There are several important items up for decision next Tuesday. Here is the first one –

Item 9.1 – Public Acquisition Overlay on 53 Magnolia Road, Gardenvale

Purchasing land to expand public open space is commendable. In this instance we can only shake our heads in bewilderment at the continual inconsistency and contradictions that are the hallmarks of planning in Glen Eira. Please note:

  • 53 Magnolia Road had a public acquisition overlay. It was removed in January 2008 (process for amendment started in 2007)
  • At the time the following statement was made in support of removing the overlay – Gardenvale Park is a small neighbourhood park. The addition of this small house block (497m2) will not greatly increase the park’s size. Gardenvale Park, as it has been developed, serves the needs of the local community and does not need to be extended in area. (Minutes of 27th November 2007)
  • The decision to proceed was made in camera on the 1st May 2007. The formal resolution read – Crs Robilliard/Lipshutz – That Council – a) Seek authorization from the Minister for Planning to prepare a planning scheme amendment to remove the Public Acquisition Overlay from 53 Magnolia Road, Gardenvale.
  • Now in 2015 we get the story of how deficient in public open space Glen Eira is, and how this amendment fulfills the Open Space Strategy. Forget the fact that Council and residents knew in 1987 and again with the 1998 Open Space Strategy that Gardenvale was lacking in open space. The 1998 Strategy went even further in specifically recommending that Council maintain the overlay on this property.

There were two submissions at the time of the proposed removal. One of the submitters included the following comments –

Procrastination by the Council over more than 10 years has seen the building deteriorate to the extent that the only likely course of action for the current owners or any near future owners would be to demolish the building. It is barely habitable. Whereas, if a decision had been made by Council earlier, the building may have been saved and the streetscape and entrance to the Park left relatively unaffected. The Council has also missed the opportunity to acquire the property at a reasonable cost and thus expand the park.

Now, 8 years later, Council decides that it does need to reimpose the public acquisition overlay. Of course, Council will now have to pay 2015 prices and not 2008 prices. Further, why couldn’t this proposal have been included as part of Amendment C120 (open space levy) as other councils have done given the very short time frame between the two?

House prices in the area are well over $1,000,000. What were they in 1987 and again in 2007?