GE Council Meeting(s)


Council never fails to surprise when it comes to open space. The announcement that they have purchased a site in Neerim Road, Carnegie is, in our view, a mixed blessing indeed. Whilst we have consistently argued that it is Carnegie that requires a huge investment of funding for open space, we also query the motives behind this purchase.

Residents have been repeatedly told that council’s rationale for all its open space endeavours is based on the 2014 Open Space Strategy. Well, unfortunately, this particular purchase is at odds with what the OSS recommends. The ‘expert’ recommendations were for the purchase of land on the WEST SIDE of Koornang Road. This property is on the east. See the two images below –

Points to consider:

  • Will this purchase become the $3.61 million reason to ram through the sell of council’s carpark and set the stage for 8 storey developments?
  • Neerim Road itself is hardly a ‘pedestrianised’ street. It is full of high density dwellings already. Thus access from Neerim Road itself would certainly be limited
  • Residents on the south side of Neerim are also ‘disadvantaged’ given that the OSS decries the creation of open space that necessitates the crossing of major roads.
  • The crucial question of course is what does all this say about council’s intention to first listen to the community and then to act on the community’s views. If this sizeable amount of money has already been signed off, then what prospect is there that if the community doesn’t agree with the sell off and ‘repurposing’ of council land, that residents will be listened to? Or is 600 square metres in the most noisy, and inaccessible position, plus being overshadowed by 8 storey dwellings, all that residents can hope for?
  • Finally we again question the consistency and value of any council ‘policy’ when it can function to justify any decision when council so pleases, and then be ignored – also at council’s whim and hidden agendas!

Not for the first time does it appear that those residents living in Camden ward are for more ‘privileged’ than those living in other parts of Glen Eira.  In the Records of Assembly minutes we find that council has been considering creating open space in Long Street, Elsternwick. We also assume that this was the item discussed at the closed August 2nd Special Council Meeting for which no minutes have as yet appeared!

We unequivocally support the creation of new open space. Thus far however, Camden ward has been the major beneficiary of council funds expended. Here is the list of very questionable ‘purchases’ or the mega bucks spent on under-utilised and in our view, totally inappropriate placements –

  • Aileen Avenue house for $2.1 million which is currently rented and a stone’s throw from Princes Park
  • Closing off of street between Eskdale and Fitzgibbon –another stone’s throw from Caulfield Park
  • Elsternwick Plaza – continued problems with ‘paving’ and tons of concrete
  • Proposed $1m ‘development’ of Harleston Park – meeting with strong community opposition

Now we have another proposal we assume to purchase a property in Long Street. As the map below reveals this is barely 500 metres from Harleston Park!!!! Hence the following questions:

  • Why is Camden Ward the flavour of the month when Carnegie in particular is crying out for additional open space given its continued over-development?
  • What kind of ‘business plan’ accompanies these proposals? Why is nothing published by council to justify the expenditure of millions in Camden?
  • What vested interests are possibly at play here?
  • Why isn’t the available funds spread where it is most needed, or at least equitably?

Aiden Mullen has admitted that the residential  ‘demarcation’ zones  introduced in 2013 made ‘no sense’. The critical question now is whether council’s proposals do in fact make more ‘sense’ and whether they are justified in strategic terms as well as improving residential amenity in our local streets. From what has been published thus far, the answer is an emphatic and unequivocal ‘no’.

Council has produced some ‘Quality Design Principles’ that are literally nothing more than pretty picture pipe dreams and totally unattainable given current State legislation, council’s own planning scheme and the schedules to the zones. In this post we will focus on Council’s version of ‘garden apartment’ which is really the current Residential Growth Zones allowing 4 storey development. The definition of this component, as supplied by council, reads –

The Garden apartment (three to four storeys) building type seeks to ensure that apartments located within these residential streets look and feel residential with a strongly vegetated garden setting, and a recognizably residential building form.

