The draft Neighbourhood Character Assessment Volume1 tells us that the criteria for deciding which sites are ‘suitable’ for 3 or more dwellings and hence their zoning or schedules will be changed, is based on these sites being:

  • Within 200 metres of a tram stop
  • Within 400 metres of a train station
  • Within 800 metres of an activity centre
  • In an area with a decent number of sites over 600 square metres
  • Not strata titled
  • Not affected by precinct heritage or Neighbourhood Character Overlays (page 14 of this document)

Of course, no mention is made of Special Building Overlays (SBO) (flood management) which according to the Planning Practice Notes, should exclude areas from inclusion in activity centres and their surrounds.

Here is part of the existing/current SBO which covers the area around Patterson Road in Bentleigh.

We have decided to concentrate on this area since it basically fails to meet more than half of the above stated criteria for rezoning or altering the existing schedules. There is no tram stop. Many of the streets primed for greater site coverage, etc. are certainly further than 400 metres from a train station. But most importantly, the majority of sites earmarked for change are not even close to being ‘over 600 square metres’. So what on earth is this planning department doing? What is their real criteria for selecting properties for change? How justified are these proposed changes? Or is it simply a bunch of bureaucrats sitting at a computer and drawing stupid lines on a map? There is absolutely no justification for what is being proposed!

Please look at the following carefully. According to council’s map of proposed changes, several areas along Patterson Road will change from 2 storeys to 3 storeys (marked in red). Those areas highlighted in green will become NRZ2 and hence have increased site coverage, reduced permeability requirements, and reduced rear setbacks. Here is part of this map.

When we investigate even further, we find that the vast majority of these sites are not a minimum of 600 square metres and many are sitting in the SBO overlays.

This is pathetic planning with no strategic justification whatsoever – and this is occurring in countless places throughout the municipality. Adherence to the stated criteria is frequently non-existent and so is this council’s transparency.

Your attendance is required next Wednesday (2nd November) in order to tell this council exactly what you think of their planning!