 2017
  • Parking plans still belong to the ‘never-never’
  • Heritage is ‘expendable’ and dependent on where it is – ie it is okay for 3 and 4 storeys in heritage overlays
  • The only potential concession to heritage from Bentleigh is the Bendigo & Daley Streets overlay (which is zoned Residential Growth Zone). Given that the map below is shaded green but also includes the ‘site specific’ addendum, we have no idea whether this means these streets will be rezoned to 1 or 2 storeys, or whether 3 and 4 storeys are still on the cards.
  • The red areas identified as ‘strategic site’ and given the green light for between 5 and 8 storeys are a major worry since they abut areas zoned General Residential – ie 3 storeys.

Conclusions

  • It is obvious that council is gearing up for more and more development. These plans are merely facilitating this process and totalling ignoring the vast majority of community feedback.
  • There is no intention of reviewing the zones – only expanding the borders of the activity centres.
  • No real strategic justification exists for any of the height recommendations
  • Census figures are available, yet these documents are still touting 2011 figures!
  • Urban design as carried out by every other single council contains information on setbacks etc. This is non existent in these documents.
  • Residents are being drowned in paper. That is undoubtedly the intention we believe. To provide not information, but dribs and drabs that are near impossible to decipher. There can be absolutely no excuse for the lack of proper legends, clear and precise images, and language that actually is more than spin and useless jargon.

We will comment in greater detail in the days ahead.

PS: We forgot to mention that readers need to pay careful attention to those areas now marked as light green and orange. In the current planning scheme these sites are zoned as NRZ (ie 2 storeys). They have now been given the ‘green light’ for 3 storeys. Also, the section at the corner of Brewer and Thomas Street is now earmarked for 4 storeys from its previous 2 storey height limit. Please also remember that only a short while ago a public question asked council whether they intend to rezone any NRZ sites to GRZ or RGZ. These documents provide plenty of evidence that countless properties will now become 3 or 4 storeys and possibly even higher. We do not believe that council wasn’t aware of this at the time of their ‘response’ – since it definitely wasn’t an ‘answer’ to the public question.

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