The prize for the most inane, devious and arguably dishonest Councillor comment of the year goes hands down to Hyams in the ‘discussion’ on the Caulfield Village amended Development Plan.

For someone who is so meticulous about quoting ‘planning law’ back to residents time and time again, it is literally inexcusable for a councillor to make the following comment – ‘I don’t know that there needs to be that diversity in every site – there needs to be diversity across Glen Eira’. . So even though there will be many one and two bedroom places there are ‘family sites around the area’ so that’s the diversity.

Not only is this a flagrant misrepresentation of council’s own Planning Scheme it is in total opposition to State policies – which we are sure that Hyams knows. Clause 55 of the State provisions reads:

To encourage a range of dwelling sizes and types in developments of ten or more dwellings.

Developments of ten or more dwellings should provide a range of dwelling sizes and types, including:

􀂃 Dwellings with a different number of bedrooms.

􀂃 At least one dwelling that contains a kitchen, bath or shower, and a toilet and wash basin at ground floor level

It would seem that Hyams and Pilling would stoop to any level in order to defend their previous decisions on C60 and the development plan! Readers should also take careful note of the nonsense presented by Okotel. Below is the full ‘discussion’

Pilling moved to accept the motion ‘as printed’. Lipshutz seconded.

PILLING: said he chaired the planning conference and that this has a long history going back to 2011 and the C60. Went through the details of the amended plan – ie increase in dwellings but that the ‘building envelope doesn’t change greatly’ even though there are ‘some changes in setbacks’ and ‘increases the size of balconies in some apartments’. These are all ‘relatively minor changes’ and the ‘main change is in the makeup of apartments’ – reduction of three bedroom and increase in one/two bedroom apartments. ‘This is a relatively minor change’ given the overall number of dwellings. Said he was ‘happy to accept the recommendation as printed’.

LIPSHUTZ: said that he ‘looked very carefully’ and because of the more car spaces thinks that this amended plan ‘is a better outcome’. Increased dwellings ‘wouldn’t cause any detriment’ to people. He thought it is ‘appropriate and I am supporting it’.

DELAHUNTY: was against the amended plan for same reasons as she was against the original plan – lack of social housing when the Incorporated Plan ‘quite unequivocally’ said that it would provide social housing. With the changes in ‘housing stock’ that the amendment proposes, this gives the developer a ‘great opportunity’ to provide for social housing – but it doesn’t do this. ‘It is absolutely against every value that I hold’ that social housing isn’t provided ‘in a variety of manners’ on such a huge site. Said ‘they can’t’ put social housing until the very last precinct goes up and ‘then shove some very cheap apartments on top’. ‘Social housing should be provided at all levels’ of the development. Here’s the opportunity to do this, but they haven’t and they won’t ‘until someone forces them to’.

HYAMS: said there will be more apartments, thus more people, but the ‘building still stays’ within the parameters of the incorporated plan. Said that objectors raised the issue of ‘lack of diversity’ but ‘I don’t know that there needs to be that diversity in every site – there needs to be diversity across Glen Eira’. So even though there will be many one and two bedroom places there are ‘family sites around the area’ so that’s the diversity. As for social housing ‘that is a requirement’ for the end of the development but ‘I don’t think there was a requirement’ for social housing in ‘every single part’ of the development. Didn’t think that it was ‘appropriate’ for council to ‘move the goal posts’ now in regard to social housing. He was ‘sure this would be enforced in due course’.

ESAKOFF: said there were ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ and that initially she thought that 442 dwellings ‘was sufficient’ but when 3 bedrooms were the ones ‘becoming’ one and two bedroom she noted that there were some ‘improvements’ in balcony sizes and setbacks and that agents had said that 3 bedroom apartments ‘don’t sell’. She asked Torres ‘how many’ three bedroom apartments ‘have been removed’ from the original plan.

TORRES: ‘I can’t find the precise number’ but he thought that there was a ‘noticeable reduction in three bedroom’ apartments.

ESAKOFF: said that leaves about 26 3 bedroom apartments but in terms of ‘percentage isn’t fantastic’ but still better than in other developments across Glen Eira. Was still ‘tooing and froing’ on the motion and was happy to listen to what others had to say.

SOUNNESS: thought that council has a ‘weakness’ in that they don’t have a ‘model’ for housing in diversity areas. Having ‘large apartments’ to ‘accommodate families is a very good thing’. Thought this would end up being student accommodation and that 3 bedroom apartments ‘should be protected’ and he was voting against.

OKOTEL: supported the motion because there are ‘design benefits’ like increased setbacks and ‘improved amenity’ for some of the apartments. Like Esakoff she was ‘concerned’ about the reduction of three bedroom apartments but she accepts that these could ‘be difficult to sell’ and ‘nobody wants to see vacant dwellings’ especially when ‘there is such a need for housing’. ‘It’s better that apartments are built and purchased’.

LOBO: ‘people accepted’ the first application ‘althougn they were not happy’ and now ‘we are trying to rub vinegar on their wounds’. Issue isn’t about an extra 21 dwellings since they are increased ‘to maximise profits’.

MAGEE: agreed with Delahunty. Said that ‘over half of the apartments do not provide sufficient open space’ and nor is there the ‘appropriate diversity of housing’ nor social housing.

PILLING: benefits of increased carparking. On profit council has to look at the ‘planning process’. 26 3 bedroom places ‘are a plus’ but’ not for us to determine’. Said that council ‘can encourage but we can’t actually have that law’. And this also applies to ‘social housing’. This will ‘happen’ at some point and ‘it’s up to the developer to provide it’ even though council might like it in ‘every part of the development’. Just because council doesn’t ‘like’ it isn’t enough reason to vote against. Council has to make its decisions on ‘good planning’ processes such as the planning scheme, incorporated plan and development plan.