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Residents must really wonder what is the point of council creating and endorsing policy and strategy documents, when these are all ignored when it comes to development. Either we have policy or we don’t! The latest example of this is an application for 93-101 Poath Road, Murrumbeena. The applicant wants 8 storeys, 77 apartments, and a reduction in onsite car parking as well as some upper level setbacks of a miniscule 3 metres. There will be 6 shops, and the apartments are designated as: 29 one bedroom; 40 two bedroom and 8 three bedroom. That’s a ratio of 90% one and two bedroom apartments and the majority of these apartments will be less than 60 square metres in size.

More disturbing is the fact that in the past we have been told ad nauseum that if a policy is not enshrined in the planning scheme, then it bears little or no weight in the final recommendation. Whilst this officer report does repeat this mantra in reference to the proposed Planning Scheme Rewrite (C220) by stating: Council can have regard to the amendment as part of the assessment of this application but can only give it limited weight –   we then have a full 2 pages and a bit, itemising what this amendment proposes as justification for recommending a permit! We repeat: this proposed Amendment is yet to go through a planning panel. It is yet to be independently assessed and reported on. Yet, we have an officer’s report which bases much of the argument for a permit on something which does not as yet exist in the planning scheme.

There is much to challenge in this report. Some examples:

Neighbourhood centres are areas where substantial built form change is anticipated. Really? That’s not what the various versions of City Plan state, nor the Urban Design Guidelines!!!!

The subject site and broader commercial areas of the Hughesdale activity centre are not subject to specific building height controls within the Scheme, nor are there any proposed by way of overlay controls such as a Design and Development Overlay as can be seen in other centres across the municipality.

Thus the truth (inadvertently, we suspect) comes out. Council has absolutely no intention of ensuring that all commercial centres have appropriate height limits assigned to them. What does this augur for Ormond, McKinnon, Patterson, Gardenvale, etc. just to name a few neighbourhood centres currently without any controls in the commercial areas?

And since when does any report include such garbage as found in the Urban Design report:

Try to redesign the top edge of the building…….

Try to design the western side of the building…..

Try to prevent overlooking…..

Try to ensure that no additional service cabinets…..

Why ‘try’? Either the recommendation is that something doesn’t comply with current planning controls or it does, or whether these aspects of non-compliance may be addressed by conditions. Yet, none of this has occurred. Who is to ‘try’? and what if they don’t?

The bottom line, as we read things, is that council will bend over backwards, to ensure that developers get their permits – regardless of existing council policy, and what the current planning scheme states.

This is the latest permit application to come in for Caulfield North and underlines again how this council continues to fail its residents. We have a City Plan that nominates 5 storey height limits. We have Built Form Frameworks for Caulfield South, Caulfield North and Bentleigh East. None of these are anything but ‘guidelines’ and aren’t even part of the Planning Scheme, so therefore quite useless.

It’s not as if council didn’t know this was happening. The first permits for high rise along Hawthorn Road occurred about 6 years ago. The writing was on the wall. So what did council do? Bugger all, we say. No structure plan. No DDO. Nothing but sitting tight and giving developers a free hand. Even now, with the adopted Built Form Frameworks, council decided that they can’t do all three together. Caulfield South got in first. No time frame has been provided for anything on Caulfield North and East Bentleigh. All in the too hard basket.

It’s quite staggering to think that other councils such as Boroondara and Bayside are capable of producing amendments that cover multiple neighbourhood centres and activity centres in the one hit. In Boroondara they managed an amendment that covered 28 shopping precincts via the same amendment. Here in Glen Eira we are still waiting six and a half years later for a single permanent structure plan for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick. The latter was not even included in the proposals for Bentleigh and Carnegie that constituted Amendment C184. Why? And what is the time line for when this area will be privy to its own structure plan.

This Council has an appalling track record on strategic planning. How one interprets this lack of progress is obviously in the eye of the beholder – either sheer incompetence or, an agenda that is geared towards facilitating as much development as possible. In the meantime it is residents who are paying the price with the destruction of their neighbourhoods, their environments, and residential amenity.

