Below we feature the ‘discussion’ from Tuesday night’s council meeting on a 3 storey development in Centre Rd. We certainly would not dignify this by employing the word ‘debate’. Please read and laugh at the nonsense continually perpetrated on residents under the guise of ‘informed decision making’!

Pilling moved motion to accept. Seconded by Okotel

PILLING: noted that this was housing diversity, 3 storeys, 2 shops, and car parking will mainly be ‘out of hours’ so there’s a waiver for car parking. ‘All in all, this is a very modest proposal’ for an area that ‘can take’ extra ‘diversity’.

OKOTEL: agreed with Pilling and that the proposal is for 8 dwellings and 2 shops in 3 storeys but the ‘original application’ had been for 4 storeys but ‘because of council’s concern’ this was now reduced.  ‘Given the other buildings nearby’ of 4 or more storey developments so this is ‘not an overdevelopment’ and if it went to VCAT ‘it would be highly unlikely’ that the permit was refused.

LOBO: said he visited the site on two days and the proposal was ‘good’ and no objections, there is a ‘major concern’ of the laneway which is used as a shortcut to go to the pub for ‘glasses of beer’.  People from neighbouring municipalities also use this laneway to avoid the busy intersection. So residents ‘will suffer’ from both noise and ‘space’. 2 other developments are on the cards and there will be about 17 or 18 ‘rubbish bins’  from ‘businesses’ ‘kept near the parking area’. There will be a ‘lot of stench because food smells’. Talked about the need to ‘find ways to have a compromise’ and that the planning department had told him that the laneway is not council property.  The question then becomes ‘what to do with the traffic’ that uses the laneway? ‘I’m not against the development but I’m against the process’. ‘We have to get process right’ because this makes council ‘transparent’. If the process isn’t right then ‘it is assumed we are not transparent’.

MAGEE: ‘it’s not a nice development’ and they are ‘taking out one shop and squeezing on 8 developments’. ‘But it is in the right position’. To answer Lobo, Magee said that there is a ‘waste management plan’ and on process ‘I think the process is right’ because of what they’ve implemented which is a ‘very stringent process’. If council wants to ‘encourage development in shopping strips’ he can live with 2 shops instead of one, even though he ‘wouldn’t be racing out to buy one of the units’ . For anyone living close to shopping centres then they ‘know what happens in the laneway’. Admitted that the extra traffic would be ‘imposed on those residents’ living close by and when they bought their properties 10 or 20 years ago they ‘certainly did not see this happening’. In 30 years he’d never ‘gone up that laneway once’ and certainly not to get a ‘glass of beer’. He will support the application because ‘you can support it without liking it’ and ‘developer does have the right’ to go for ‘the maximum’ and ‘the planning scheme allows that’. So that’s the policy and he will ‘support it’.

HYAMS: as a ward councillor here he needed to say something and he supported most of what’s already been said. Stated that the question that councillors have to ask is whether the application ‘complies with the planning scheme’. If yes, then ‘we approve it’. Since the plans now remove one storey it won’t ‘impose’ on height and bulk. The waiving of visitor and retail parking spots is ‘justified’ because the spot now for office is only one and replacing this with a ‘shop won’t make any difference’. On the visitor spot, well ‘people tend to have visitors mostly when’ the shops are already closed and there’s ‘more parking around’. Said he’d been down there and there’s timed parking until 5.30 so that when visitors do come that time period will have expired and they can park there. The problem with the laneway will be solved by ‘screening’. Waste management plan will take care of bins and there will be a construction management plan too so the laneway won’t be blocked. ‘We’re told’ that overshadowing ‘won’t affect solar panels’. Dentist next door was worried about impacting on their business but ‘that’s not part of the planning process’. Said there was an agreement between developer and objectors about installing skylights and ‘they can agree if they want’ but it’s ‘not something by law that we can put in the planning permit’. So ‘I don’t necessarily have to like it but if it fits into our planning scheme’ then it will be approved.

PILLING: in response to Lobo’s concern about ‘amenity’ reiterated that there is a waste management plan and construction management plan which will ‘try to protect residents’. Laneway and managing traffic is long term and important and that’s ‘an ongoing’ process. There are problems with ‘traffic volumes in side streets’ so ‘that’s a long ongoing issue’. Application ‘does comply with planning scheme’ so ‘on that basis I will certainly be supporting the motion’.