Another disappointing VCAT decision for 33-35 Belsize Avenue Carnegie. This consolidated site runs across both the GRZ and RGZ (ie 3 and 4 storey) current zoning. The applicant got his permit for these heights and 29 dwellings.

Council’s draft structure plans featured this area south of Neerim Road as being ‘downgraded’ to double storey. This decision is simply another nail in the coffin for council’s plans – exacerbated even further by the request for another year’s extension on structure planning and the interim height guidelines. By 2019, we can only speculate as to how many other such developments will occur in these streets!

Below is what the member had to say about council’s plans and their current ‘value’.

Source: http://www7.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT//2017/1399.html

There has been some recent attempt by Council to manage this rate of change including the introduction of interim height controls and the preparation of a draft concept plan. I was provided with a copy of the Carnegie Draft Concept Plans and Carnegie Background Report-Building Transition Plan both dated July 2017. These documents propose side-by-side townhouse style development of 1-2 storey scale for all of Belsize Avenue and surrounds, other than along Neerim Road where terrace/ townhouse development of 2-3 storeys is contemplated. The document states that:

Carnegie has experienced a significant transformation in recent years with apartment developments being constructed in traditionally low scale areas. Current policy supports dense apartment developments with little consideration for the area’s existing character. The scale, rate of change and quality of new building stock are all issues that have been raised through consultation.

The Building Transition Plan looks to limit the amount of four storey apartment buildings in the long residential streets of established homes in Carnegie.

Ms Maude expressed concern that if the future changes set out above are implemented that the proposal before me will stand in complete contrast to the new planning framework. I find this strategic work is in its very early stages and cannot be given weight as a seriously entertained planning proposal. I cannot speculate as to future changes in planning policy and must apply the current planning scheme that seeks increased development throughout the urban village with the scale and intensity generally guided by the differentiation between the zones. I must apply the planning scheme as I find it.