A nice bit of mumbo jumbo with no specifics, no detail, and not a hope in hell of achieving any of these aspirational objectives. In addition we also get this bit of humbug –

Several things are clear from these ‘principles’ and the examples:

  • There will probably be no 3 or 4 bedroom apartments in these buildings given the groups selected in the ‘housing opportunities’ section. Most will be 1 or 2 bedrooms – which does not match council’s own current planning scheme!
  • Does council really believe that any developer would constrain himself to build 3 storeys instead of the allowable 4 storeys? The past 4 years provide ample evidence of what a joke this is. Or will we eventually see some further zoning that differentiates between 3 storeys (GRZ) and the 4 storeys (RGZ)?
  • How can a ‘front and back corridor’ be maintained when nothing in the legislation mandates this beyond the current inadequate ResCode ‘standards’ that are not worth the paper they are written on and which both council and VCAT disregard repeatedly?
  • 4 storey ‘garden apartments’ are supposed to be along ‘residential areas along arterial roads’. Why then do we have a large section of Rosstown Road in Carnegie changing from 2 storeys to 4 storeys WHEN IT IS NOT AN ARTERIAL ROAD? Why do we have sites along Centre Road, Bentleigh changing from 2 storey to 3 storey, when Centre Road IS NOT AN ARTERIAL ROAD? Why do we have Truganini, also falling into this category? How much more misleading information will council put out for ‘consultation’?

The real sticking point however is the legislation and Wynne’s recent introduction of Amendments VC110 & VC136. The important points to note from these two pieces of legislation are:

  • There is no mimimum ‘garden requirement’ for the Residential Growth Zones (RGZ)
  • According to Clause 55.07, the only mention of ‘communal open space’ is when the number of dwellings exceeds 40 or more. Anything under this number would therefore be exempt according to the legislation!
  • Council’s current schedule to the RGZ zones has the mimimalist standards of 60% coverage, and 20% permeability. There is nothing in these schedules, or in the entire planning scheme, that will MANDATE anything like a ‘garden setting’. Thus is council deliberately conflating ‘private open space’ with ‘garden’ requirement in order to mislead?

CONCLUSION

Council has not provided any information as to how it will:

  • Change any of the schedules and what these changes might be. We are confident that what will happen is that these crucial ‘details’ will be held back until the very last moment when council will vote to write off to the Minister under Section 20(4) of the Planning & Environment Act and thus deny residents all objection rights, much less their final say on what will be in the final amendment.
  • Most alarming is that not council, nor any single councillor has made mention of the Minister’s latest amendments when they are so crucial to determining sound strategic planning.

At the last council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to endorse the Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy. The discussion on this item should be further cause for concern since:

  • The emphases is clearly on growth and more growth despite the Hyams’ effort to deny this
  • Bentleigh East residents should definitely be gearing themselves up for at least 6 storey developments and probably many more areas earmarked for GRZ and possibly RGZ
  • The lame excuse that up-to-date census figures are not included because council is waiting for vital employment data. Please note that this release will basically reveal figures of work by sex, age, and broad categories of employment – ie ‘professional’, etc. The only scrap of really important data would be how residents travel to work – ie walk, car, train, bus. There is literally no valid excuse why current figures have not been incorporated into these latest documents – except that they prove several things that council would like to ignore – ie less population than projected; increase in apartments standing empty; decline in residents over 75; well above state average for 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, etc. etc.

Readers should also question why the gallery is repeatedly subjected to waffle and more waffle instead of actually focusing on the documents themselves and DEBATING the issues and the recommendations.

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Athanasopolous moved motion to accept as printed. Taylor seconded.

ATHANASOPOLOUS:  said that everyone knew at end of last year that council was ’embarking’ on structure planning and this ‘document is one part of that body of work’. It was ‘a great piece of work’ and there will always be ‘some things that aren’t identified’. But ‘the community was consulted on this’. Thought that the ‘outcome, balances the community expectation’ and ‘what the state expects’. Congratulated council and officers and ‘the community for being a big participant’. Hoped that ‘we will continue to produce work like this’ to ‘shape the future’ of the city.

TAYLOR: said it was a ‘huge body of work’ with over 4000 responses to the consultation and she wanted to ‘keep this coming’ in the further consultation. There will be plenty of options that inform people so council ‘isn’t hiding’ this from people and they really want input. The ‘standouts’ were that people wanted a ‘diversity of housing’ that catered for different ‘age-groups’ and for ‘people of different ability’ and ‘different socio-economic backgrounds’ plus ‘families’. People wanted ‘density’ to focus ‘on the activity centres’ and ‘less on the smaller streets’. People also wanted to ‘maintain the heritage and character’ of places. Said that ‘we do have to wait for Census data’ since she’d seen something on social media that asked ‘why do you need to wait?’. Said that ‘we have to wait’ until October 2017 because ‘we will get more important data’ on employment, and people’s vocation, ‘work place address’, and how they get to work. ‘We can’t ignore this vital information’ and they want a complete report. Without it, the report ‘won’t be useful and it will have gaps’ and ‘won’t serve the community in the way it needs to do’. Stated that it’s ‘important to have a dynamic document that continues to respond’ to the community and ‘this important data’ that they currently don’t ‘have access to’. The 4 structure plans are really important in that council has a ‘clear roadmap’ of ‘where we’re going’.

