Residents should not be surprised that the latest MRC effort to increase the size of their development is fully supported by the officer’s report. The report itself is typically and conspicuously short on detail, justification, and analysis. Instead there is the much repeated phrase that the various council departments “are satisfied’ with this amended development plan.

In summary approval is sought for:

  • Increase in dwellings from 442 to 463. The increase is achieved by the creation of many more single bedroom units and the reduction of 3 bedroom units. The final makeup will be – 282 will be one bedroom; 155 will be 2 bedroom and only 26 units will be 3 bedroom. That means that 60.9% of this ‘village’ will comprise single bedroom dwellings. And the Rocky Camera comment? – The mix is considered to satisfy the Incorporated Plan.
  • Car parking basement spaces will increase from 478 to 489. Without visitor carparking of course!
  • On the one hand we are told that there will beIncreases to the size of balconies for a number of apartments. However, the reality is that the vast majority of these balconies will actually be REDUCED in size thanks to council’s previous ‘cave-in’ at the VCAT mediation hearing. This of course is also presented quite disingenuously when Camera writes – The developer subsequently appealed a number of conditions of the Development plan approval to VCAT. On the 15th September 2014 VCAT issued approval of the Development Plan. This approval altered a number of conditions issued by Council such as minimum balcony sizes and the design of the basement accessway. We remind readers that this WAS NOT A VCAT FULL HEARING. It was ‘mediation’ and as such, council was under no obligation to accept the conditions proposed by the MRC. They had the option of refusing and going to a full VCAT hearing.
  • The upshot of this is that the following configurations for balconies are now permissible –12 apartments with less than 6 square metres of balcony; up to 150 with between 6 to 7 square metres and up to 75 with between 7 and 8 metres. Hence 51% of this ‘village’ will have balconies that don’t even match what council stipulates for housing diversity areas.

There is one sentence in this report that deserves special mention. It reads – The Amended Development relates to Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the Residential Precinct and Mixed Use Precinct. Whether or not this is a ‘typo’ or actually means that these new ‘conditions’ will also apply to the other precincts is anyone’s guess. If the latter then surely it is incumbent on Council to be open, transparent and inform the community exactly what is going on!

In summary we have no qualms in calling this another cave-in to the sad and sorry saga that is Caulfield Village and all Council dealings with the MRC.