GE Open Space



The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its latest figures for building approvals in local councils. The numbers are for a six month period – July 2017 to December 2017. As can be seen from the table below, only Monash has had a greater number of permits granted. However, once we take into account Monash’s size (81 square km) and its proportion of houses to apartments, then Glen Eira still leads the pack in terms of increasing density, lack of open space, minimal single house replacements, and most mind boggling is how our ‘neighbours’ can have less than half of the developments that are occurring in this municipality.

Given these figures it is unbelievable that our council is paving the way for more and more development via its current planning strategies rather than attempting to seriously curb this growth.


Listed below is a sample of applications that have recently come into council. All are still awaiting decision. We have not included applications which are seeking amended permits for higher or more apartments, or any where decisions have already been made. Nor have we included the multitude of applications for two double storeys.

These few examples total well over 300 potential new apartments. Given council’s record at VCAT, and its pro-development agenda, we assume that the vast majority will be granted permits.

What these numbers call into question is the validity of council’s proposed structure planning and its claims about projected housing requirements that are supposed to justify the expansion of our activity centres and the rezoning of countless sites. Housing id forecasts tell us that McKinnon for example, is supposed to ‘average’ only a handful of new dwellings (18-27) per year over the next 20 years. In just a few months, McKinnon according to these applications is already up to 60 multiple dwellings. If the stats are so wrong, then it follows, that the planning is also way out of touch with what is occurring. What makes the situation even worse is that our neighbourhood centres, such as McKinnon, are still years away from having any structure planning completed!

Here’s the list –

15 Dudley Street, Caulfield East (nrz) – 8 STOREY, 106 STUDENT DWELLINGS – AREA 474 SQUARE METRES

43-45 Kokaribb Road CARNEGIE – 3 storey, 15 dwellings

32 Kokaribb Road & 259-261 Neerim Road CARNEGIE – 4 storey, 45 dwellings

331-333 Neerim Road CARNEGIE – 4 storey, 26 dwellings

82 Truganini Road CARNEGIE – 6 dwellings

304-306 Koornang Road CARNEGIE – 6 dwellings

11 Beena Avenue CARNEGIE – 3 dwellings

7-11 Belsize Avenue CARNEGIE – 4 storey, unknown no. of dwellings

4 Lake Street CARNEGIE – 3 storey, 8 units

38 Toolambool Road CARNEGIE – 4 x 3 storey

13-15 Hamilton Street BENTLEIGH – 4 storey, 27 dwellings

17 Gilmour Road BENTLEIGH – 4 dwellings

1 Heather Street BENTLEIGH EAST – 6 dwellings

45-47 Kangaroo Road & 33 Howe Street MURRUMBEENA – 15 dwellings

81 Dalny Road MURRUMBEENA – 4 dwellings

18 Railway Parade MURRUMBEENA – 3 storey, 17 dwellings

11 Perth Street MURRUMBEENA – 5 dwellings

8 Elm Grove MCKINNON – 3 storey, 6 dwellings

23 – 27 Prince Edwards Avenue MCKINNON – 18 x three storeys

12 Glen Orme Avenue MCKINNON – 3 x three storeys

16 Glen Orme Avenue – 3 dwellings

15-17 Station Avenue MCKINNON – 3 storey, 16 dwellings

27 Station Avenue MCKINNON – 4 x three storeys

40 Station Avenue MCKINNON – 3 dwellings

39 Lees Street MCKINNON – 4 dwellings

27 Draper Street MCKINNON – 3 dwellings

238 Booran Road ORMOND – 3 dwellings

3 Waratah Avenue GLEN HUNTLY – 8 dwellings

123 Kambrook Road CAULFIELD NORTH – 4 dwellings

204-206 Balaclava Road CAULFIELD NORTH – 5 storey meditation centre

1042 Glen Huntly Road CAULFIELD SOUTH – 3 storey, 9 dwellings

56 Hartington Street ELSTERNWICK – 3 dwellings

1 Riddell Parade ELSTERNWICK – 3 dwellings

2017 has been interesting to say the least. 5 new councillors elected in 2016 brought hope that much which was amiss in Glen Eira would finally be rectified. Alas, whilst there has been some ‘progress’, there is still a long, long way to go.

