PS: congratulations to the residents of Claire St, McKinnon. VCAT has refused a permit for the three storey development. We have uploaded the judgement HERE. Readers should take careful note of the member’s comments. The development was refused primarily because of developer greed and not thanks to council’s planning scheme restrictions. We also have to speculate as to the role that massive tv, radio, and press coverage had on this outcome. Perhaps a lesson for all residents? The problem of inept zoning and schedules still remains!


Mr Booth’s comments are surely warranted when we analyse what has been happening in Glen Eira. There has been a remarkable drop off in the number of applications that come up for Council decision. The reason isn’t less applications, but the fact that Council is now refusing outright via manager or through the Delegated Planning Committee process, application after application. Why? So that council can continue with its nonsense such as blaming VCAT for everything instead of doing what it is paid to do – implement a planning scheme that is worthy of that name.

We have commented numerous times here on the ridiculous decisions made by council planners. Either the application is refused, or conditions imposed that have no hope of getting up because they are not supported by the planning scheme. The latest example is a VCAT decision for 130 Murrumbeena Road, Murrumbeena. It is zoned GRZ1; is within the Neighbourhood Centre; is less than the 10.5 metre height maximum, and proposes 16 dwellings on a 880 square metre block.  Council refused the application and VCAT granted a permit. What residents need to appreciate is:

  • according to the planning scheme there was no logical reason to reject this application
  • the imposed conditions are not supported or even part of the planning scheme
  • Result? More ratepayers money thrown down the drain so that council can pretend it is doing its job properly!

Please consider the VCAT member’s comments carefully and then decide who is the real culprit – VCAT or Council? Mr Booth’s comments of ‘hiding behind VCAT’ are indeed appropriate!

Council says that local policy requires a transition in height and scale from the commercial centre to the edge of the housing diversity area. It says a three storey building on a site near the outer edge of the activity centre does not respect the transition that is sought. Consistent with the Tribunal’s findings in Pitard Knowles Pty Ltd v Glen Eira CC, I am not persuaded by this proposition. The preference for a transition in scale is one of many strategies in clause 22.07 and it has no more or less weight than the others. It must be applied contextually. There is no guidance in clause 22.07 as to where a transition applies. Is it halfway between the core and the outer boundary, or two thirds or another distance from the centre? Is it to be defined by streets? What is required in transition in height, and from what? Does the transition also apply to front setbacks, width of facades, landscaping, fencing and streetscape rhythm. The general policy is unhelpful in this matter, and Council has not prepared urban design frameworks or Overlays that might have provided greater guidance.

The little guidance on the matter of transition is provided by the distinction between the schedules to the GRZ. Schedule 2 to the GRZ is a transitional area because the maximum height in the GRZ is lower than the GRZ1. It is notable that the GRZ2 applies only to lots that directly adjoin land in the NRZ, and it applies to land of one lot in depth. Council has effectively defined the area where a transition in height and massing might be expected to be only the lots at the outer edge of the GRZ1 area.


Secondly there is no policy basis, urban design framework or DDO that requires a recessed second level, and the building would be lower than the maximum height allowable under the schedule to the zone. Requiring a setback would be arbitrary and it does not respond to any clear built form or policy directive or amenity consideration