It is vitally important that residents have a clear understanding of the various ramifications of the proposed Housing Strategy and its associated documents. Council has acknowledged that approximately 11,000 current sites are in the firing line for various changes. Making matters worse is that areas currently zoned as General Residential Zone (3 storeys) or Residential Growth Zone (4 storeys) will basically remain unchanged – unless they include precincts with a heritage overlay. Only a handful of properties are mooted to have lower height requirements. The vast majority of these changes include:

  • Currently zoned properties in NRZ (2 storeys) will become available for 3 storeys and some 4 storeys
  • Currently zoned properties in GRZ (3 storeys) will have the mandatory garden requirement removed, setbacks removed, open space reduced
  • Currently zoned properties in NRZ (2 storeys) will have increased site coverage allowed; permeability requirements reduced, rear setbacks removed.

The stated justification for these changes are at best dubious, and at worst, statistically unjustified. We are told that the municipality has capacity for 50,000 new dwellings. All we ‘require’ according to population projections out to 2036 are 13,000. If this is indeed the case, then what is proposed is not only unnecessary, but will further destroy our suburbs and amenity.

The Council Argument

Despite our capacity for 50,000 new dwellings, council argues that what is missing are smaller ‘townhouses’ and ‘villa units’ (or medium density housing). This they believe will result in cheaper housing options, and hence all the proposed changes.

Here are some quotes taken directly from the last council agenda which state:

Under the existing policy settings, there will not be an adequate provision of medium density dwellings (small townhouses and villa units, whether attached or not) to meet the needs of the households anticipated to be seeking them. (page 173)

Current policy settings support the development of large side-by-side dual occupancy development across a large proportion of the municipality but does not support the development of more than two dwellings (units or townhouses) on a lot on the vast majority of sites. (page 177)

The research for the housing strategy indicated that policy should allow for more units and small townhouses to be constructed to meet the community’s needs for diverse housing and at a range of prices.(p.180)

COMMENT

Council’s planning scheme has always allowed more than two dwellings per lot in the NRZ zones – provided that site was greater than ‘conventionally sized lots’ and larger than its immediate neighbours. Wynne’s introduction of Amendment VC110 in 2017 simply reinforced this by removing the 2 dwellings per lot condition from all NRZ zoned sites in the state. Yes, it is true, that most NRZ developments are for side by side townhouses – but not exclusively. We have had apartment blocks built in NRZ in the past. This is continuing today and there is no guarantee that these will be cheaper or even smaller. Here is a list of some of the sites which have had more than 2 dwellings granted a permit. All are in the NRZ zone.

239 Kooyong road, Elsternwick – 3 double storeys (1013 square metres)

35 Brett Street, Murrumbeena – 3 double storeys (667 square metres)

19 Fosbery Avenue, Caulfield North – double storey building with 3 dwellings (897 square metres)

39 Amelia Street, McKinnon – 3 double storeys (699 square metres)

24 royal avenue, glen huntly – 3 double storeys (761 square metres)

456 Glen Eira road, Caulfield – 5 double storeys (1055 square metres)

5 Porter Road, Carnegie – 4 double storeys (permit issued by consent) – (880 square metres)

45 North Avenue, Bentleigh – 3 double storeys (556 square metres)

613 Warrigal Road, Bentleigh East – 3 double storeys (766 square metres)

7-9 St James Avenue BENTLEIGH – 7 double storeys (1876 square metres)

46 Orrong Road ELSTERNWICK – 4 dwellings (697 square metres)

50 railway Crescent, Bentleigh – 4 double storeys (313 square metres)

1 Riddell Parade ELSTERNWICK – 3 double storeys (

2 Shanahan Crescent, McKinnon – 3 double storeys  (791 square metres)

743-745 South Road Bentleigh East – 7 double storeys (1400 square metres)

11 Nina Court BENTLEIGH EAST – 4 double storeys (735 square metres)

304-306 Koornang Road CARNEGIE – 6 attached dwellings (742 square metres)

