At this morning’s recount for the vacant councillor position, Sue Pennicuik was elected to replace Pilling. This will mean that council now has 2 Greens (Zyngier & Pennicuik).

If anyone had any doubts about council’s internal political divide, the election of mayor and deputy mayor fully illustrates how the Labor versus Lib chasm is well and truly operational in Glen Eira.

Magee has been elected by a vote of 5 to 4 as Mayor. Labor together with the support of the Greens voted for Magee, whilst the Libs with the support of the nominal ‘independents’ voted for Cade. The votes in favour of Magee were: Magee, Athanasopolous, Zhang, Zyngier and Pilling. The four voting for Cade were: Parasol, Szmood, Esakoff, Cade.

Sadly, what this means is that we have a Labor Mayor and Deputy Mayor in charge for the next year. Whether or not this means that Glen Eira will continue to back to the hilt the incumbent Labor State government remains to be seen. Sadly, taking state politics out of local government seems a forlorn hope. As we’ve stated numerous times before, local government and its councillors, owes it top priority to its residents and not to some political agenda dictated by political parties.

How ratepayers vote in the next few weeks will, we believe, largely be dependent on how ratepayers respond to the following question:

How well has this current council and councillors handled:

  • Planning?
  • Traffic?
  • Open space?
  • Consultation?
  • Tree retention?
  • Rates?
  • Advocating for the community?

If there is the view that the above long standing issues have not been improved, and have even become worse, then logically what is required is a total clean out of the standing incumbents and the election of councillors who will dedicate themselves totally to changing the current strategies, policies, and processes of this council.

As we’ve previously stated, half of these incumbents have been there for eons.

Esakoff – since 2003 continuously (apart from being sacked for a few months in 2005)

Magee – since 2008 continuously

Athanasopolous – since 2016

Ann-Marie Cade – since 2018 on a count back win of a few hundred votes

Please remember this:

  • All voted for structure plans that included 12 storey height limits
  • All voted for the Integrated Transport Policy which suggests reducing parking requirements in activity centres
  • All voted for rate increase(s) – the longest serving councillors for up to 6.5% per annum
  • All voted for meeting procedures that limit public questions
  • All voted for 3000 apartments in East Village
  • All accept at various times without question, substandard officer reports
  • All voted to become more and more in debt and borrowing $60M plus

These are just some of the major decisions which have had, and will continue to have, a detrimental effect on many, many people in this community. Can we afford another 4 years of more of the same?

After at least 150 years of the racing industry’s supremacy over the community, nothing much appears to have changed with the newly announced lease signing and the appointment of the new trustees.

Much is still unclear, but the following questions need answering:

  • Will the community be privy to the fine print of the lease agreement? Is the removal of training binding in this agreement?
  • Will the trustees publish a map that clearly outlines the land under the lease and which is freehold land?
  • How was the figure of $300,000+ per annum arrived at when previous evaluations were in the million dollar range? Why is the MRC, with its vast resources, being given literally a peppercorn rental and will this rental apply only until the removal of training or for the duration of the 65 year lease?
  • Will the introduction of night racing mean more racing events? How will these events impact on the local community?
  • Can residents expect residential development on the freehold land?
  • Will light towers now predominate across vast areas of crown land?
  • Will a new track mean further encroachment onto public open space and the further proliferation of lego land – ie white fences?

Despite the work of the various spin doctors we do not see this as anything else apart from another victory for the Melbourne Racing Club! A couple of soccer pitches do not warrant this buckling at the knees!

From The Age – Sunday, 7th October.


In another round of meaningless legislation that promises the earth and delivers nothing, we now have Wynne’s Amendment VC149 (gazetted today).

The accompanying Explanatory Report states:

Amendment VC149 also provides guidance on the assessment of planning applications where rooftop solar energy facilities exist on abutting residential properties, as well as direction on the assessment of new solar energy facilities in heritage areas. This guidance is required to address the absence of a clear and consistent framework within the VPP for the assessment of the impact of development on solar energy facilities

Clause 15.02-1 seeks to encourage land use and development that uses energy efficiently and minimises greenhouse gas emissions. Amendment VC149 will ensure that new building designs minimise the impact of overshadowing of existing rooftop solar energy facilities on adjoining lots, enabling more efficient residential energy use.

Far from ENSURING anything, this piece of legislation can only be described as another instance of spin, tokenism and the failure to insist on standards that will place a check on development that ignores the issue of solar panelling, wind tunnelling effects, etc. It mirrors the gutless refusal to introduce proper standards for apartment sizes, and the dilution of the required garden areas and parking numbers.

Readers should carefully review the following screen dump from the legislation. In order for the legislation to have any real impact then SHOULD would be replaced with MUST. Further, exactly what does ‘unreasonable’ mean? Then we also have the ‘get out of jail clause’ such as ‘if practicable’.

