The above graphic is the perfect illustration of how inept and indifferent to residential amenity this council really is. Newton and his band of willing accomplices (ie councillors) have succeeded in creating thousands upon thousands of second class citizens in Glen Eira. These residents do not deserve open space, sunlight, “diversity” of apartments and parking. In short, if people happen to dwell within cooee of an activity or neighbourhood centre then they have become the sacrificial lambs to rampant over development and, all achieved of course, in secret, and without any public consultation.

The featured map makes a mockery of any suggestion of ‘buffer zones’. Zoning a commercial centre that has no height limits, right up against a residential zone is planning gone mad and, if not ineptitude, then total disregard for those particular residents and their rights.

217 Koornang Road is a recent VCAT decision which approved a three storey building, 13 dwellings, 3 offices and waiver of car parking. Council did oppose this application, but its zoning, and therefore planning scheme was the chief culprit in the decision. The inequity of standards is made starkly real in the following statements by the member. We quote from the judgement –

“Ms Rawadi was particularly concerned about overshadowing of her north facing windows and the open space of her dwelling to the south of the subject land. In RPC architects Member Cimino, having discussed in some detail the reasonable amenity expectations of a dwelling in a Commercial 1 Zone (then the Business 1 Zone) when confronted with the redevelopment of another site in the Commercial 1 Zone to the north reached the following conclusion:

  1. Given this, it is unrealistic to expect that solar access in accordance with the relevant standard of Clause 55 be maintained to north facing windows or that the backyard will not be overshadowed to a substantial extent.
  • I agree with this assessment. The overshadowing impact of the proposed development on Ms Rawadi’s windows and open space will be significant and would not be acceptable if both properties were located within a residential zone. However, the properties are located within a Commercial 1 Zone and in that context the amenity relationship including that in respect of overshadowing which will result from the construction of the proposed building is an acceptable outcome. It should be noted that the dwelling and open space to the south will not be overshadowed for the entire year. I would expect that for approximately 5 months of the year the north facing windows of the dwelling will receive some sunlight ranging from relatively unfettered solar access at the summer solstice to more limited solar access towards the middle of the day close to the equinoxes. A greater level of solar access will be enjoyed by the open space areas”.

The take home message? For all the spin and propaganda there are no ‘buffer zones’ in Glen Eira. Even in NRZ1 zones where 2 storeys are permitted, there is no guarantee that neighbours will not be deprived of sunlight and bear the brunt of significant overlooking.

PS: Residents should also note the following. On the 30th August 2011, Council passed unanimously the following resolution:

Seeks authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit Amendment C90 which proposes to alter the Housing Diversity Area Policy and Urban Village Policy to include prescriptive guidance for development at the interface of Housing Diversity and Minimal Change areas.

In December 2011, according to the Quarterly Reports the Minister had given ‘conditional’ approval for exhibition. This was supposed to be exhibited in March 2012. The next Quarterly Report noted that the exhibition period would now be May/June 2012. Then, in the minutes of 30th November 2012, there is this buried little sentence – “Amendment will be withdrawn. The issue of transition will be addressed through the New Zones”.

No public statement explaining why this amendment was not exhibited as the resolution mandated has ever been given. As per usual, residents have been left in the dark. Whilst C90 was full of loop holes, the ensuing Residential Zones ignored much of what was then stipulated. Stealth, secrecy and keeping the public as ignorant as possible is the continued and unacceptable modus operandi of this council.