15 Leamington Crescent CAULFIELD EAST – 3 double storeys (846 square metres)

17 Leila Road ORMOND – 3 double storeys – (968 square metres)

16 McKittrick Road BENTLEIGH – 3 double storeys (700 square metres)

Council even acknowledges that they have absolutely no ability to determine what is built where. So how does all the above hype about ‘smaller townhouses’ hold up to reality? If a developer wants to, he can build whatever style of housing he/she wants. We quote from council agendas where this is clearly stated:

DELWP has advised that the residential zones cannot dictate what type / form of housing is acceptable in each location. A clear message from the State Government in releasing Planning Practice Note 90 and 91,is that Council’s housing strategy cannot be based on preferred building typologies (agenda 4th February 2020, page 234)

Councils cannot prescribe preferred housing typologies. All residential zones allow for any type of housing typology. Built form requirements within the zone schedules (e.g.: heights and setbacks), may result in some forms of housing typology being more likely in particular zones, however ALL residential zones are deemed to allow for any form of housing, including detached dwellings, medium density dwellings, townhouses and apartments. (agenda 4th February, 2020 – page 397)

DELWP has advised that some of the content in the existing Minimal Change Area Policy cannot be translated into the new scheme. This includes the policies for one or two dwellings only, and identifying preferred housing typologies of single dwellings or multi dwellings under specified circumstances. Both these policies do not align with State housing policy and will not be permitted in the new scheme. (agenda 19th December, 2019 (page 92)

More telling of course, is if council really wants ‘smaller townhouses’, then how does rezoning streets to 4 storeys achieve this? No developer is going to build 4 storey townhouses! What will happen is 4 storey apartment blocks of basically one and two bedroom developments – akin to what has happened in all RGZ zones thus far.

COUNCIL’S CONTRADICTIONS

Council recently provided input on the State Government’s Land Framework Plans. Their submission included the following comments:

Direction 5 – Prioritise housing growth in areas with access to jobs, services and good public transport

This Direction refers to opportunities for new medium and higher density housing to be considered within an 800 metre walkable catchment of activity centres. This is not supported. Many of Glen Eira activity centres are linear and relate better to a 400 metre walkable distance at the most. A radial measurement is not appropriate and opportunities for new housing should be considered at the local level, through structure plans, where the community is involved. (Agenda: 3rd November, 2021 – Page 551)

The draft Housing Strategy has clearly forgotten this position in that plenty of streets are set to be rezoned or have the requirements reduced and are certainly 800 metres or more from the commercial areas of the activity centre. Some streets are not even in cooee of an activity centre!

Finally, what would seem to undermine completely everything that council has put into its Housing Strategy is the following sentence taken from the Capacity Analysis itself –

The GRZ zones have relatively high average development densities, as most developments in this zone are three storey apartment building rather than townhouse or villa developments. (Capacity Analysis – Attachment 4 – page 48 – agenda 22/2/2022)

So, on the one hand we are being told that we have enough high density development and require smaller townhouses of ‘medium density’. Council’s ‘solution’ is to rezone hundreds upon hundreds of streets to three storey where all we are likely is more of what we allegedly could do without!

This isn’t a housing strategy. It is a disaster that totally ignores residential amenity, environmental impacts, and overall density. Enough is enough. Make your voices heard, loudly and clearly!

If you happen to live in any of the sites highlighted in the light blue, then beware! Council has earmarked these sites as Substantial Change Area 1. This means:

  • You will go from a 2 storey mandatory height to 3 storeys
  • The mandatory garden requirement ranging from 25% to 35% of land size will be removed
  • Rear setbacks will in all likelihood also be removed.
  • Retention of trees will only be ‘encouraged’ where ‘practical’

As for the commercial sites themselves, these will also be changed to greater heights if the following, taken from the Housing Capacity Analysis (page 52) is any guide –

Bentleigh is thus in the firing line for major changes that in our view will do nothing except impact incredibly on residential amenity, on the environment, and on issues such as parking and traffic. We repeat ourselves, but given that we have capacity for 50,000 dwellings and only require 13,000 until 2036, it is simply unconscionable for this council to even contemplate further ruin of our suburbs.

