There are ostensibly some very strange goings on in the Glen Eira Planning Department. Up for decision on Tuesday night is an application for 7 storeys and 44 dwellings along Glen Huntly Road. 34 objections came in. The Torres report recommends 5 storeys and 33 dwellings, plus waiving of car parking for shop and loading bay.

We remind readers of a previous decision on a 6 storey Hawthorn Road application that was rejected outright. The argument there was that this height would be far too much for the neighbouring General Residential Zoning (ie 3 storeys) that abutted the site. The Glen Huntly Road application abuts NRZ properties (ie 2 storey) plus GRZ areas. It therefore seems that a three storey difference between the abutting zones is acceptable for Glen Huntly Road but not acceptable for Hawthorn Road as revealed by these contrasting comments from both reports –

Glen Huntly RoadLimiting the height of the building to 5 storeys will ensure there is a more appropriate transition in building heights between the subject site and neighbouring properties located within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

Hawthorn road – The General Residential Zoned land to the west has a known future height limit of 10.5m or 3 storeys. The transition of the 6 level proposal to the existing residential land to the west is considered to be too abrupt to the substantially single storey dwellings. This holds even if the land to the west is ultimately developed in accordance with the GRZ provisions.

But there’s more! On internal amenity (and please note that BALCONIES are equated with ‘internal’ amenity) we get the following –

Glen Huntly Road – The internal layout results in some balconies being perpendicular to the boundaries. This appears to be an architectural response to ensure uniformity with window locations and other elements within each elevation. In order to improve penetration of natural light and ventilation to each balcony, it is considered that a minimum width of 2.0m with area of 8m² should be achieved. This will provide a reasonable level of internal amenity for this commercial setting without detracting from the architectural integrity of the building.

Hawthorn RoadEach apartment is designed to maximise natural light to habitable areas in response to the east-west orientation of the site. The layout and design of the development will generally result in functional, well-proportioned dwellings with good access to daylight, direct sunlight and adequately proportioned balconies. The number of apartments with south facing balconies has been minimized and is considered acceptable for this commercial setting and the constraints of the east and west orientation of the site.

In the end we have to wonder why there should be such inconsistencies. Also worth mentioning is that the Hawthorn Road application had 15 objections and was rejected. The Glen Huntly proposal drew 34 objections and has had two storeys lopped off plus conditions imposed. We can only speculate as to the reasons behind these recommendations and wonder who perhaps knows who and whether or not North Caulfield (apart from the C60) is deemed as generally worthier of ‘protection’ than other suburbs?