There are many questions/issues regarding the so called structure planning for Virginia Estate that residents have been left in the dark about.  Unfortunately, the 9 documents released by the VPA provide few answers. It should also be noted that three of the most important documents only made their appearance following the closure of ‘community consultation’!!!!!

What we still don’t know and what will have a major influence on the final development plans are:

  1. Will the entire 24 hectare site be rezoned to Commercial 1 or a Combination of Commercial 1 and Mixed Use. If this occurs then the entire site will be available for residential development. Or will we have a rezoning that makes this site a Priority Development Zone akin to Caulfield Village and thus opens up a completely different kettle of fish?
  2. If there is to be ‘office’ accommodation (ie a zoning of Commercial 2) then how much of the land will carry this zoning and therefore prohibit residential development?
  3. Will we have MANDATORY HEIGHT LIMITS or discretionary height limits?
  4. Will we have height according to Australian Height Datum (AHD) as with the Caulfield Village instead of a fixed number of mandatory storeys?
  5. Will the existing Schedule which states that any development plan SHOULD be exhibited be replaced with MUST BE EXHIBITED? If this isn’t changed then residents need to be aware that legally this means there are no objection rights once the plans come in and council doesn’t even have to exhibit the plans!
  6. Thus far nothing has been released about traffic, drainage, and levies payable by the developers. Reading between the lines it appears that council will be quite prepared to accept a meagre acre and a half for open space instead of exacting either a decent allocation of open space or some major financial payment. As for traffic and drainage, all we get are admissions that these present some major problems and will be attended to further down the track!
  7. We also are very sceptical regarding the stated number of ‘preliminary dwellings’ – 3000. When the site was 12.5 hectares Gillon proposed over 4000 dwellings (see below). Now that the site has literally doubled in size and there are two new ‘partners’, we are told that with a doubling of land size available the owners have magnanimously decided to only erect 3000 dwellings! The ‘escape clause’ is of course the word ‘preliminary’!!!!!! Beware we say!

What is even more disturbing about some of the documentation provided is to be found in the following:

As far as we know, the criterion of ‘net developable land’ is used only as part of calculations for open space levies/developer contributions – and not for ‘structure planning’ per se. Its inclusion here raises countless questions.

Further, if we look at ‘land use outcomes’ then a mere 4.7% as ‘residential’ is really pushing the limits of credibility. As it stands all of these categories (ie Commercial, Mixed Use and Retail) can allow residential development. A lot more clarity, precision, and less sleight of hand by the VPA, council and the developers would be highly welcomed!