Readers may also remember that over the past few years council conceded that the Residential Zones introduced in 2013 were inadequate on several levels – ie heritage properties were included in the Residential Growth Zone (4 storeys) and many streets had multiple zonings which simply didn’t make sense. Well, given the above mooted zonings, it doesn’t appear as if council has learnt from its past mistakes. Take Whitmuir Street for example. Only half of this street is to be rezoned. Why? Especially when this proposed rezoning includes about 24 houses on both sides of the street and all are either single or double storey. There are 2 blocks of flats (one of 9 apartments and two storey) and another contains villa units. The street itself is narrow making it impossible to pass if there are parked cars.

We have visited this street and taken the photographs at the end of this post. Many are beautiful Californian bungalows that if anything, should be under a heritage overlay, and not offered as fodder to developers. Even more disheartening is that we have not been provided with any valid justification as to why streets like Whitmuir are on the chopping block. Remember Bent Street that is now a canyon of apartment blocks? The same could happen to Whitmuir!

We urge all residents, and especially those who reside in these targeted sites, to write to councillors with their views as well as commenting on the so-called ‘consultation’ from the Have Your Say website. Things will only change with massive community opposition. Make your voices heard!

Here is what most of Whitmuir Street looks like!

It is becoming clearer and clearer that council’s interpretation of ‘consultation’ is to provide as little succinct information as possible and to create survey questions that lead nowhere. Instead we are given spin, and more spin, that undoubtedly cost quite a bit to produce.

In this post we will focus on the supposed ‘consultation’ for the Caulfield Station Structure Plan. Unless residents are prepared to undertake at least an few hours of solid reading, they would have absolutely no idea that the recommendations include:

  1. Discretionary heights everywhere ranging up to 25 storeys and most will be 12 storeys
  2. The anticipated number of final dwellings will be in the order of 3,600 to 4,400.
  3. There is the acknowledgement that the overwhelming majority of these apartments will contain one and two bedrooms only.
  4. Heritage along Derby Road will have a discretionary height limit of 8 storeys.

What we do have is an 11 page ‘summary brochure’ that reveals practically nothing of the above. We maintain that this document is nothing more than an exercise in camouflage and public relations. It is a wonderful example of how not to consult with your community – that is, if you really want them to be informed and to provide considered and valuable feedback.

Let’s take the example of Derby Road, which is covered by a heritage overlay as depicted below.

The ‘summary brochure’ describes the plans for this sector as: Character and Scale: Higher built form demonstrating design excellence and reflecting the Precinct’s role as a gateway to the Centre but also respecting the heritage character of Derby Road. Of course, no mention here of the anticipated height limit!

Even worse, is the following image meant to depict what Derby Road will look like –

We ask:

Is it sheer coincidence that no 8 storey building is visible. There is the intimation of greater height but this is conveniently hidden behind a tree!!! This isn’t a depiction of what will occur – it is an attempt to hide all unpleasant truths as much as possible and hence delude the unsuspecting respondent(s) to the survey!

The actual survey questions themselves fair little better – especially when the majority of responses available are ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘neither agree or disagree’, ‘disagree’ and ‘strongly disagree’. This might be okay, if the actual questions were open ended, informative, and valid. They are not. For the Derby Road question we get this blurb:

The draft Caulfield Structure Plan suggests the Derby Road precinct has potential to be a lifestyle destination, with a revitalised street, increased outdoor dining opportunities and improved public transport stops. This would be supported by some taller built form that would be designed to respect the valued heritage streetscape.

The question following this bit of public relations propaganda reads: To what extent do you agree with this measure to revitalise this part of the structure plan area while respecting the heritage streetscape? The answers should be as listed above – ie ‘strongly agree’, etc.