HYAMS: thanked submitters. Said this isn’t the end of a stage because the document ‘will be changed’ because ‘of further census data’ and more feedback from ‘the other consultations’. Called the document a ‘set of’ ‘guidelines’ that is the ‘skeleton’. Said there ‘were some changes from the original’ and these were that ‘the word vibrant was taken out’ since ‘that word did seem to cause a fair bit of angst’ and that people wanted their centres to be ‘lively’ but also ‘safe’ and ‘sedate’. Student housing also went in as an additional category of housing. This was important because people were thinking we ‘are allowing student housing when we’re actually not’ in certain areas. Caulfield South and Bentleigh East were also changed and ‘redefined as larger neighbourhood centres’. This is ‘basically the same as a neighbourhood centre’ but ‘maybe a bit more development’. Worth noting that in terms of shop floor space that Bentleigh East is ‘larger’ than Glen Huntly but has got less public transport and that’s why ‘it’s not the same’ but ‘it is probably appropriate that it be differentiated’ given its commercial size. Thus the housing ‘might be more 4 to 5 storey shop-top’. ‘We shouldn’t be seeing this as an attempt to encourage growth’. ‘We don’t want growth but have to accept that growth is happening’. So they have to ‘channel it in the most efficient way’. The plan therefore ‘sets out where employment opportunities should focus’ and ‘where different types of housing’ should go. So ‘if you’re looking for an absolutely prescriptive plan for every house in Glen Eira’ this isn’t it but rather a ‘broad brush’ stroke.

SZTRAJT: Said that council can accept or reject development applications but ‘at the end of the day other bodies such as VCAT’ ‘make the decisions’. ‘If we don’t provide these types of guidelines’ then council is ‘opening ourselves up to unelected officials who don’t live in the area’ making decisions ‘about what’s appropriate’ for us. ‘This is a way’ for the community to ‘tell us not only where development should happen’ but ‘what it should look like’ and ‘how it should be integrated into public transport’.  Said that ‘this is the ideal’ that it’s a plan ‘where we (say) what we want for our community and as a community’. Said he is ‘proud’ of what has ‘gone into’ the document and it is a ‘very impressive process’ of consultation.

MAGEE: said this is ‘all about building a much stronger local community’. The document moves council forward but ‘it is not the end of the journey’. This has to work with Plan Melbourne as well as the community/council plan. ‘This is something that will continue to evolve’. Said he had talked with a resident who had moved into Carnegie and she was ‘absolutely amazed’ what a great ‘city’ Glen Eira was. She hadn’t thought she ‘could afford’ to live in Carnegie ‘next to a railway station’ and a ‘really vibrant place’ as she ‘called it’. Council didn’t ‘supply’ the building but council did make sure that the building ‘complied with out planning scheme’. Council has to look at ‘where people live and where people work’. Said ‘I would hate to see Glen Eira purely as a residential city’. It has to be a place where people can work and not have a ‘one hour commute’. Said it’s been ‘nice’ to hear positive comments coming from residents especially around the Bentleigh and East Bentleigh area on ‘what’s happening in the city’.  There are ‘several tiers’ to the structure planning and this is ‘one tier’. Looking forward to further feedback and currently it is ‘8 to 2’ on the feedback – 8 positive and 2 negative.

DELAHUNTY: said it was an ‘incredibly’ important and ‘detailed piece of work’ and that ‘I’ve learnt a lot’ like what to call ‘that bit around Caulfield Station’ since ‘we’re all calling it different names’ and ‘what goes in a framework and what stays out of a framework’. Strategic planning is ‘sometimes about patience and getting the levels right’. So this ‘sets up the framwork’ for the future in how the ‘city looks and reacts’. Wasn’t ‘sure that I completely agree with Cr Hyams’ in saying ‘we don’t want growth’. Want ‘growth that we will be able to manage it in a way’. ‘We don’t want necessarily to shut the gates’. Victoria is the ‘recipient of the great benefits that growth has given’ but a bit ‘overwhelmed’ in how to ‘manage that in people’s best interests’. ‘We can’t shut the gates in Glen Eira’ and the plan is how to ‘manage the look and feel’ of growth. Agreed with colleagues that the strategy has been commented upon and had changes as a result of consultation. Thanked residents and ‘officers for their work’.

