The officer recommendation is 4 storeys and 23 units instead of 25 units. Worthy of pointing out is that for this application there were 2 planning conferences held since first time around not all objectors were notified, and one objector received his letter the day after the meeting was held! The excuse and the culprit? Australia Post of course and not the inefficiency of council!

Then there’s the so-called ‘justification’ for recommending a permit. Please consider this extract as just one example:

The development does not satisfy some of the numerical requirements of ResCode in relation to street setbacks, side setbacks and walls on boundaries, site coverage and permeability. However, the design of the development will provide for an appropriate transition from the adjoining commercial properties to the north and east, to the residential sites to the south, particularly when the recent approvals and recommended changes are taken into consideration.

COMMENT – note the terminology used. ResCode is no longer referred to as ‘prescriptive’ as has occurred in recent applications, but has morphed into ‘numerical requirements’ that can be overlooked at will by council when it suits their purpose. The farce gets much worse however when it is admitted that side, and street setbacks do not meet these ‘requirements’; nor does site coverage and permeability. But it is still okay and ‘appropriate’ to grant a permit. What we are left with is the completely spurious, nonsensical assertion that ‘design’ and the imposition of questionable ‘conditions’ is enough to compensate for the failure to protect the most minimal residential amenity demands of ResCode. How many ‘standards’ can be breached before an application is refused outright? How many more times will VCAT have to inform council planners that insisting that the developer puts up a sign regarding residential parking permits is not on and does not belong in the formal ‘conditions’ part of a permit?

Even more disconcerting is the inclusion of the developer’s argument into a document that is supposed to be ‘neutral’, ‘objective’, ‘unbiased’ and which relies solely on ‘planning law’. Whilst the ‘argument’ does not win out, we question why it is even there, and especially why it features far more prominently and extensively than resident objections.

The rear dwelling of 38 Mavho Street is provided with two north facing ground floor habitable room windows that are within 3 metres of the boundary of the subject site. The development does not comply with the minimum requirements of ResCode for these windows. The applicant has indicated that one of habitable rooms is provided with a secondary light source and both rooms are not considered to be primary living areas. It is also noted that the existing boundary fence is 2.5 metres high. On this basis they have sought a variation from the minimum setback requirements of ResCode.

Planning conferences according to council have the prime objective of hearing resident and developer views and (if possible) reaching consensus and compromise. Below is what this developer had to say. No attempt made to reach ‘consensus’; no offer of ‘compromise’. In our experience this is par for the course given that developers know they are on ‘easy street’ in Glen Eira!

DEVELOPER – – said that the site was surrounded by commercial zones and that there is a ‘brand new’ 3 storey apartment block ‘across the road’. Site is in Residential Growth zone so allowed 13.5 metres height so this is ‘the best place’ to be allowed to develop to ‘that density’. On car parking they are meeting the standards of 1 car park per dwelling but asking for a reduction of 3 visitor parking because ‘the history and the facts are on our side’ since ‘no visitors ever use basement car parking’. They hired a consultant to do a ‘study on general impact’ of parking and traffic. Consultants are ‘respected’ by councils, ‘traffic engineers’ and ‘are well respected by VCAT’. What they propose is going to have a ‘minimum impact’. Doesn’t matter if it’s 25 apartments or 5 apartments or 100 apartments ‘it’s irrelevant’ since it’s ‘what development does to the neighbourhood’ and their study shows that the impact is ‘minimal’.