Apologies for this long post – but it’s important!

Item 9.2 for Tuesday night’s council meeting exemplifies in our view the continued ‘con job’ that this administration foists on residents and probably most councillors. Here are some very illuminating facts:

  1. The bogus Planning Scheme Review of 2010 resolved to review all policies
  2. In June 2012, Amendment C102 first reared its ugly head
  3. GE DEBATES at the time provided the following commentary –

Agenda items for Tuesday night feature another 2 Planning Scheme Amendments. We will concentrate on the Non-Residential Uses in Residential Areas.

Generally when council introduces an amendment the argument is that it is necessary to fix up zoning issues, or that many of the clauses/phrases/wording in the existing planning scheme is repetitious, not clearly expressed, the legislation has changed, etc. etc. Our analysis of the proposed Non-Residential Uses reveals an entirely different picture. Yes, some changes are due to legislation but many represent nothing more than a watering down of previous conditions and thereby providing far more opportunity for developers to set up in residential areas. We have no problem with the position that amenities such as doctor surgeries, vets, etc. should be located where people live. What we do object to is the chipping away at conditions that help safeguard the existing amenity of residents.

Below we feature a table which presents side by side the current clauses and phrases from the existing Planning Scheme and what is proposed. Many of the changes are indeed subtle – just a word here and there – but the ramifications of these changes are immense. Please note that we have not covered everything – just the main concerns such as location, car parking, and protection of trees.

EXISTING POLICY PROPOSED   CHANGES
To encourage the development and location of new non-residential uses in areas   which are compatible with the residential nature of the area and comply with orderly and proper planning principles.

 

Proposed development sites abut a main or secondary road and have vehicular access from a service road or side.   Other locations may only be considered where it can be demonstrated that residential amenity will not be compromised.

 

 

The   proposal be located within easy walking distance of public transport.

 

 

Existing dwelling stock be retained in preference to purpose built facilities.

 

 

Sufficient car parking be provided on-site for all users.

 

 

 

 

 

 

he  standard car parking requirement will only be reduced where the Responsible Authority is satisfied that the area is supported with suitable levels of public car  parking and public transport.

 

The retention of any significant trees or landscape features be a high priority in the design.

 

Where  car parking is in the front setback, a generous landscape buffer between the car park and the street frontage be provided.

 

 

 

Where car parking areas abut residential dwellings, an adequate landscape buffer (suggested width of 1.5m) be provided and be heavily planted with large shrubs and trees.

 

Stormwater runoff directed into garden areas to reduce watering and demand on drainage infrastructure.

To  encourage the development or extension of non-residential uses, in suitable locations which comply with orderly and proper planning principles.

 

 

Encourage the   location of non-residential uses in “preferred locations” including main or secondary roads and on corner sites with vehicular access from a service or side road. Consider other locations where it can be demonstrated that residential amenity will not be unreasonably   compromised.

 

DISAPPEARED   and replaced with: Discourage the location of non-residential uses on local streets within Minimal Change Areas   (as defined in Clause 22.08)

 

Retain existing dwelling stock, where practical, and any associated extensions/alterations maintain or enhance its residential character.

 

To ensure that adequate provision is made for on-site vehicle parking, bicycle parking and (where necessary) drop off/pick up areas for all non-residential uses/s in a safe manner.

Car parking facilities be provided to the side or rear or basement of the premises, unless the use is in a preferred location abutting main or secondary roads (as defined in Clause 21.12) or in   a Housing Diversity Area (as defined in Clause 22.07)

 

Reduced on-site car parking must be supported by a Traffic and Parking Report

 

 

Retain any high priority significant trees  or landscape features within the design where possible.

 

Ensure that where car parking is proposed in the front setback (in limited circumstances where the use is in  a preferred location), a generous landscape buffer between the car park and the street frontage must be provided.

 

Where car parking areas abut residential dwelling, an adequate landscape buffer (minimum width of 1.0m) be provided and be heavily planted with large shrubs and trees.