ATHANASOPOLOUS: thanked councillors for explaining ‘what this strategy means for you and what you got out of the process’. Said that one of the ‘most glaring’ stats he’d seen was that 80% of residents worked outside the municipality. Thought that ‘number is quite high’. Said that ‘retail is fantastic’ in most places including neighbourhood centres. Other forms need to be ‘encouraged’ and that the city is ‘craving’ for this. ‘great work’ and thanked the community ‘for being involved’.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

Item 9.3 – Draft Structure Plans

Here is the ‘discussion’ that occurred in regard to the Bentleigh, Elsternwick and Carnegie concept structure plans. We ask residents to read the following carefully and to consider these points –

  • What is the justification for the proposed ‘trade offs’? Where is the evidence to support this?
  • The absurb reduction of everything to the most simplistic and illogical level that is not a fair representation of the facts – ie development versus no development (when the issue is appropriate development); ‘vibrancy’ versus ‘safety’ etc. etc.
  • No reference to the impact of Wynne’s VC110 and its likely influence on dwelling stock
  • No explanation as to why and how 12 and 8 storeys were plucked from the air and barely rates a mention – only 2 out of 9 councillors even bothered to refer to this ‘proposal’
  • No explanation as to why so much stands in opposition to resident suggestions and responses, and
  • The countless contradictions inherent in most councillors’ comments
  • The explicit acknowledgement that the introduction of the zones has been a disaster – and remember who were the current councillors who allowed this to go through in secret – Hyams, Magee, Delahunty, Esakoff!

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Motion to accept moved by Davey and seconded by Silver

DAVEY: called it a ‘fabulously detailed piece of work’ and ‘accessible by anyone who reads it’. It ‘also makes a lot of sense’ and is ‘very detailed’ on housing design/ Apologised for losing her voice and handed ‘it over’ to others.

SILVER: said there are 2 documents – the ‘quality design principles’ and then the structure plans themselves. The latter ‘allows us to control’ the heights in commercial zones and they also ‘have to outline the sorts of residential development’ they want. They’ve set up a ‘typology’ and designated the designs they want into the surrounding streets. The draft structure plan is a ‘bit more interesting because they are looking at the exact proposals’. These aren’t ‘set in stone’ because they are going out for community consultation. The car park proposals for Staniland Grove ‘I have some concerns about’ also green space for where the library currently is. Had some concerns particularly ‘about the impact on traders’ with the Staniland car park. Thought that ‘some of these ideas will enhance the amenity of the area’ but they are ‘of course open to alternate ideas’.

ESAKOFF: said councillors consider all of Glen Eira and not just their own wards. And ‘this item will impact’ all of the municipality. Hoped people do ‘look at these guidelines in great detail’ and respond. She ‘agreed and endorse(s) the majority’ of recommendations. Everyone wants to see good buildings and nice gardens, but there are some things that ‘I have some reservations about’. An example is ‘avoiding the secluded garden’ in front yards. Asked ‘what if the front of a property is the part that faces north?’ Said that ‘surely the environmental design would take precedence over a line item like that?’ So if someone does have a property that ‘faces north that they won’t be allowed to have’ a front secluded garden. We want ‘that northern sun’ especially in winter. In regard to ‘reducing the number of driveways’ which allows more on street car parking but ‘there may be instances where we really don’t want that hard and fast rule’ because there could crop up a safety issue where ‘forward exiting might be preferred’. ‘So there needs to be a little flexibility’. She has some ‘reservations’ about the ‘universal designs’ and she would ‘like to provide for people who actually prefer to live in buildings that (don’t) allow dogs’. ‘So why on earth would we force every building to allow animals?’ ‘We need to have those choices’ about living in a pet free building. We also ‘don’t want everything built in Glen Eira to look the same’. Asked Torres if these were only ‘examples’. He responded that they were only examples. On the commercial areas ‘I agree that we should protect the character of our strips’. Access and good parking ‘are vital’. She is ‘not convinced’ about ‘allowing up to four storeys extra on the height limits’ and wants to hear from the community on this. ‘I would like to see a community benefit within’ the set height limits. Didn’t think that the community would support these extra heights and thought that 6 to 8 storeys was high enough. But ‘there may be exceptions to that rule’ like on a ‘highway’ where it ‘affects nobody’. ‘But across the board I have my reservations’. In regard to car parking didn’t think that ‘more is the solution in isolation’. Said that people want easy access whether it’s to stop off and buy one thing why should they have to go to one central high rise car park half a km away. Parking needs to be ‘convenient’ and ‘scattered’ throughout the shopping strip. This is especially true for the elderly and disabled.

