Item 9.1 of the last council meeting is another example of amendments going horribly wrong for residents and wonderfully well for developers. Here again is the essential background in order for readers to accurately interpret what occurred. We also ask that special attention be paid to the ‘arguments’ of the various councillors.

  • As with the Virginia Estate amendment, this Glen Huntly Road land has a long, long history going back a number of years. It was originally zoned ‘industrial’ so an application was made to rezone the land and put an Environmental Overlay on the property. Quite coincidentally we assume, the property next door to this site also submitted an application for a ‘recycling plant’ that dealt with plastics and other toxic materials. What was quite incredible about this is that council for some time actually entertained the idea of having a recycling plant right next to future residential land and surrounded by residential land – in total breach of its planning scheme, state legislation and plain old common sense. As was stated at the time – in Glen Eira’s planning department the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. (See:
  • The application for rezoning became known as Amendment C80 and also included a permit application for 5 storeys and 62 dwellings. Readers should note that the current sought after, and accepted, amendment is for 6 storeys and a whopping 117 dwellings. Thank you to the new zones!
  • The amendment went to a Planning Panel, but after much messing about, council decided to drop the development application and have the panel only consider the rezoning to Business2 zone. The introduction of the new zones which automatically changed Business zones to Commercial zones were already well known – yet council still persisted in wanting this area zoned Commercial.

Here are the most important facts:

  • The site IS NOT in council’s view a Major Activity Centre. It is on the extremity of the Glen Huntly Neighbourhood Centre and surrounded by people’s homes to a large degree – hence development should never be at this scale.
  • Rezoning to commercial, means that all control that council might have had for any developments on the site has largely been lost since Commercial zoning has practically no restrictions.
  • Council, if it had wanted to really protect its residents, should have opted for rezoning to either a Mixed Use Zone or a Residential Growth Zone – both of which, via the schedules, would have given Council and residents a far better outcome than what has now happened – ie the approval of a 6 storey development with 117 units!

Please consider what each councillor has said in what follows. It largely provides a synopsis we believe of every single thing that is wrong with planning in Glen Eira. – IE – not one single word on internal amenity; not one single statistic on traffic/parking; not one single response as to why the planning scheme itself is ignored by the recommendation and the vote!

Delahunty moved motion to accept with changes to required setbacks and increase in visitor parking. Seconded by Pilling.

DELAHUNTY: thanked residents for their ‘help in determining best use’ of the site and they provided ‘very well thought out’ arguments and reasons as to why the original application wasn’t the ‘best use of commercial space’ and not the ‘fairest use of the land’ for neighbours ‘at the back’. The final changes ‘make quite a difference’ to the development so that the ‘mix’ of commercial to residential is ‘more appropriate’. Said that the street will have ‘more intense development’ with more ‘vacant’ land close by. Thought that ‘given the zoning’ council had limited the ‘amenity impacts’ for residents and is ‘fair’. ‘Hoped that the applicant and the residents can accept that’. Said that the overshadowing argument put up by neighbours was reasonable since ‘it’s not fair’ that in certain hours their ‘backyards and frontyards are in shadow’. ‘Commended’ the motion and thought that this is where ‘sensible development needs to go’.

PILLING: ‘endorsed’ Delahunty and said that there’s a tramline, close to station, and in a Commercial zone and this is ‘where we want development to go’. Delahunty’s changes ‘do go a fair way to addressing residents’ concerns’. The setbacks are in a ‘wedding cake tier’ so would help in reducing visual impact. ‘In an ideal world’ they would prefer less height but ‘we can’t predict when things will be developed’ and they have to ‘look at each application as they come in’. Said that ‘in the future’ there would be ‘increased development’ between Grange Road and the railway line. Thought that ‘this development is in keeping with what we are expecting there’. Changes do address concerns of residents ‘but maybe not all concerns’ and overall thought that ‘it is a fair compromise in this situation’.