As for the Decision Guidelines themselves, we get the following waffle –

The extent to which an existing rooftop solar energy facility on an adjoining lot is overshadowed by existing buildings or other permanent structures. 

Whether the existing rooftop solar energy facility on an adjoining lot is appropriately located. 

The effect of overshadowing on an existing rooftop solar energy facility on an adjoining lot. 

The second sentence is remarkable. Does this mean that someone who has spent a fortune on installing solar panels will now be ‘guilty’ of councils and VCAT deciding that they weren’t ‘appropriately located’ – whatever this might mean. Does this then give the developer the all clear and occasion further cost on the neighbour to move his panels? We have already had instances in Glen Eira where this has occurred!

In our view, another piece of legislation that is all about pretense and nothing about curbing inappropriate development.

Coalition promises to rein in development on Melbourne’s leafy streets

By Benjamin Preiss & Clay Lucas

18 June 2018 — 1:00pm

Zones that control medium-density property development in sensitive areas would be changed and tightened up, under a Coalition promise to “protect” Melbourne’s streets.

With five months until the next state election, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy went to leafy Glen Iris on Monday morning to announce he would bring back a two-dwelling limit on blocks in the city’s quietest residential areas.

Under Labor, developers on blocks bigger than 400 square metres have been allowed to build as many dwellings as they like – but they must provide a minimum “garden area” of 25 per cent of the block.

Mr Guy was planning minister under the previous Baillieu-Napthine governments, and brought in the two-dwelling rule – although he only applied it in Melbourne’s more exclusive areas.

He simultaneously opened up Melbourne’s inner-city Fishermans Bend area for high-density, high-rise development and approved an unprecedented number of high-rise towers in Melbourne’s CBD.

On Monday, Mr Guy said he would bring back his nine-metre height limit in the city’s general residential zones. Under current Planning Minister Richard Wynne, this zone had been expanded to 11 metres, with a mandatory three-storey height limit.

This was done because developers were squeezing in three levels in nine metres, leading to low-quality designs and apartments with very low-ceilings.

Mr Guy said Melbourne could not afford to become a city of more than 7 million people. “That’s not the kind of city we should be leaving our children,” he said.

Mr Guy promised to re-establish his rules for neighbourhood and general residential zones, in a move he said would protect them from overdevelopment.

“We’ve always said development is fine in defined areas,” he said.

Mr Guy faced widespread criticism for the roll-out of residential zones when the Coalition was in government, both because they favoured Melbourne’s richest areas and because of the messy process surrounding their introduction.

The Coalition has promised its policy would protect quiet streets from overdevelopment and place higher density housing in high activity zones, which would include areas surrounding railway stations.

Laura Murray, president of the Planning Institute in Victoria, said the proposed changes were “extremely concerning”.

“You will not find such limited density … in any other major city around the world,” she said. “We need to unlock the missing middle, not restrict development in these areas.”

Melbourne’s planning blueprint, Plan Melbourne, has bi-partisan support, and encourages increased density in Melbourne locations near existing infrastructure, jobs, services and public transport.

Ms Murray said Mr Guy’s plans was not in line with this policy because it severely limited development on large blocks that could accommodate far more than two dwellings.

Mr Wynne has been contacted for a response to the policy announcement.

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/coalition-promises-to-rein-in-development-on-melbourne-s-leafy-streets-20180618-p4zm4t.html

The department has released its proposed legislation for aged care accommodation. See – https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/policy-and-strategy/planning-reform/residential-aged-care-facilities

In another blow to residential amenity, the proposals include:

  • A maximum height of 13.5 metres in all zones – ie this includes Neighbourhood residential which has an 8 or 9 metre mandatory height limit depending on council’s current schedules to the zone
  • If the application meets certain ‘standards’ of section 55 then there are no notification rights, no third party objection rights
  • 80% of the site can be covered by building(s), driveways, etc.
  • Car parking is 0.3 spaces per room as opposed to current differentiation between ‘nursing home’, ‘aged care accommodation’ etc. It would appear that all forms will not only need to supply 0.3 spaces.

The draft provisions are available at this link – https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/89461/RACF-Reforms-Draft-Provision.pdf

Once again the State Gov is inviting ‘submissions’.

AND FROM HANSARD – 22/8/2017

Southern Metropolitan Region


(Southern Metropolitan)

— My constituency question is for the attention of the Minister for Public Transport and it relates to the proposed 13-storey sky tower development at Ormond railway station. This is another secret development being undertaken by Daniel Andrews that the community had no knowledge of . Many residents have contacted me to voice their concerns about the sky tower and are also now asking for updated information regarding this proposed development . The government has provided little to no information regarding this project since a public hearing was held in early February of this year .