If council wants the strips to thrive and grow then it won’t happen unless ‘we provide easy access to our shops’. Gave examples of other strips where clear ways have ruined shopping strips like Bridge Road, and if there isn’t enough parking behind, then these will die. Concluded that she’s raised her kids, looked after aged parents and knows how important it is for parking in shopping strips.

ATHANOPOLOUS: doesn’t want to give his view because ‘it is going out to community’ for their input. Is ‘sure there will be more questions from the community’. If council can get another 4500 people ‘participating’ that will be ‘fantastic again’. Said that on something like this there are ‘multiple stakeholders’ from government to residents, traders ‘pulling in a million different directions’ and he ‘felt it in my body with my arm going this way and my other arm going that way’. ‘Our job is to try an appease’ everyone. Unlike business where everyone sits down and thrashes it out, this ‘can’t be sorted out’ like that. Gave example of residents saying they want a ‘vibrant city’ but also a ‘safe’ one and to ‘be safe is to be safe in numbers’. So ‘all these terms can be quite contradictory’. We want to ‘improve’ the city but ‘not expand the activity centres’  whether it is ‘up or out’. ‘How do you achieve an increase in employment without increasing the potential for employment in the area?‘ With car parking you increase ‘congestion’ by having more car parks. Council traffic reports will concentrate on this and not just on transport but on movement in the centres. Comparing what’s currently in place and what is proposed ‘you will see a much better outcome’, especially ‘how sensitive’ council is to those areas that ‘currently have heritage’. ‘In one section you won’t get any development even though it is in a growth zone’ but ‘across the street you will get a triple storey apartment’. ‘Is that really where a three storey apartment should be opposite a heritage’ place? or ‘should we look at something more like terrace housing?’ Asked residents to ‘critique’ the documents but also consider ‘all the work that has to go in to appease all the opposing’ points of view.

HYAMS: said there will be two more consultations and he is 100% sure there will be changes. Said there will be ‘concerns’ about 8 storeys in Bentleigh in the transition areas after ‘we’ve gone and said we want height protection’ so ‘there’s no doubt that will be controversial’. Said the question is whether ‘we think it is worth that’ to safeguard streets like Loranne and Mavho, Bendigo, Daley and Godfrey rather than looking at a ‘one size fits all in terms of geographic’ layout? We have to consider ‘whether we need to make that tradeoff’ or whether there is enough room for our ‘projected development’. Said these are ‘the questions’ that will come up.  This is the same for the 3 storey proposals along Centre Road. That’s ‘also a quid pro quo’. In Elsternwick ‘should the strategic site go all the way to Hopetoun?’ or should it remain in ‘heritage shops as it is now’?

‘Overall, this does represent an improvement’. With these changes activity centres will be ‘more pedestrian friendly, more green space’. Agreed with Esakoff on parking. So ‘these are all things we need to look at when we get down to the detail’ because traders want parking for their clients. Thanked submitters thus far.

MAGEE: at the end of this council period there will be another 8000 new people living in Glen Eira and by 2027 there will be another 20,000 people. That ‘worries’ him about how to accommodate the new and the current residents. ‘How do we transition Bentleigh, East Bentleigh’ when it hits 160,000 people living in the city? Some residents have said that Glen Eira ‘has already got too many people’. So ‘put up a sign no vacancies – that will never happen’. ‘I welcome the people coming into Glen Eira’. ‘I want to see a Bentleigh that’s growing’. The plans are a ‘damn site better than what was there before’. In Mavho, you ‘could build a 4 storey on one side of the street and 3 storey building on the other’. ‘We have now got that consistency in there’. Said there are ‘obviously trade offs’ behind Hodgkins Reserve, ‘there’s a group of houses there’ that will be 3 storey and a ‘trade off in Centre Road’. ‘This gives us a lot more certainty’ and ‘what’s really exciting is the requirement for diverse housing’. Said that ‘this doesn’t frighten me’ at all and he ‘welcomes the opportunity’ because we are in a ‘great place like Bentleigh’ with a railway station and ‘lots of facilities’ and here is the ‘opportunity for people who cannot afford’ houses. Said that when he decides to move out he will build double storey town houses on his land and sell them ‘for as much as I can possibly get’.  He can see himself living ‘near a Bentleigh, McKinnon or Poath Road railway station’. Said the document is a ‘step forward’ and that it has to ‘address the amount of people’ who will come to a city that ‘is growing evolving’ and becoming a ‘metropolis’.  It ‘worries me that we’re not accommodating and looking far into the future’ but the ‘document is starting that process’.