 

 

DISAPPEARED

At the July 2012 Council meeting an unanimous resolution was passed to DEFER THE AMENDMENT. Here is the what Tang, Hyams, Esakoff, and Lobo stated at the time –

Tang moved that this item be deferred. Esakoff seconded.

TANG: Started off that the two amendments on the agenda came out of the Planning Scheme Review and that for the previous Amendment (rezoning) he was ‘satisfied’ with the ‘strategic’ justification and ‘merit’. Although ‘there may be some strategic merit in the suggestions’ for C102 there are also come ‘concerns’ and Council should be ‘prudent’ in ‘trying to address those concerns before proceeding’. Said that a resident had pointed out the ‘blog’ and that the moderators ‘were certainly very dedicated’. Tang went on to state that he was concerned about the ‘accuracy’ of the blog  and ‘balance of the views expressed’ but in a ‘democratic society’ people are permitted to express their viewpoint. He then went on to state that as a ‘community representative’ he was happy to ‘review’ those views  and if they had support to ‘bring them to council’. Said that he wanted to be 100% ‘satisfied’ about the concerns raised ‘in relation to the watering down of restrictions’….’expansion of the breadth of the policy….’and descriptions…..around significant trees’. ‘Council should consider what else it can do….before proceeding’.

ESAKOFF: Agreed but with ‘slightly different reasons’ to Tang. ‘ I would like some more time to work on this….’

LOBO: ‘it is a good idea to defer this’….’many (of the changes) are in favour of a developer’

HYAMS:  Said he understood the ‘aims in redrafting in making it more streamlined….(claimed he hadn’t read the blog) ‘for some time’ and that he’d come to the conclusion himself that ‘there were concerns with this’ such as putting in Housing Diversity as ‘preferred’ locations. Stated that he would be ‘more comfortable with some further consideration’.

TANG: ‘acknowledged’ that Hyams brought up ‘similar concerns’ to his own.  Said that the only reason he mentioned the blog is that ‘it is so often used ….as a vehicle for hate…spreads innuendo….or inaccurately assesses council’s performance….without checking the veracity of the underlying information’. Went on to state that ‘in this instance….the blog has done a good thing’ in comparing past policy with draft suggestions. ‘That’s fine and in fact very useful in the democratic debate’…..’regardless of how councillors have come to the conclusion I just hope they will take on board concerns’.

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/the-whiff-of-revolution/

https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/chip-chip-chipping-away/

So now, AFTER A 2 YEAR DELAY, Amendment C102 makes a comeback! Has it changed? Has it addressed all the concerns that were evident in 2012? Not by a long shot. Admittedly some things have changed as a result of the New Zones – but the basics, such as protecting ‘significant trees’, setbacks, drainage, and many of the other points we raised are still valid, relevant and represent a bonus to applicants and not residents!

That of course raises the very serious question of:

  • Where is corporate memory, and especially the memory of councillors who (pretended?) at the time that they weren’t satisfied with the proposed changes? Since the 2012 and 2014 version are practically identical, and so is the officer’s report (word for word) why did they permit this amendment to be advertised as it stood? And the $64 question – how will they vote? Surely if it wasn’t good enough in 2012, it can’t be good enough now?
  • Or was this all smoke and mirrors – with knowledge of what was to come via the new zones legislation and the 100 metre extension around activity centres for uses without permits? There can be absolutely no excuse for a delay of 2 years from Version 1 to Version 2, when there have hardly been any changes whatsoever except the removal of the car parking measures and objectives.
  • Do the powers that be simply rely on poor memory so that they can ram through whatever accommodates developers rather than doing their jobs of trying their utmost to protect neighbourhood amenity? It would seem so we believe.
  • The councillors ‘excuses’ this coming Tuesday should be a highlight!

Residents and readers also need to take a very, very close look at Amendment C120 (open space levy) and how this has been manipulated. We will comment in detail on this in the coming weeks.