Following that hearing a report undertaken by the Victorian Transport Projects Advisory Committee was submitted to the minister as it is obliged to within 20 business days of the last hearing . Well, that was months ago.

My question to the minister on behalf of the many anxious residents within the area is: can she provide an update to the house on the proposed development and the details of the report, so that the residents of Ormond and the surrounding areas of Caulfield and Bentleigh understand exactly what was recommended to the Andrews government at the Ormond sky tower site?


Plan Melbourne: Refresh


(Southern Metropolitan)

— My matter tonight is for the attention of the Minister for Planning, and it concerns the City of Monash. On Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend a forum on planning in the City of Monash. A range of people were there who had very strong views about what is occurring in the City of Monash

. The recent changes that the government has made under Plan Melbourne: Refresh and the subsequent decision of the planning minister to put in place the VC110 planning scheme amendment have meant that a significant set of changes have occurred .

In municipalities like Glen Eira and neighbouring municipalities the increased density the government is pushing for very strongly — and that is its policy through Infrastructure Victoria and the stated comments of the Premier and the planning minister — will see neighbourhood residential zones with massive density occur on those blocks . The two -dwelling cap has been removed, and there can now be unlimited dwellings on those properties . But in the City of Monash there is less of that sort of planning overlay and protection, and it has mainly general residential zones . The government’s changes there have seen the increase in the minimum maximum height — if I can describe it that way— from 9 metres to 11 metres and an explicit allowance of  three storeys in the general residential zones

Some other municipalities face this challenge too . The Mornington Peninsula Shire and the City of Kingston are also areas where general residential zones predominate . There is a significant push now occurring, and a number of people related this to me closely at the forum that was held on Saturday of the weekend just gone . What we will see is a massive increase in density and a change to our suburbs.

What I am seeking from the minister is that he review VC110 and its impact and reverse some of these changes that he has put in place.

These changes clearly are going to change the nature of our suburbs . There is no sufficient planning behind it in terms of infrastructure, whether it is for traffic support, parking, schools, maternal and child health— I could go on.

Thanks to the Stonnington agenda, we now know that the state government’s promise to facilitate social housing is a step closer. We’ve uploaded Stonnington’s submission, plus provided extracts from their officer’s report. Whether or not this will be another example of government policy railroaded through on the back of poorly drafted legislation and with little thought given to the countless loopholes that can be exploited, remains to be seen.

Here are the officer report extracts –

Proposed Planning Reforms

Council was notified on 22 May 2017 that the Minister for Planning is seeking feedback on proposed reforms to the Victoria Planning Provisions to provide permit exemptions or streamline permit application processes for specified accommodation land uses.

Comments on the proposed reforms are due by Friday, 16 June 2017. Due to the short consultation timeframe and the timing of Council report cycles, this provides Council a short time frame to review the reforms and prepare a submission for Council endorsement.

Facilitation of public housing

The Government argues that there is a pressing need to increase the supply of social housing in Victoria. The reforms are intended to help support government policy to replace ageing public housing stock and develop new public housing.

The reforms seek to streamline the planning permit process for the development of no more than 10 dwellings on a lot by, or on behalf of, a public authority such as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It exempts assessment under Clause 55 (ResCode) and car parking requirements if specified requirements are met. In addition, it exempts an application from public notice and review requirement

Rooming house

The term “shared housing” is proposed to be replaced by the term “rooming house” (a newly defined land use term under Clause 74 of the Planning Scheme) which clarifies that other land uses such as a backpackers accommodation, boarding houses and hostels cannot benefit from the provision. The provision proposes to provide a permit exemption for use and development of land for a rooming house where specified requirements are met supporting the development of ‘domestic scale’ rooming houses under the proposed draft provisions.

The requirements propose limits of 12 persons, 8 bedrooms and a gross floor area of 300 square metres. It proposes to exempt applications by public authorities from public notice and review requirements.

Council is not confident that the draft controls will result in a high level accommodation that is respectful of its neighbourhood character, context or surrounding amenity.

The draft controls propose to provide a reduced assessment threshold to a proportion of Public Housing, Community Care Accommodation and Rooming Houses. This raises concern in relation to whether adequate levels of internal amenity, managing off -site amenity impacts and how successful integration of development within its neighbourhood context will be achieved.

The lower assessment threshold may lead to an increase in such developments, creating a loop hole for the development of sub -standard accommodation if the buildings are retro fitted into private apartment buildings in the future.

It is also considered that the Clauses as drafted will pose challenges in the extent of public notice and review exemptions. The lack of notice and review means that where otherwise affected parties would be able to make submissions, there will not be an opportunity to do so.

The proposed exemption from notice and review may result in a disconnected community and potentially increased compliance expectations on Council

Stonnington’s submission uploaded HERE

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