The following reports come from 2 agenda items – (1) comments on the VCAT decisions, and (2) the Bent St application. We have decided for this first item to highlight some of the comments made by Magee. The reasons should be obvious!

MAGEE: said he spent the day at VCAT with residents of Claire St., McKinnon and that the judgement shows that VCAT ‘does have the capacity’ to look at the Glen Eira Planning Scheme and listen to what the residents of Glen Eira ‘have said they want in the area’. The Planning Scheme has ‘been put together over many years with vast community consultation’ (sniggers and jeers from the gallery). Said he represents the 140,000 people and not the few who claim to do so. Continued that the planning scheme was voted on by all councillors. It then ‘went to the Minister’ who approved it. After doing ‘so much work, we know what our residents wanted’ and ‘that’s what our planning scheme actually says’. With the new zones, Claire Street has height limits and the developer got it wrong by wanting to ‘build almost fence to fence’. ‘He had scant disregard for our planning scheme’. The VCAT member ‘applied our planning scheme’ – he applied ‘what we as a council’ and what ‘we as residents have said is appropriate to Glen Eira’. Every council has a scheme but that sits on what councillors and ‘residents think is appropriate’ for that municipality. The member ‘applied our planning scheme’ and ‘when he did, this building did not fit’. And when he applied the rules that ‘residents put to us that they wanted, it did not fit’. Said that unfortunately not all VCAT members are as ‘educated’ as this member and not all of them ‘do their homework’ nor ‘appreciate the level of detail we have in our planning scheme’.

Said that 97% of the municipality has got height limits and 3% commercial with no height limits. Putting height limits on commercial areas has to be done through an overlay, and then community consultation, ‘permission from the minister’, and ‘through a long and detailed process’. ‘If council decides at some point in the future’ to do this, then he would ‘welcome that’ but to do ‘that we would need legal opinion, planning opinion’ and the Minister’s approval. There are some other things that might be done with the commercial zones but he is ‘very, very happy that’ the zones ‘cover 97% of our municipality’. This ‘in conjunction with our planning scheme’ is what ‘makes it work’. When VCAT doesn’t apply the planning scheme ‘that’s when it goes wrong’ but for Claire St., they did apply it.


  • 97% of the municipality DOES NOT HAVE HEIGHT LIMITS!
  • Mixed Use Zones (apart from 2 specific sites) DO NOT HAVE HEIGHT LIMITS. No mention of course about this little fact
  • Once you remove parkland, VicRoad land, Special Utility zones, etc from the total acreage then the percentage of land zoned commercial and mixed use is far greater than the 3% this council would like residents to believe is the truth. Also given council’s penchant for transforming sites zoned C2 (ie no residential dwellings) into C1 (allowable residential dwellings such as Virginia Estate amendment) then the percentage skyrockets even further. Then add on all the amendments which have already and are still waiting to be rezoned from ‘industrial’ land into Mixed Use or Commercial and the figures literally go much higher.
  • Magee is obviously under the illusion that if you repeat something often enough people will believe you – ie ‘vast community consultation’. Perhaps he and the other councillors should ask residents whether they believe the planning scheme does in fact represent resident views?


Before we report on the actual ‘debate’ readers need to take a look at what the zones have meant for this street and the surrounds. It is our estimate that since the zones were introduced the area has had 378 new dwellings permitted. This rivals Neerim Road’s 548 new dwellings. (click to enlarge the image)

bent street latest

Here is what councillors said. It took roughly 7 minutes!

Proposal 4 storey, 20 dwellings. Hyams moved motion to accept plus introducing some conditions for the street trees. Seconded by Sounness.

HYAMS: said he chaired the planning conference and that objectors’ ‘concerns’ have been ‘addressed by the officer recommendations’. This is the ‘right place for a 4 storey development’ ie next to supermarket and station and ‘sufficient’ parking. Went through some of the conditions such as increased setbacks for basement car parking to allow for landscaping. Basically read out the other conditions from the officer’s report. Thought that all of this meant a ‘reasonable compromise’.

SOUNNESS: said he is supporting the application in order to be ‘consistent with the planning scheme’ designed for the area. ‘Being part of the Bentleigh Urban Village it does have criteria’ and meets those criteria. There has also been a lot of 4 storeys surrounding this development and others higher in surrounding area given by VCAT.

LOBO: said that in 2011 ‘I predicted that Glen Eira will be like Calcutta’ and he ‘got told off’ for saying that. ‘Well the writing is on the wall’.

DELAHUNTY: said she remembers Lobo’s comments and is an ‘indication’ of what is happening in Bentleigh and ‘especially around this area’. Bent Street ‘have taken more than their fair share’. However she wanted to draw people’s attention to ‘housing affordability’ and the high cost of renting. A report came out showing that some families spend up to 50% of their income on rent. So they need more development and then the rental will drop because more development ‘will push the prices down’ for ‘people to be able to live around infrastructure’. Thought that Lobo’s values would also support the idea that people should be able to afford to live where there are good health services and ‘good infrastructure options’ and ‘Bentleigh certainly has’ those things. She ‘understands that it is a balancing act’ so will support the motion.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED. Lobo only councillor to vote against.