There is an extraordinary officer’s report for a planning application at tonight’s council meeting. The application is for Kambrook Road, Caulfield North. It proposes a 5 storey and 61 unit development. The problem with this, is that the site is zoned as Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) – ie a mandatory 4 storey height limit!

So what does our wonderful council do? Simple – the Camera report recommends that a storey be lopped off to bring the development down to 4 storeys with a height of 14.5 metres due to the slope of the land.

A multitude of questions arise from this –

  • Since the application was ‘illegal’ to begin with, why wasn’t this rejected outright at the start when the application first landed on council’s desk in December 2016 – and we are sure in the countless earlier pre-application meetings with the developer?
  • Why is council doing the developer’s job? – ie instead of forcing the developer to come up with an entirely new application, it is council, and council’s officers’ time that are doing the work of the developer. That of course means that ratepayers are again subsidising developers
  • No mention is made of the number of apartments that council is now willing to grant a permit for. The Camera report is silent on the repercussions of deleting one storey.
  • The use of the word ‘generally’ occurs 7 times in this officer report. In other words, planning scheme conditions are not FULLY met, but only ‘generally’ met. We have to again ask why on earth have standards and guidelines when they can be so easily overlooked?
  • The final important question is – how far will council go to accommodate developers?