SZTRAJT: said there would be different opinions. Said that he was elected as a councillor ‘to protect Glen Eira’. He ‘loves Glen Eira’ and lived ‘here most of my life’. ‘If it were up to me I would like all development to occur outside of Glen Eira’. Said he is ‘trying to restrict development in Glen Eira’. He views each application on ‘its merits’ but ‘overall’ ‘my vision’ would be a city that ‘halts a lot of this development’. His ‘problem’ though is that when not a councillor he got angry at council, and when they refused an application he got angry at VCAT for overturning council’s decisions. That’s why he decided to become a councillor. ‘So I am standing here conflicted’ because ‘I believe I’m standing here to protect what we have right now’ but ‘I’m smart enough to know’ that ‘wishing it’ is so is ‘not going to happen’. So ‘rather’ than letting development happen because of State Government imposed decisions, or VCAT’ developments are ‘happening’. The ‘problem’ is that development is ‘happening in a way that is unstructured’ and that the community does not ‘have control over it’. So if a development goes up next door and ‘we think it’s unfair’ then ‘we don’t have a leg to stand on’ if it goes to VCAT they don’t look at just Glen Eira, they are ‘looking at all of Victoria’. They say that ‘Glen Eira has to take its share’. ‘I think that Glen Eira is taking more than its share’ but that doesn’t mean that VCAT will agree with him. ‘So Glen Eira is going to have to grow’. ‘I would much prefer our community to be holding the rein’ by ‘making the decisions on what type of development we want to see’. Said there’s ‘plenty’ in the documents that he disagrees with and they have argued about it. But ‘this decision tonight is about saying ‘we want the community’ in on this. Said ‘we have to be honest’ and if development is happening then ‘let’s get ahead of them’. ‘This is the time we want community involvement’ because ‘we’ve got the chance to say this is how our city should look’. If council doesn’t say ‘where’ development should go it will be ‘imposed on us and will happen in residential side streets‘. Urged people to ‘support us in this by giving your feedback’.

TAYLOR: ‘genuinely and pleasantly surprised’ about ‘how clever’ this document is so that ‘instead’ of having development concentrated ‘down those smaller streets’ it will be ‘concentrated in our activity centres’ and ‘arterial roads and not so much’ in local streets. This will be more ‘palatable’ but she doesn’t want to be ‘presumptive’ so ‘let’s hand this document over to you’. On congestion ‘we will have the integrated transport plan’ that will ‘integrate into the structure plan’.

DELAHUNTY: two ‘massive pieces of work’, ‘very exciting concepts’, ‘controversial’. Said she can see ‘multi level car parking’ at the back of shops to ‘activitate’ the centres and ‘exactly what the traders were telling us they wanted’.

DAVEY: said this is a ‘strategic document’ and is a 15-20 year document. This will ‘change everything’ how people use the centres. ‘We don’t always agree’ but ‘ultimately it is not for us’ but the community’s views.

MOTION PUT AND PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Every single aspect of zoning within Carnegie has been turned on its head and the suburb opened up for more and more development. We repeat that this makes an absolute mockery of the interim height amendment just gazetted a few months ago – much less all of the comments from the overwhelming majority of residents basically pleading to ‘stop the development’ and to stop ruining their suburb.

Presented below are two screen dumps which show what Amendment C148 created plus the height limits for each of these Design and Development Overlays – ie DDO9 1 AND 2 were for a preferred height of 7 storeys and DDO3 was up to 4 storeys. Please note that all of these preferred heights are now well and truly exceeded according to these ‘concept plans’ – and not by a storey or two, but by up to 5 storeys.