The remaining questions are of the same ilk – vague, non-defined, and straight out of some political spin department! Nothing is broken down to be able to validate the various aspects of the proposals. People may be in favour of outdoor dining, but opposed to an 8 storey height limit. How are any answers to this question then interpreted and do they actually reveal anything about resident views – and that’s assuming that respondents have read the voluminous documentation PRIOR to answering the survey.

What this and the Housing Strategy ‘consultation’ foists on residents is anything but genuine consultation. Once again we see a process that leads nowhere, except to the already predetermined outcomes.

PS: We forgot to mention this sublime irony or perhaps even contradiction. Much of the rationale behind council’s Housing Strategy is that there is a requirement for more medium density especially in the form of smaller townhouses. Yet, they seem quite prepared to accept over 4000 single and two bedroom apartments in this precinct. Out of the 1100+ apartments already built, or nearing completion, for Precincts 1 and 2 of Caulfield Village, there are only 30+ 3 bedroom apartments. So, how can you argue for more medium density townhouses on the one hand and allow potentially the largest development in the municipality to consist of everything we’ve been told does not constitute ‘medium density’ and therefore does not meet the requisite needs of our growing population?

When vitally important decisions are being made, we believe it is incumbent on councillors to proffer statements that are accurate. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but espousing unfounded views and presenting them as ‘facts’ is unacceptable. Even if ignorance is partly to blame for such announcements, it does not absolve councillors from their duty of proper oversight.  Their role is to analyse, question, and provide a rationale that will stand up to full scrutiny. This has not been done – especially at the last council meeting.

Two important items were presented at the last council meeting – the draft Housing Strategy and the Caulfield Station Structure Plan. Both items have the potential to dramatically change residential amenity and the environment in Glen Eira and thus affect every resident.

In regard to the Caulfield Structure Plan the draft proposes one height of 25 storeys, and for the MRC freehold land 12 storeys. All heights are discretionary rather than mandatory which of course means that they could ultimately be higher! No urban design evidence, nor overshadowing impacts were provided for this item. Even in the heritage precinct of Derby Road, the proposal is for a discretionary 8 storey limit. This of course begs the question as to why other heritage commercial zones in Bentleigh, Elsternwick and Carnegie were allocated a mandatory four storey height limit. Are we to assume that some areas are more ‘heritage worthy’ than others?

We take particular issue with some of the comments made by Athanasopolous and Zyngier as outlined below:

ATHANASOPOLOUS:  on the issue of heights in commercial areas this councillor argued that Glen Eira has little chance of achieving mandatory controls in commercially zoned land and certainly not in areas zoned Activity Centre Zone. Conclusion? – that discretionary heights are better than nothing – thus absolving council for even trying! He went on to challenge anyone to come up with ‘evidence’ that this was not the case when he stated that people: Can’t come up with where mandatory controls have been given for 12 storeys in an activity centre structure plan. People can’t even provide that evidence.

ZYNGIER: basically reiterated this line of argument and said that council has no control over commercial zones.

Both statements are factually incorrect! Other councils have been successful in acquiring mandatory height limits for their commercial strips and are nowhere near 25 storeys as proposed in this draft structure plan. Whilst it is true that ultimately the Minister must sign off on such amendments, the primary question should be: WHY HAVE THESE OTHER COUNCILS BEEN SUCCESSFUL? Clearly councils do have ‘control’ over what they propose and what they pursue or are willing to accept. In Glen Eira, we start from the proposition that worse could be imposed so let’s go for 25 storeys as a starter!

We have taken the time and trouble to go through gazetted amendments from other councils which have all had mandatory height controls enacted in their precincts. All of these are well within the 10 year limit that Athanasopolous asked for. They even include some Activity Centre Zones, where none of the heights come close to what Glen Eira is asking for.

Please consider the following table carefully and then reflect on Glen Eira’s approach and the validity of what some councillors espouse.

