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Council continues on its merry way of destroying Elsternwick by recommending a 12 storey permit for Horne Street (Daily Planet site). We remind readers that this area sits alongside single and double storey dwellings, even though the latter (Ross Street) is zoned RGZ (four storeys). Council therefore sees no problems with a 12 storey building backing onto dwellings of this size.

The application was for 14 storeys and true to form we get a recommendation to lop off a couple of storeys. There is much in this officer’s report that is highly questionable if not straight out farcical.

In this post we will simply concentrate on the draft permit and what the recommendations allow. We quote from the report. 

The building height to be reduced to not more than 46.30m above natural ground level comprising not more than 12 storeys, with no architectural features,services, stairs, lift overruns or masts higher than 50.30m above natural ground level.

COMMENT: Amendment C157 has as the ‘maximum building height43.0 metres (discretionary). Thus, even though council might be reducing the number of storeys, the overall height of the building itself will be even greater than the structure plan suggests. Plus with masts up to 50.30 metres the building will definitely reach for the skies. The adopted C157 Amendment only allows a 4 metre extra height for masts, telecommunications, lift overruns, etc. So now we have the absolutely ludicrous situation where council first wanted 8 storeys and with ‘community benefit’ maybe 12. Now they are okaying extra height for both building and its masts, both in opposition to its own planning scheme!

The owner will maintain the shared space side laneway for not less than 5 years after the date of its completion to the satisfaction of Glen Eira City Council. 

COMMENT: This is the only time that the phrase ‘not less than 5 years’ is included in the officer’s report. It is only to be found in the pages upon pages of the ‘conditions’ and not in the body of the report itself. Instead we find this contradictory statement in the rest of the report

A Section 173 Agreement should be entered into for the permit holder to provide and maintain the shared space side laneway for the life of the building and to secure the office floor space for the life of the building.  

Which is it? Or is the above comment intended to camouflage what the Section 173 agreement will state? Surely the ‘life of the building’ is more than the 5 years stipulated in the conditions for the permit? Secondly, why only 5 years? Does this mean that in the 6th year the costs of maintenance will now fall upon council and hence ratepayers?

The front (north-eastern) setback of the tower element (third floor and above) to Horne Street increased to a minimum of 4.0m. 

COMMENT: We have to ask, what’s the point of having a structure plan if it ends up being ignored. The recommended setbacks are the perfect example of this. Amendment C157 included a requirement (preferred) of a 5 metre setback. The original urban designs for our activity centres had featured a 6 metre setback but council changed this to 5 without any real explanation. Even so, how on earth is it now considered appropriate that this be even further reduced? Why bother with structure plans at all when council itself decides it can ignore what it so loudly championed? 

As to what constitutes ‘community benefit’ we get the rubbish of widening a laneway by a few metres as proof of this, plus the creation of ‘passing areas’ because otherwise cars won’t get through.Creation of offices is nothing more than pie in the sky at this stage as well.

 

We have also had a good laugh at this sentence  Over time, the character of Elsternwick will change as buildings, consistent with the planning controls are constructed. One must question how many of these past high rises and now this one can be seen to be ‘consistent with the planning controls’?

We can only speculate as to why council would recommend a permit of this height? Our suspicion is that it is merely another nail in the coffin for low rise along Nepean Highway. Council is determined that Elsternwick becomes the high rise capitol of Glen Eira. Granting a permit for one more eyesore makes it a lot easier to have 12 storeys along all of Nepean Highway, regardless of whether this is needed or not!

Well done council. At least you are consistent in your appalling planning decisions!

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released its latest figures on building approvals for the period of July 2018 until January 2019. That is 7 months worth of building approvals.

The following two graphs feature two specific periods.

The first is for the period from the 2016/17 financial year up until the present. This is the period that council keeps citing and the need for 16017 net new dwellings by 2036.

Readers should note the following in the above graph. Once building permits for single houses are removed then Glen Eira has had  permits for 4737net new dwellings in a 31 months period. That equates to roughly 1800 net new approvals per year.

The second graph features building approvals over the past 7 and a half years (ie from 2011/12 financial year to the present).

Whilst Monash would appear to have more building permits overall, their percentage of houses to apartments is double that of Glen Eira. From 2016 Monash has had 1313 building permits for houses compared to Glen Eira’s 770 permits. In the period from 2011 until the present, Monash single house number was 4503 whilst Glen Eira’s figure was 2250. In addition, Monash is 80 square km in size and Glen Eira a meagre 38.9sq.km.

The take home message continues to be that this municipality is far outstripping its required housing numbers to cater for projected population growth. Yet, council still insists on more and more high rise development. The above data of course, does not include the 3000 (minimum) that will become Virginia Estate, nor the potential for another 1600 at precinct 3 of Caulfield Village.

Surely it is time that this council answers questions asked again and again

Why do we need 12 storey apartment blocks?

Why do our activity centres have to double in size?

What is ‘capacity’?

What is the ideal density for Glen Eira?

Until such questions are fully answered then residents can have no faith that this council is truly working in the best interests of its residents!

In December 2017 (see: https://gleneira.blog/2017/12/03/beware-be-alarmed/)we first warned residents of council’s hidden agenda regarding the expansion of our activity centre borders. Thus far we have proven to be correct with the doubling in size of Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick (when it’s finally done).

A recent council document (below) shows clearly that 80% – 85% at least of Glen Eira will now be ‘activity centre’ land.