Below is what is proposed –

As with the Bentleigh ‘concept plan’, countless properties are now in the firing line for higher and greater development. Here’s a summary –

  • Properties currently zoned as Neighbourhood Residential (NRZ) along Rosstown Road suddenly find themselves as candidates for 4 storey buildings. (the light green in the above).
  • The same applies for those homes at the end of Chestnut running past Walnut (yellow in the map below
  • The sites coloured blue in the following map now indicate homes that are currently 4 storeys, but according to this document can have potentially 12 storeys! (ie the ‘urban renewal devopment’ sites). Please also note that Chestnut Street is heritage/nco terrain, so we have the potential for 12 storeys to hover over 1 and 2 storeys!

It gets a lot worse too –

  • Koornang Road, Truganini Road homes are now also candidates for 3 storeys, whereas they are currently zoned for 2 storeys (yellow)

Whether or not the apparent change along Mimosa from 4 storeys to 3 will make much difference remains to be seen given that there are already at least 2 major 4 storey developments to be found there.

As with the Bentleigh plans, the unbelievable changes occur in those red and orange sections marked for 12 and up to 8 storeys (‘community benefit’) – remembering that council’s mantra was a limit of 7 and 6 in these areas. There’s plenty more that vigilant residents should be able to pick out. This is merely a short summary of the proposed changes that does no favours for Carnegie and portrays once again planning that is incompetent, dictatorial, and totally out of step with community expectations.

Set down for decision Tuesday night is an application for a 6 storey building with 33 units, 6 shops, basement car parking and the waiver of parking spots for the shops and visitors, plus a loading bay. The site is along McKinnon Road between Wheatley and Jasper. The officer’s recommendation is to approve a permit.

We highlight this item for several reasons:

  • McKinnon is one of the smallest ‘neighbourhood centres’ – now officially an activity centre. Yet according to council’s planning scheme it sits well below its so called ‘urban villages’ of Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick. Thus we have the insanity of council’s application for height limits of 5 storeys in Bentleigh and now six storeys is viewed as acceptable in McKinnon!
  • Readers should also remember Amendment C143 where councillors changed an advertised amendment from Mixed Use Zone of 4 storeys in McKinnon Road, to a zoning of General Residential Zone (3 storeys) because they argued that 4 storeys was too much. Community opposition does work wonders!
  • This application is supposed to have 6 shops ranging in size from 53 square metres to just over 90 square metres. McKinnon has no bank, no supermarket, no butchers, no fruit shops, no clothes shops, and nothing really except cafes and more cafes. How much employment will be generated by a 53 square space is debatable – especially since council’s consultants predict a decline in ‘retail’ of thousands by 2036.

We have commented time and again on the lack of transparency in council officer reports for applications. This report is no different –

  • Instead of highlighting the number of one bedroom, two bedroom apartments proposed, the report lumps together the number of 1 and 2 bedrooms so that it is impossible to determine the percentage of one bedroom compared to 3 bedrooms. Worse still is the inclusion of totally illegible plans. When council spends millions on IT systems, surely it can provide images that are capable of being read. Is this deliberate?
  • The application has a deficit of 9 car parking spaces for its shops and 2 spots for visitor car parking. The recommendations on shop parking are far from transparent when we get sentences such as – Given the location of the site and proximity to residential areas, it is recommended that all visitor car spaces (6), and at least two car spaces for each commercial space be provided onsite. What is not spelt out is that this only totals 12 parking spots when the legislation required 16. Thus a waiver of 4 spots and no mention of loading bay or any reason for this largesse!
  • The traffic department’s view is also bereft of justification. All we get is this single sentence – Transport Planning is satisfied with the number of customer car parking spaces that has been provided for the shops
  • The best however is to be found in this incredible paragraph that is meant to justify everything but which conflicts completely with the current planning scheme –

The proposal has an overall maximum height of 19.96 metres. While the proposal will undoubtedly be taller and more robust than adjoining existing development, it is considered that it represents what policy expects in terms of change given the size of the site, the emerging built form in the immediate area and its strategic location. 

Where in the planning scheme does ‘policy’ envisage buildings higher than the major activity centre of Bentleigh?

Where in this area is there another building of this height?

Why is it acceptable to have a six storey building towering over a three storey building at its rear, when council first refused a permit in Caulfield North because it was to be a mere 2 storeys higher than its surrounds?

Nor are we talking about a really huge site. It is barely 1150 square metres and of course is not mentioned anywhere in the report!

Nothing changes in Glen Eira’s pro-development agenda. Officer reports are abysmal, deliberately vague and most importantly either conflict with the planning scheme itself or provide practically nil justification for the final recommendations!

 

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