As we stated in our previous post, the lack of detailed analyses by those councillors who endorsed the housing strategy is simply mind boggling. Not one of them mentioned or analysed any of the following:

  • Land capacity out to 2036 estimates that the municipality has scope (available land) for  50,000 net new dwellings. Housing projections state that all we need are approximately 13,000.
  • They simply accepted the assumption that more dwellings means greater affordability.
  • Removing the mandatory garden requirement will be ‘compensated’ by the landscape requirements – which of course aren’t specified in any document. All that we have is waffle and generalisations.
  • How increasing site coverage in the NRZ will ‘fit in’ with the climate emergency, urban forest strategy, etc.

By way of contrast, the best summation on the evening came from Esakoff. We have uploaded her statements and urge all residents to listen and consider what this means.

To further illustrate what is in store, here is part of the Housing Framework Plan. We’ve chosen the GRZ areas in East Bentleigh. All the streets presented in the darker orange now find themselves in the Substantial Change Area 2. This means: no mandatory garden requirement; tree canopy retention only where ‘practical’; reduction of rear setbacks and potentially lessening of onsite parking requirements. In other words, cramming more and more into these sites.

Finally, Athanasopolous cited the changes as only impacting a ‘small’ amount of properties. A public question asked on Tuesday night provided the answers as to the number of sites that will be affected by these proposals. In the GRZ Substantial Change Area 1 the answer provided was 7,624! The sites impacted in NRZ were said to be 3,075. That’s a grand total of 10,699 that will be severely impacted by the proposed changes. Glen Eira currently has 65,000 residential properties, but far less sites – since many are multi-storey containing many apartments. This is also true for the current dwelling proportion in GRZ but at a lower scale than the commercial areas. Even accepting this, we still estimate that roughly 15 to 20% of Glen Eira residents will face potential developments without the necessary strategic justification. Furthermore, if we assume that only 10% of these 10,000+ sites will increase their net dwellings by one (ie from 2 dwellings to 3 dwellings) that equates to another net 1000 plus dwellings. This is of course a very conservative estimate since the prognostications for ‘take up’ far exceed 10% and the likelihood of only a one net dwelling increase is again highly conservative. These proposed changes alone could deliver thousands upon thousands of net new dwellings with absolutely no guarantee that they will be cheaper, will assist in increasing our tree canopy, or assist in fighting climate change.

These figures also need to be seen in the context of what else is planned for Glen Eira. We should add in another 3000 at least for East Village, another 4000 under the Caulfield Station structure plan as stated in the Charter housing analysis. None of these account for what else might be in the pipeline throughout Glen Eira.

The pro-development agenda of these 5 councillors and this administration is continuing to destroy this municipality!

Our plaudits must go to Esakoff, Parasol, Cade and Szmood following last night’s council meeting. These are the four councillors who voted AGAINST the current draft Housing Strategy and highlighted the issues that were unacceptable with what was being proposed. Sadly, the pro-development lobby (aka, Athanasopolous, Magee, Zyngier, Pilling and Zhang) carried the vote 5 to 4.

It’s not simply that the latter voted in favour of putting the housing strategy out for consultation. It is that their arguments in favour of the draft were superficial, misleading, inaccurate, and deliberately avoided mention of the most contentious aspects of the draft. All of this leads us to question whether any of these 5 councillors actually bothered to read the relevant 589 pages. We doubt it!

Cr Zyngier didn’t even utter one single word about the CONTENT of the draft or its recommendations. His focus was improving ‘consultation’ recommendations. All terrific, but how about an analysis of what is being proposed and commenting on those things in order to provide residents with the rationale behind the vote? Magee of course used the old heart strings ploy of ‘where will my children live’ totally ignoring the fact that the consultants provided their estimates of an existing land capacity for 50,000 net new dwellings when our projected housing needs were 13,000 by 2036. Pilling and Zhang merely mumbled their way through the obvious – again without once mentioning the potential negatives.

Athanasopolous was the major culprit. Either he has never bothered to read the Glen Eira planning scheme in order to understand what is currently permitted in NRZ zones, or he follows the strategy of never let the truth interfere and derail the spin. We will provide an indepth commentary on his efforts in our next post. At best, they displayed sheer ignorance. At worst they were deliberate attempts at deception and camouflage.