Questions abound:

  • Why double the size of these centres? We can only think of one reason why this would be done – to facilitate more and more development and the rezoning of countless properties to achieve this end.
  • Where is the strategic justification for this change? – especially since development is far outstripping population growth in this municipality?
  • What is the strategic justification for 12 storeys in Carnegie & Elsternwick? Why not 6 storeys? 8 storeys?
  • What is the strategic justification for the ‘upgrading’ of South Caulfield and East Bentleigh within the space of a few months to ‘large neighbourhood centres’? What does this mean for potential rezoning and height limits?

Right from the start of this entire process residents have been led up the garden path. ‘Study areas’ have morphed into permanent activity centre borders. Promises of ‘neighbourhood character’ statements have gone out the window. Promised changes to the schedules (ie. Increase permeability standards, site coverage, etc.) have not materialized. Neighbourhood centres have been abandoned. Heritage review, parking precinct plans, developer levies, open space levy, winter solstice overshadowing – all of these have been put back years and years.  Instead we’ve had thousands of pages of documents released that reveal bugger all and certainly don’t provide one iota of valid justification for anything that has thus far been done! In our view, this has been deliberate, with the intention of ensuring that further development is the chief priority. Everything else has been window dressing and public relations bullshit. When residents aren’t provided with real information, or asked the correct questions in order to ascertain their views, then council is guilty of lying by omission.

Just on three years down the track from the planning scheme review, residents are still to be told the truth about council’s plans!

It is almost impossible to get a straight answer from Glen Eira City Council. Tonight’s council meeting illustrates this fully. One answer was provided to a resident in the public participation section of the meeting. Another version of council’s plans came via an Esakoff statement. The third version came with a response to a public question. Having said all this, there was at least an inkling of council’s plans. And it’s pathetic news for the majority of Glen Eira residents in that those living in neighbourhood centres should expect that council will not be doing anything for at least 2 years to halt development after development in its commercial (and mixed use)areas where the proposed heights outstrip the mandatory height limits in its major activity centres – particularly Bentleigh which has a 5 storey height limit.

The first version of council’s plans emerged as a response to a question from a resident in the ‘public participation’ section of tonight’s council meeting. What we now know as ‘confirmed’ is that

  • Neighbourhood centres will NOT HAVE STRUCTURE PLANS
  • Neighbourhood centres will have to be satisfied with mere Quality Design Guidelines. We remind readers that such ‘controls’ are often nothing more than ‘reference’ documents in a planning scheme and that they are NOT mandatory.
  • The larger neighbourhood centres will get the nod first – ie South Caulfield and Bentleigh East.
  • According to version one and version 3 residents will have to hang on and wait until 2021 for this marvelous silver bullet to even commence. Esakoff’s version was in 3 to 4 months!
  • We also learnt that the Caulfield Station planning will probably now also include Glen Huntly!

Here is the question and the response to Version 1:

Here is the Esakoff version of ‘reality’ –

And here is the response to the public question on the same issue:

What a joke! Don’t we already have ‘guidelines’ that were promulgated as the universal panacea for ALL OF GLEN EIRA? Will work on these new ‘guidelines’ start in 2021 or in 2019?

These councilors should hang their heads in shame when they are literally abandoning the vast majority of the municipality. By the time anything is done our neighbourhood centres will become high rise centres far outstripping our major activity centres. Finally, perhaps crying lack of resources could easily be remedied if instead of investing millions in redeveloping  parks that the majority don’t want ‘redeveloped’ (ie Harleston, Aileen Avenue), or spending hundreds of thousands on ‘consultants’ who produce documents lacking detail and substantiation, more money could be available to do what should be done –some decent and honest strategic planning!!!!!

From today’s Caulfield Leader

Below is an email that was sent by council to all Trade Associations in Glen Eira. Nothing wrong with this except:

1. Why aren’t residents included since the blurb below speaks of the ‘community’s views’?

2. Why is this the first we hear of council’s plans for A Place Making Action Plan?

We do not wish to diminish the importance of local business. However, we do not believe that traders should get precedence over the general community on something as important as planning and residential amenity. Furthermore, very little reporting of such meetings ever makes it into the public domain. It would appear that traders very definitely are at an ‘advantage’ in Glen Eira compared to the ordinary run of the mill resident!

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Local Economy and Place Making Action Plan – Traders Associations Consultation

Glen Eira City Council warmly invites you to participate in a discussion to help shape the development of a new Local Economy and Place Making Action Plan for our municipality.

As with Greater Melbourne, Glen Eira is currently experiencing a time of significant change, with transport upgrades, population expansion, shifting land use and changes to the way people work and do business. These significant, externally driven changes present both challenges and opportunities with regards to the economic and social viability of our municipality.

As a Traders Association you play a vital role in capturing and representing the views of the traders in your centre. We would like your input into what would make Glen Eira an even better place to work and do business, and how this could be achieved.

This is an exciting opportunity for you to help us ensure the Action Plan is informed by the community’s views and vision regarding developing our local economy. (our emphases). We really hope you are able to make it and contribute to this important conversation. 

Date:     Wednesday 27 February 2019

Time:     6:30pm for 7pm start. Concludes at 8.30pm (includes light refreshments on arrival)

Where: Glen Eira Town Hall, Caulfield Cup Room

RSVP:    cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au by Wednesday 20 February

Background information

Regards

 

Alex Francis-Yu
Place Making – Business Support

City Futures

PO Box 42 Caulfield South VIC 3162
T 9524 3464 M 0466 027 490
E afrancis@gleneira.vic.gov.au

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