There’s simply no other way to say this except that residents are being screwed! and deliberately so. The ongoing rhetoric (aka spin) was that the structure planning process was finally being undertaken to provide more protection and certainty for our neighbourhoods. The only certainty we can see is that the vast majority of proposals for our activity centres are there to lend a further helping hand to developers.

The release of the latest documents makes a complete mockery of the Bentleigh and Carnegie interim height amendments – where the vast majority contained ‘preferred maximum heights’ instead of mandatory anyway. But council has really surpassed itself this time. Instead of 5 storeys preferred for a large part of Bentleigh we now have the possibility of 8 storeys and potentially hundreds of properties now available for 3 storey development when previously they were zoned for two storeys. Carnegie is even worse. Instead of 7 storeys preferred, large areas are now set for 12 storeys and some of these directly abut 4 storey zoning sites. No explanation for these changes have been forthcoming. No strategic justification has been forthcoming. No accounting for public open space, parking, infrastructure, costings, time frames, or anything has been provided. This isn’t planning. It is a deliberately deceitful and incompetent process designed to benefit both political and financial interests.

In this post we concentrate on explaining what is in store for Bentleigh according to the published information. We’ve uploaded again their ‘height’ diagram –

What is proposed

  • Both sides of Centre Road running from Thomas St to Jasper Road will now be available for at least 3 storey buildings. (coloured light green in the above map). These properties are currently zoned Neighbourhood Residential. The sites marked yellow on the following planning map show what is about to happen to this zoning and how many properties are impacted in just this strip of road.
  • Properties running along Jasper road and abutting the Reserve will now also be rezoned to accommodate 3 storey dwellings from their current zoning of 2 storeys (NRZ)
  • The ‘heritage shops’ at the corner of Thomas and Centre Roads can now be 4 storeys
  • Mitchell and Robert Street appear to have half of the lengths of their streets now in the 3 storey category. This is changed from the previous 4 storey – however the three storey limit is vastly expanded and now includes many properties that are currently in the NRZ area.
  • The above also applies to Mavho and Loranne. Problem is that many in these streets are already 4 storeys so the horse has well and truly bolted.
  • Council also has these fascinating categories of ‘Terrace Townhouse – 2-3 storeys’ and Terrace Townhouse/apartment – 2-3 storeys). We wonder how council can control the building of a ‘townhouse’ as opposed to the 3 storey building of apartments?  Another wonderful loophole for developers?
  • On heritage we have the superb get out of jail clause that states ‘site specific’. Exactly what does this mean? Will the current RGZ zoning for Bendigo and Daley streets suddenly become NRZ since this is categorised as ‘1-2 storeys’? We won’t hold our breaths on this one since the properties there will undoubtedly not meet the ‘site specific’ requirements!
  • The real concern is all those areas marked as ‘strategic sites’ – ie corners of Jasper and Centre; Horsely and Bleazby. (northern sites marked yellow on the map below). These are earmarked for anything up to 8 storeys depending on the wonderful vague criterion of ‘providing community benefit’! Translated that means flogging off public land for commercial and residential development. Please also note that some of these areas directly abut 2 storey zones. Quite incredible when we get Amendments that wanted a maximum of 5 storeys a few months back throughout the centre and now council decides (with no strategic justification) that 8 storeys could be acceptable!

CONCLUSIONS

When a council repeatedly ignores resident aspirations as Glen Eira has done for years and years and follows its own secret agenda(s) then democracy is really dead. More importantly, when not a single word is provided to justify any of the conditions contained in these draft plans then questions must be asked as to the real agenda and what deals have already been signed off on? Surely it is the role of councillors to ask questions, demand facts and figures and most importantly to represent their communities. This they are spectacularly failing to do on a regular basis. In short, residents are being screwed good and proper via this sham of consultation and its results.

The real questions that must be answered are the same old ones we’ve been carping on for ages –

What is ‘capacity’?

Why the emphases on more and more development when Glen Eira is already one of the densest municipalities in the state and is well and truly doubling if not tripling its required dwelling quotient?

How much is infrastructure going to cost and who will pay?

Finally, by way of contrast here is a screen dump from a recent Moonee Valley council meeting where lo and behold their councillors had the gumption to ask some very pertinent (public) questions! In Glen Eira timelines change every week. In Glen Eira we have no idea how much the implementation of even a fraction of these proposals will end up costing. Nor do we know who will pay. Would similar questions even dawn on our all so compliant councillors? And would they in fact even be told the truth?

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