In contrast, the opposing councillors highlighted the actual detail contained in the draft and the impacts these proposals would have on residents and their amenity in the years to come. They also questioned the underlying assumption and justification for the proposed rezonings and schedule changes  – ie build more and there would magically be housing affordability!

When something as important as this document is up for decision it is incumbent that all councillors consider the full implications. Residents need to hear the reasoning behind the votes. They need to be convinced that something which is going to affect their lives has been given due consideration and is not a vote that follows any state or federal political party agenda. Most importantly, they need to be convinced that councillors have actually read what has been put in front of them and questioned vigorously the data, the conclusions, and the assumptions. This we maintain was not done by the 5 councillors in question.

Watch this space for a detailed analyses of what happened last night.

Council has finally released its draft Housing Strategy. The proposals will impact hundreds upon hundreds (if not thousands) of residents – without the necessary justification or evidence. Why do we think so?

  1. The various documents state over and over again that Glen Eira has the land CAPACITY to meet our projected housing needs of roughly 13,000 net new dwellings by 2036. If this is the case, then why do we need to rezone and facilitate more and more development?
  2. Much of the data provided is highly tenuous and conflicts with both Victoria in Future prognostications, as well as the Bureau of Statistics data.
  3. The assumption that building more and more will reduce prices is a fallacy and there is plenty of published evidence that would refute, or at least challenge this claim.
  4. Council has an Urban Forest Strategy, a declining tree canopy,  and a Climate Emergency policy, yet paradoxically is prepared to reduce setbacks, remove mandatory garden and parking requirements, and tellingly, instead of attempting to reduce the height island effect, council is prepared to reduce permeability so that more dwellings can occupy certain sites.
  5. Our conclusion is that this Housing Strategy is Amendment C184 in disguise – except that it will now extend to all of the municipality instead of only Bentleigh and Carnegie.

The important detail is presented below.

What the above implies about the potential zoning and schedule changes are:

  • Currently land zoned NRZ has a 50% site coverage, a 25% permeability requirement and a 4 metre rear setback. The above screen dump makes it clear that the new NRZ zone will in all probability become 60% site coverage, 20% permeability, and a removal of the 4 metre setback entirely.
  • The current GRZ zoning allows an 11 metre height maximum plus various setbacks for the upper second and third level of the buildings. There is also a mandatory garden requirement of 25% to 35% depending on the size of the property. Again, council is proposing to remove this so once again we can have more development on the site. Rear setbacks are also likely to go.

Council has provided the following map that is now the Framework Plan. Surely far more detail could have been provided such as clear differentiation of colours rather than what is shown as gradations of pink. Why not clear blues, greens, yellows that stand out? Or would this reveal too much to residents?

From this map it would appear that all Neighbourhood Centres zoned GRZ will have the mandatory garden requirement removed. Please consider the above map carefully and try to decipher whether you will be impacted by these changes.

There is much, much, more that could be said about this and council’s overall approach to consultation.  4 weeks is not enough to plough through 589 pages on the housing strategy itself. Consultation requires more than a ‘survey’ that in the past has not asked the right questions. Nor is it appropriate that council publishes a 1000 page agenda several days before vital decisions are to be made. How many more times will it be necessary to remind this council that the ombudsman recommended at least 5 working days for the publication of agendas?

We urge all residents to contact their councillors and to lobby hard for the rejection of this Housing Strategy!

At last night’s council meeting, it was revealed that over 600 trees will be removed by LXRA in order to complete the Glen Huntly station development.

With their typical lack of sufficient detail, the LXRA webpages only provide very scant detail. Please see this link: https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/media/publications/glen-huntly-factsheet-vegetation-removal

The promise to plant 2 trees for every one removed would mean that at least 1200 new trees are planted. We won’t hold our breath, and we also have to wonder whether a 3 foot sapling can in any way be equated with what is about to be destroyed. The onus is thus on council and residents to ensure that as many trees as possible are saved.

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