Readers will remember that in September last year an officer report recommended the total rejection of a planning application for 6 storeys at 144 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield North. Councillors approved this recommendation. The site was zoned Commercial 1 and abutted properties zoned General Residential Zone (GRZ). Now there is another application in for a property diagonally opposite this rejected site. It is for 5 storeys and 19 apartments. The land is also zoned Commercial 1 and abuts GRZ. The officer report recommends a permit.

Now one may quibble about the difference between a five storey and a six storey development, especially when council’s track record is to lop off a couple of storeys and then to grant a permit. In the first application it did not occur. One application was rejected outright and the other application would seemingly be set to get a permit. We have to wonder why – especially when the officer reports for each application are seen side by side. The most important things to note are:

  • At grade car parking is required for the 144 Hawthorn Road application and car stackers are okay for the current application
  • The first application made a point of the need for shop car parking. The second waives this obligation.
  • Council’s Engineering department saw no problem with drainage. This does not get a mention in the second application.

Below are the comments side by side from the respective officer reports. We can only conclude once again that consistency in applying planning law is at the mercy of sheer whim, or possibly other hidden agendas.

The column on the left applies to last year’s application and the right side column is the current application.

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