Finally, after years and years of naysaying, council had the first live streaming of its meeting last night. It went well but does raise some questions in relation to its Local Law. For example:

  • Given that presumably more residents can now see who votes for what, couldn’t the minutes reflect this vote instead of simply having ‘carried’, ‘unanimous’ or ’lost’?
  • The ‘public participation’ segment is now also available. These ‘questions’ and ‘responses’ could therefore also be included in the minutes.
  • Since these recordings will be ‘archived’ and available for viewing at any time, surely it makes no sense to have the official paper record (ie the minutes) not in line with what can be watched over and over again?

As for the meeting itself and its contentious items, not much has changed. Early on it was the Esakoff and Hyams show on the Rigby and Newman Avenue multiple dwelling applications. The ‘solution’ as moved by Esakoff and seconded by Hyams was to grant a permit but instead of 4 out of the 5 dwellings being double storey, the permit now states that 3 out of the 5 be double storey. No other councillor spoke on either of these items. Hyams did refer to Wynne’s VC110 amendment but neglected to also say that according to the Planning Scheme large size lots in the NRZ have, since time immemorial and not just since 2013, had the potential for multiple dwellings! More dubious was Hyams’ subsequent  comment that because of the introduction of the zones in 2013  no such applications ‘would have been attempted’. He neglects to mention of course that council’s position to the department was that the ‘hurdle’ of 2 dwellings per lot could be overcome by subdividing first and then submitting an application!

We remind readers of several past VCAT decisions, where the member made it absolutely clear that large size lots can hold multiple dwellings because that is council’s ‘policy’ and is enshrined in both pre and post introduction of the zones. One such application was in St Aubins Court, Caulfield North. Even though the application came in prior to the introduction of the zones in 2013 and thus had the advantage of ‘transitional’ provisions, the outcome was still a 2 storey development of 22 units – based almost entirely on council’s ‘policy’. We quote:

However in this case there remains, even post the application of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, strong and clear local policy support for the development of large sites such as the review site with medium density development……. While this policy intent has always applied to the Minimal Change Areas, we note that this policy statement was amended as part of the application of the new residential zones into the  Glen Eira  Planning Scheme. That amendment provided for the potential to rezone large sites with the Minimal Change Areas, so that they could continue to provide opportunities for medium density housing, despite the provisions of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. We consider such an amendment to affirm for us the continued role expected in policy for large sites such as the review site, despite the applications of the new residential zones to the  Glen Eira  Planning Scheme. (

Wynne’s introduction of VC110 has major ramifications for Glen Eira and other councils. The 2 applications decided last night might be an anomaly because of their size. Thus far we believe that 14 applications have come in for multiple dwellings. Not all are large sites. The latest application for 3 double storeys is a mere 585 square metres (see below). Worth remembering as well is that according to the Housing report they accord only 0.6 net new dwellings in the NRZ and this is for sites over 700 square metres! Such applications show how far out council’s maths on dwellings truly are.

Whether or not this application receives a permit, or ends up with a permit from VCAT will reveal much about council’s agenda in relation to the Neighbourhood Residential Zones. The ‘requirements’ for this zone has remained unchanged since 2004. The Schedule introduced in 2013 simply incorporated what was already there. No new work was done. Now work is desperately required. Other councils managed to have schedules that had greater permeability, less site coverage, and subdivision sizes included in their schedules. Council has the opportunity to amend the schedules. But will they do this or remain content with facilitating more and more development in the NRZ?

PS: FYI, council has granted a permit for 6 Hudson St., Caulfield North for one double storey apartment block with 8 dwellings. The land size is approximately 1300 square metres. Please note this was not decided at council level and it shows that there is nothing to stop apartment blocks from now being constructed in the NRZ as opposed to ‘townhouses’ etc. The flood gates are well and truly open across Glen Eira!