Our ‘summary’ –

The Positives

  • Telecasting of council meetings – finally
  • The promise of a tree register – finally (although this could go much further and be part of the planning scheme rather than the Local Law)
  • ‘Community participation’ sessions at council meetings
  • Ostensibly, increased ‘community consultation’
  • More concrete action on heritage – ie application for Dandenong Road property

The Negatives

  • The (deliberate) drip feeding of information on structure planning
  • Extension of one year on work completion resulting in more opportunity for inappropriate development
  • The refusal to listen to the majority of community views – ie Harleston Park basketball court; height limits for Carnegie, Elsternwick; Virginia Estate, etc
  • Inundating residents with masses of documents released simultaneously
  • Lack of detail and justification in these documents – ie no ‘discussion papers’ that objectively present the pros and cons of each issue
  • No explanation as to why the Local Law has to wait until 2019 for review & no mention of notice of motion
  • Support or silence on State Government’s so called ‘reforms’ on planning
  • ‘Consultations’ that fail to ask the ‘right’ questions
  • Repeated refusal to answer why, when Glen Eira is exceeding its housing ‘quota’ by miles, this council is determined to facilitate more and more development
  • Continued and significant decline in ‘community satisfaction’ surveys and yet no action on the perennial problems – ie parking, traffic management
  • Majority of open space levy goes to existing open space and NOT THE PURCHASE OF ADDITIONAL OPEN SPACE. Plus the recent change to reporting on open space expenditure where monies spent on ‘improvements’ no longer feature together with the levy income.

The ensuing months should reveal whether or not these councillors are prepared to listen and then act on what the community has so emphatically stated in regard to structure planning and what their priorities are.

We would also like to thank all our readers for their support and wish everyone a fabulous 2018!

PS: Here’s a photo sent in by a resident to show what happens when loading bays are waived. (1) truck parks in ‘no standing zone’ (2) parks next to white line forcing other cars into oncoming traffic (3) no safe ‘sight lines’


An application for a 13 storey, 115 or 117 unit development at 233-247 Glen Huntly Road & 14 Rippon Grove, Elsternwick raises innumerable questions about ‘consultation’ within Glen Eira and the quality of officer reports.

The recommendation is for a 12 storey building and the reduction of units to 111. VCAT has already approved a 10 storey development.

Below is a screen dump of the current zoning. What this means is that there is the potential for a 13 storey development sitting alongside 4 storey developments, according to the zoning. Council sees no problem with this – in line with some of its current ‘structure plan’ for Elsternwick! Readers should note that the officer report does NOT include this map, rather it is an aerial shot that reveals nothing about zoning! Deliberate?

The vast majority of the proposed dwellings are 2 bedroom. On page 11 of the officer’s report we find this bullet point:

High density residential development is acceptable at this location; however the building should incorporate a more diverse mix of apartment sizes. The design is overly dominated by two-bedroom dwellings and does not contribute adequately to diversity in the centre. 

Then on page 17, ‘compliance’ with the Planning Scheme on housing diversity is listed as – The application consists of a good mix of dwelling sizes’. The point here is that this is supposed to be a response to DWELLING DIVERSITY, and not simply DWELLING SIZE! When the proposal is for 2 one bedroom, 4 three bedroom and 111 two bedroom dwellings for a total of 117, then what ‘diversity’ is achieved? It’s also unclear as to whether we are talking about 115 dwellings or 117 dwellings since this number alternates throughout the report.

On parking we find council is again very generous in what it is willing to waive.

