487 Neerim Road just will not go away. Instead, this site epitomises everything that is wrong with planning in Glen Eira and how this council bends over backwards to accommodate developers.

Here’s a very quick history in order to refresh readers’ minds:

  • Abuts Riley Reserve and should have been bought and added to open space in the municipality. The land was eventually sold for just over $2m about a year ago.
  • Land is over 2000 square metres and includes many significant trees
  • In September 2014 council granted the applicant a ‘building envelope’ (ie the equivalent of a C60 Incorporated Plan which means no third party objection rights!). The land was then subdivided into 7 lots – some the size of 199 metres and only one lot of anywhere near 400 square metres.
  • A Section 173 agreement was put in place to enforce tree protection and to include a ‘tree management plan’.
  • Residents at the time objected that this was all very vague.

Now, two months later we suddenly find there is a new application in which reads –

Development and use of a child care centre, construction of a side fence in the Design and Development Overlay (DDO), removal of a tree in the Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO), and buildings and works in the Special Building Overlay (SBO)

Questions galore arise as a consequence:

  • How does a child care centre fit into what was supposed to be 7 double storey dwellings alone?
  • Have the lots been further sold off and residents can expect application after application for something entirely different to what the subdivision and ‘envelope plan’ permitted?
  • What does this say about any ‘agreement’ that is signed off by council?
  • Why was this ‘building envelope’ process even entered into by council instead of a normal planning permit?
  • What of all the other so called ‘conditions’ imposed by council (ie noise reduction, drainage) – will these now also bite the dust?
  • How many childcare centres are needed? – our count is 17 already within a one square km radius

And as the final insult to injury, remembering that this land could have been purchased and added to the open space network of this municipality, we present the destruction of trees that have occurred on this site in the past 5 years. Remember that Glen Eira does not have any tree protection policy that is worth a cracker! Saving trees is certainly not in the interests of developers!

november 2014 October 2009