Amendment C25 introduced the housing diversity/minimal change carve up of the municipality. There was consultation and much opposition to the proposed amendment. We present below extracts from the officer’s report (12th August 2002) following the consultation period. Readers should note how much was promised and in the space of 13 years how little has been delivered.

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Several residents expressed concerns about the lack of formal notification of the Amendment. They felt it was such an important issue that residents especially in the housing diversity areas should have been individually notified. They were also concerned by inadequate consultation during its development. A few residents and Glen Eira’s Save Our Suburbs representative requested that the exhibition period be extended.

Response

A number of people suggested that those in housing diversity areas should have been individually notified. C25 affects the whole municipality, not just people in the housing diversity areas. It is therefore considered that all residents should be treated equally in terms of notification.

Residents felt that there was a lack of information on how the housing diversity areas and minimal change areas were determined. They also felt that some suburbs have more housing diversity areas identified than others. Some residents suggested that housing diversity areas should be based on the suitability of individual streets rather than large areas.

Submitters expressed strong concerns that despite the stated aim of housing diversity areas to encourage single houses and multi-unit developments, housing diversity areas will not have a diversity of housing as the areas would be targeted by developers and single dwellings would be removed.

Residents were concerned that C25 focussed on the protection of the minimal change areas at the expense of he housing diversity areas. They felt that C25 would lead to the destruction of neighbourhood character and historical values in their area. Multi-unit development would be completely out of character and mean the loss of period and historic houses. Residents identified that many housing diversity areas featured a range of period housing (eg California bungalows, Victorian, Edwrdian) that contribute to the history and character of their area. Some submitters felt that important heritage buildings were not recognised by C25 and could be destroyed.

Response

A radical change in character is not envisaged in the residential areas of the housing diversity areas. The most intensive development is sought in the commercial areas where apartments and shop top housing is envisaged. In the residential areas of housing diversity areas, the policy is intended to allow for some multi-unit development to meet Glen Eira’s housing needs whilst ensuring that it does not:

  • Exceed prevailing building heights
  • Dominate the streetscape
  • Adversely affect the amenity of neighbouring properties
  • Result in the loss of landscaped front yards.

Apartment buildings would be be encouraged in these areas however in some locations, depending on the size of lots, orientation and surrounding development, developments such as duplexes and townhouses may be appropriate. Not all lots in the housing diversity areas will be suitable for multi-unit development. It is unrealistic to expect a 100% ‘take up’ rate in housing diversity areas. Some areas because of their existing conditions may experience very little change at all.

Further work is required to recognise the specific opportunities and issues, develop preferred character and issues for each neighbourhood centre. The Housing and Residential Development Strategy recommends that structure plans and urban design frameworks be developed to manage the specific issues of each housing diversity area. These would examine issues such as the type, form, scale and character of development and would be implemented through further Planning Scheme Amendments and other actions. The development of the structure plans and urban design framework will require wide-ranging consultation with traders, developers, residents and the wider community.

In terms of the siting and design controls which would apply to the residential areas in housing diversity areas, ResCode would apply,. Designating these areas as areas of housing diversity does not mean that Council would entertain leniency beyond the provisions in ResCode ie any reductions in open space, car parking standards etc.

….structure plans and urban design frameowkrs are planned for housing diversity areas. These will be developed in consultation with residents to develop an overall plan for each housing diversity area that ensures that development outcomes are both appropriate and sympathetic to the character of the area.

The Housing and Residential Development Strategy acknowledge that parking and traffic are issues in the city and should be addressed through a number of measures outside the Planning Scheme. These include parking precinct plans in the commercial centres and the surrounding residential areas and the investigation of local traffic management plans in residential areas.

The submitters also felt that the amendment will have substantial effects on character and amenity of housing diversity through the loss of significant trees and vegetation. The submissions felt that the Policy did not provide enough safeguards to prevent the loss of trees and vegetation. It was suggested that a significant tree register should be pursued.

….there are a number of improvements that can be added to the policies relating to housing diversity areas to ensure development better reflects existing character. At present, the policy does not clearly link proposed development to existing character. In the long term it is proposed to develop a preferred character for these areas in consultation with the residents.

Proposed changes –

Adding reference in the Housing Diversity policy (22.05) and Residential Character policy (22.06) ‘Policy basis’ section that makes it clear that a radical change in character is not envisaged in the residential areas of the housing diversity areas. Development should respect the existing character unless a preferred character is specified.