We are repeatedly floored by the lack of substance and constant acquiescence by this council to government planning proposals. In this case it involves Wynne’s proposed changes to what is commonly known as ‘aged care’. This involves:

  • The ‘reclassification’ of aged care from ‘residential building’ to ‘accommodation’. This means that all current ‘standards’ such as ResCode, neighbourhood character considerations, and the new ‘garden requirement’ for NRZ and GRZ areas no longer apply.
  • Height limits of the relevant zone no longer apply – hence such ‘accommodation’ in the NRZ could ‘legally’ be 4 storeys
  • An 80% site coverage allowance
  • No notice, appeal rights for the community

All in all, this is a further erosion of democratic rights and the continued relaxation of the law in favour of developers. We do acknowledge the need for (more) aged care facilities. What we do not accept is that the rest of the community is made to pay the price for shoddy legislation, and the total disregard for residential amenity.

So how does Glen Eira Council approach this? As stated above, the tone, content and ‘misgivings’ provided by council are pathetically weak, minimalist, and hardly informative for the community. By way of contrast, the Monash submission is all those things which Glen Eira hasn’t bothered with. We can find no excuse why the Monash agenda can include the actual proposed amendment, provide detailed explanations, and all Glen Eira can come up with is a one page officer’s report that is basically all jargon (ie Clause 74/5) and a page and a half submission that overall is cow-towing in both tone and content.

Glen Eira starts off its submission with this:

Glen Eira City Council thanks DELWP for the opportunity to provide feedback to the consultation process for changes to planning controls for residential aged care facilities (RACF). Council agreesthat changes need to be made to allow more efficient delivery of well-designed and located residential aged care facilities throughout Victoria.

Monash includes this commentary in its agenda –

It should be noted that Council did not receive direct notification of the the consultation program. Officers became aware of the consultation through the weekly State governments generic “Planning Matters” email which is distributed weekly to registered planning officers and industry professionals. Planning Matters is generally used to communicate planning information on amendments, panel hearings and planning training.


Whilst there are a number of technical changes proposed to the planning scheme. The objective of the changes are to make it easier to obtain a planning permit for a RACF in all residential zones in the State. 

Admittedly, Glen Eira does comment on proposed heights, car parking, and locations for these aged care facility (RACF) changes.  But at the same time we find council’s SUPPORT for an 80% site coverage –

The proposed site coverage of 80%, including a driveway, pedestrian path and area set aside for car parking is considered acceptable. 

No explanation is provided as to why an 80% site coverage is ‘acceptable’ – especially in light of the fact that these facilities could be placed in NRZ areas where site coverage is currently 50% 

Monash’s view differs markedly as shown with these comments –

The proposed provisions would allow site coverage of 80%. This far exceeds the site coverage in existing residential areas – currently 60%, and in the Amendment C125 residential zones – between 40% and 60%.

Garden area requirements in the residential zones (usually between 25% and 35% of the site area depending on lot size) would not need to be met as RACF would no longer be in the definition of Residential Buildings, so the requirement would not apply. The result could potentially be buildings with very large footprints and little garden area or landscaping that would be at odds with the garden city character of Monash. 

The lack of any requirement to consider neighbourhood character and the impact on surrounding land uses is concerning and not appropriate in a residential zone. 

Such requirements apply to other uses in these zones and it is not clear why RACF should be exempt. 

Surely it is time that this council had the balls to stand up for its residents and strongly oppose amendments that continually favour developers whilst impacting negatively on the larger community and ratepayers.

FYI – the Monash submission is uploaded HERE.