ESAKOFF: said she didn’t ‘like this application at all’ and ‘regardless of zoning’ the site is a neighbourhood centre, and ‘not even in the centre’ of this centre. Thought that ‘something of the size and scale of this is not appropriate’. There are only a ‘handful of properties’ in the area that ‘have an industrial or commercial type use’ and ‘outside of those properties it is residential’. Didn’t think that the conditions improve amenity for one surrounding property but ‘certainly not enough’. Although on a tramline, council isn’t ‘seeing six storeys’ along tramlines but ‘seeing it at 3’. Said that 3 ‘and even at four would be a more appropriate outcome’.

OKOTEL: supported Esakoff and thought that the conditions imposed ‘goes someway’ to ameliorating the concerns. But for this site ‘this is an overdevelopment’. To both the North and South it is a General Residential Zone so ‘we should be seeing a transition’ and the proposed 6 storeys ‘doesn’t’ support this transition. Thought that with just one building between commercial and general residential zone isn’t enough to provide the necessary transition. In terms of visual bulk, Okotel said that even the officer’s report admitted that with the setbacks, the 4th, 5th, and 6th storeys the building would still loom large. So properties from the front of Glen Huntly Road would ‘be faced with an enormous building’. Stated that a reduction in floors ‘would be appropriate so we would have that transition’.

LOBO: Called the development ‘a monstrosity’. Said that people know his views on the new zones so ‘I won’t be a broken record’. Said that Carnegie is ‘going, going, gone’. The suburb has been ‘ripped’ apart in terms of privacy, ‘devaluation of their homes’, but not a government concern even though ‘people have spent their life savings’ on their homes.

SOUNNESS: in his view the ‘reasons to refuse’ are whether it is ‘excessive in the area’, whether there is ‘sufficient transition’ to the residential areas, if it’s a ‘good use of the land’ and ‘whether it fits in with strategic objectives’.   Said he would ‘find it offensive’ it there was major overshadowing, and if the design lacked ‘character’. He would also ‘find it offensive’ if the developer hadn’t provided enough space for landscaping but he has so ‘it’s another tick’. Even though 6 storeys is ‘a large substantial building’ but with the setbacks ‘you won’t see’ it as this height. The impact for residents ‘will be much reduced’.

HYAMS: started by saying that this site is for development because it is on a ‘fairly large block’ and in a Commercial zone on ‘a tramline’. But ‘the question’ is about intensity of development. If there is a commercial zone then the greatest intensity ‘belongs in the middle of the commercial zone’ and further out it should be less. Here, it’s only commercial ‘on one side of the road’ and is opposite single storey homes, so 6 storeys and even 5 storeys ‘is too much’. He would ‘accept four storeys but nothing more’.

LIPSHUTZ: ‘concurred’ with Sounness. Said he ‘went down and had a look at the site’ and when first seeing the plans thought that 6 storeys was not on. But now with the steepled design it will ‘look like a three storey building’. Parking is ‘always’ one of his concerns and Delahunty’s conditions ‘are appropriate’. Setbacks also make it not ‘as bulky nor intrusive’. Another concern he had was overshadowing but ‘that’s been dealt with also’.

DELAHUNTY: said she ‘understood’ why other councillors might not support the application and conditions imposed. Reiterated that the overshadowing concerns that neighbours brought up at the planning conference have now been ‘dealt with’ by the conditions. With the Special Building Overlay on the property the application had to be changed and this has also been done satisfactorily. Said that she wanted to ‘touch’ on the financial statistics about homes in Carnegie. ‘Everyone wants to live in Carnegie’ and this ‘gives that dream (ie owning their own home) to more people’. Some live in ‘beautiful, beautiful suburbs’ and ‘it’s right that we share this with others’. ‘this will allow other people to live in and around Carnegie’. Said that there also hadn’t been ‘any devaluation of homes up to this point’ and wouldn’t be ‘post this point’.