The most disturbing aspect of this report however is the following  –

Council is in the process of preparing a Structure Plan for Elsternwick and Quality Design Guidelines that will potentially inform future planning controls such as local policy, zoning and overlay provisions for the area. These are currently undergoing the second of two phases of consultation before going to Council for adoption in early 2018. In these plans, the site is designated within an area that is identified as being suitable for 8-12 storeys in height.

Whilst the Structure Plan is not at a stage that can influence the decision making process for this application, the recommendation to delete one floor will result in a building height in keeping with the expectations for this area. Notwithstanding, based on the existing character and built form outcome in the area, a building at 12 storeys is considered appropriate.

Everything in the above suggests that council has already determined that 12 storey height limit will remain in its structure planning and that for all the guff about ‘consultation’ and listening to the community, this aspect is set in concrete and will not change.

Finally, we repeat that council’s record in lopping off one or two storeys for cases that end up at VCAT is appalling. They have not been successful in even one such instance that we are aware of. Thus get ready for 13 storeys in Elsternwick and others that will be even higher given this precedent!

PS: We’ve done some double checking. According to the Minister for Planning’s Amendment VC104 and dated 22/8/2013 the maximum height limit in the NRZ is 8 metres if there is no height limit in the associated schedule. On the very next day, council’s Amendment 110 was gazetted. There were mandatory height limits in the schedules for the General Residential Zone (10.5m) and for the Residential Growth Zone (13.5m). Council relied on VC104 for its continuous claims about ‘introducing mandatory heights for all residential land’. Strictly speaking this claim, made time and time again, was and is untrue. The Mixed Use Zoning (considered ‘residential’) did not have height limits imposed – and neither did the schedule to the NRZ. On 23rd March Wynne gazetted his VC110 which has the effect of over-riding VC104 and the height limit there is 9 metres. Thus Glen Eira is now stuck with a 9 metre height limit in its NRZ and even higher if the land slopes. Readers should also note that Wynne has carefully refused to consider ‘basements’ as part of the 2 storey limit and allows basements to protrude up to 1.5 metres above ground level. This has the potential to therefore yield a three storey dwelling in the NRZ!


Two incredible officer reports feature in the agenda for Tuesday night. Both are examples of what lies in store as a result of Wynne’s VC110 and the removal of a 2 dwelling maximum for the Neighbourhood Residential Zones. The applications are for 2 Newman Avenue and 3 Rigby Avenue, both in Carnegie and practically abutting each other. The officer recommendations are to grant permits for both with some minor tinkering on conditions.

The details of the applications are:

Rigby Avenue – 4 double storey, 1 single storey

Newman Avenue – 4 double storey, 1 single storey

What is literally astounding about these reports is the failure to even mention Wynne’s VC110 and its ‘requirement’ for the mandatory ‘garden area’. Instead, the reports focus exclusively on the existing planning scheme where large allotments MAY be considered for more than 2 dwellings per lot.

So, if council is determining applications based on its CURRENT PLANNING SCHEME, then the following is unlawful, devious, and inaccurate! BOTH applications exceed the current 8 metre mandatory height limit. VC110 specifically stated that if councils have different heights included in their schedules, then the schedules apply – at least for the next 3 years! Here is a screen dump of the legislation. Please note: ‘must’ and the fact that Glen Eira does have a schedule!

Instead of honouring its own planning scheme, these reports state –

Rigby Avenue – The maximum overall height (at 8.4m) is well within the 9m height limit of the zone.

Newman Avenue – The maximum overall height (at 8.8m) is within the 9m height limit of the zone. There appears to be a minor encroachment to the apex of the roof, which can be addressed by conditions.

Adding salt to the wounds for the Newman Avenue application is the recommendation to waive one car parking spot with this nonsense – The requirement for one visitor car space is proposed to be waived. This is considered reasonable given there will be one on-street car space maintained at the front of the site. 

There are plenty of other dispensations provided that reveal the inconsistency of this council’s application of its own planning scheme. More to the point, we find it reprehensible that a report can be written which deliberately includes false and misleading information!

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