There are 3 agenda items down for decision this coming Tuesday which should set alarm bells ringing for residents. In this first post we concentrate on Item 9.3 – Council’s ‘position’ on the Ormond Railway development site.

What is absolutely staggering about this report and its recommendation is that councillors ENDORSE A MANDATORY HEIGHT LIMIT OF 8 STOREYS!

This is staggering for the simple reason that it exceeds the proposed heights of 7 storeys in Carnegie and 5 storeys in Bentleigh that were nominated in the proposed Amendments for these activity centres. Thus we now have the ludicrous situation where a so called ‘neighbourhood centre’ with less shopping areas and surrounded by residential development is okay for 8 storeys and Carnegie and Bentleigh are deemed suitable for lesser height. Unbelievable shonky planning !

What makes matters even worse is that this recommendation by the ‘experts’ is not even in the public domain. Hence we have the situation where residents are denied access to the rationale which would support a recommendation of 8 storeys. So much for transparency and accountability!

Further, we are told in the officer report  that: In order to form the strongest position possible, City Futures (ie Council) have sought an evidence-based approach to inform Council’s position for a preferred maximum building height. And what is this ‘evidence based’ data on? According to the report it consists of the following –

  • Status of centre
  • Precedents
  • Typology
  • Street wall ratio
  • Solar Access
  • Key View lines
  • Transition
  • Connectivity

We posit that none of the above is ‘evidence’ for an 8 storey apartment block. It might as well be 10 or 12 storeys! Nothing here would suggest that the following important issues have been considered – open space, infrastructure, parking/traffic, development in the area, retail business study, etc. etc. If this is the basis upon which such major decisions are being made, then God help us!

Even worse, is that once again there has not been a single round of ‘consultation’ between residents and council on how high anything should be in the municipality! The rhetoric is all about ‘consultation’. Pity that words never seem to match actions and decisions!