Glen Eira Council considering height limits for commercial zones in Glen Eira under planning scheme review

June 5, 2016 12:00am

Chad Van Estrop

Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader

HEIGHT restrictions could be imposed on commercial zones in Glen Eira following a review of the council’s planning scheme.

Glen Eira’s director of planning Ron Torres said the review, expected to be complete by June 30, would consider height limits.

Angry residents have been calling for the limits on developments in activity hubs like Centre Rd, Bentleigh and say commercial zones, which do not have mandatory height limits, are fuelling over development.

“The key theme that the community raised consistently were the rate and level of development occurring in Glen Eira and in particular around our shopping centres,” Mr Torres said of recent community consultation sessions.

“While our policies don’t contain numerical heights they talk about transitioning down in scale to the residential areas.”

The review comes as two apartment blocks — one of eight storeys (33 dwellings) and another of six storeys (22 dwellings) — have been approved for Centre Rd since April.

Mr Torres was concerned the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal was not implementing council’s policy when their decisions were appealed.

“What our particular concern has always been is that VCAT is not giving the due consideration to our policies,” he said. Mr Torres said VCAT was “not necessarily” setting a precedent with its planning decisions.

He said the planning review would address development scale and size, car parking, heritage protections and neighbourhood character but that any changes to Glen Eira’s planning scheme would need approval from planning minister Richard Wynne.

RMIT professor of urban studies Peter Norden backed the community call for height limits within commercial zones. “I can see that if we starting getting (more) six and seven storey developments on Centre Rd it will conflict seriously with the local urban context,” he said. Prof Norden, a Centre Rd resident, said development was necessary to cater for Melbourne’s booming population. “I’m not against development but it needs to be done in a way that is balanced and not giving green lights to greedy over development.”

In a letter to council last year Mr Wynne said he was concerned that Glen Eira’s planning policy “may not be providing adequate guidance in relation to development within Glen Eira’s activity centre.”