DEVELOPMENT INROADS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTIAL ZONE (NRZ1) – former Minimal Change Areas

At next Tuesday’s (19/12) Ordinary Council Meeting, two unrelated planning permit applications are scheduled to be presented to Council.  These applications relate to properties in the Carnegie Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ1)  which feature maximized townhouse dwelling yield (density)  via the combination of basement car parking (vehicle access and garaging below ground increases ground level development space) and the Ministerial removal of the 2 lot subdivision limit (Amendment VC110).  Given that the NRZ1 ( a.k.a. “the most protected residential zone”) covers a reported 70-80%  Glen Eira, approval of these applications sets a precedent for future “more intensive development” that is incompatible with the intent of the NRZ  and is more compatible with the activity centre growth zones (without providing proximity to services and transport).

The zones intent being

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone – maintenance of the existing character of predominantly single and double storey residential in  garden settings on tree lined streets. A GERA comment – Garden settings includes mature vegetation.  Mature trees and basement car parking are not a good mix.
  • Growth Zones (Residential Growth Zone – RGZ, 4 stories and General Residential Zone – GRZ, 3 stories) – moderate to medium density developments offering good access to services and transport and diversity of housing types.

GERA believes these developments are the “thin edge of the wedge” for future development of Glen Eira’s Neighbourhood Residential Zone.  We note in that, in the Planning Section of Glen Eira’s Annual Report 2016-2017 Council’s performance measure for evaluating the success of the strategy for providing diverse housing types has become 50% of new dwellings in the activity centres (and ipso facto 50% NRZ).  This contrasts with previous years when the split was 70:30.  Given the proposed expansion of activity centres and proposed housing mix within the centres, we call upon Council to  provide the justification for this change.

Planning Scheme Amendment VC110 – March, 2017

For the Neighbourhood Residential Zone 1 (prior to the 2013 Zone Implementation, known as the Minimal Change Area) Amendment VC110 makes the following significant changes

  • Maximum building height increase from 8 to 9 metres with a new 2 storey height limit. Provisions allowing for slight height increases due to land slope or flooding remain.
  • Removal of the maximum 2 dwellings per lot subdivision rule
  • Implementation of a mandatory “garden” area requirement that varies according size of the lot to be subdivided. In terms of the above Carnegie applications (with lot sizes of  1103 and 973.6 sqm.), the “garden” requirement is 35%  and is being met by the strip of land between the lot boundary and the underground basement car park.  The northern side, front and rear “strips” will be divided up as private open space for the town houses while the southern side strip will be common ground providing garden areas and pedestrian access to townhouses.

Example – Rigby Avenue Basement and Garden Space (click to enlarge)

 Carnegie Planning Permit Applications

 Details and Plans available ex Councils Website – Advertised Planning Permits

 Location 

The sites proximity to amenities are typical of most of the NRZ

  • Bus – 150 m
  • Carnegie Activity Centre and Train – 1.6km
  • Ormond Activity Centre and Train – 1.6km
  • McKinnon Primary School – 1.6 km

Both Rigby and Newman Avenue are narrow congested streets and already experience high on street parking demand (due to older townhouse  developments and waiving of parking requirements (14) within the Koornang/Leila Roads convenience store area.)

Specific Issues

GERA agrees with, and supports, the residents objecting to these developments.  Not only do the developments substantially adversely impact their amenity (traffic, parking, overshadowing and, overlooking – internal living areas and private open space), they are also at odds with Council’s Planning Scheme and Policies, Quality Design Guidelines and the intention of the NRZ.

A comprehensive summary of the grounds for the objection, tailored to the 3 Rigby Avenue application and pertinent to the Newman Avenue application, has been prepared and provided by the objectors.  Their intention is to assist residents objecting to similar inappropriate developments in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

As previously mentioned, these 2 permit applications will be discussed at next Tuesday’s Council Meeting (19/12).  This Meeting’s Agenda, which will include the Officer’s Recommendation on these applications, will be published late tomorrow (Friday, 15/12).    Although what the recommendation will be is not currently known (hopefully, it will be in line with residents objections and the intent of  the NRZ), the Council discussion on these 2 application will be interesting and provide insight into Council’s intentions for the future development of the NRZ.   NRZ resident attendance at the meeting should be worthwhile.

BTW – For those unable to attend, this meeting is currently scheduled to be the first Council Meeting to be live streamed. Look for a Council announcement providing the necessary details to access the live streaming.

As usual, please feel free to add your comments on the Glen Eira Residents Association Facebook page.

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ELSTERNWICK STRUCTURE PLAN SUBMISSION – Due Monday, 11th December, 2017

We have received the below email from the Elsternwick Group opposing the Draft Structure Plans for that Activity Centre.  It reminds residents that submissions are due tomorrow (11/12) and includes a sample submission that residents may use when preparing their submission.

Please note

  • Submissions for the Bentleigh and Carnegie Draft Structure Plans are also due tomorrow.
  • Residents preparing submissions for any activity centre, should also review our earlier posting re an Open Letter to the Mayor . You may wish to include some of the issues raised in your submission.

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A reminder to respond to the Glen Eira council using ALL feedback channels available – please help us make this final push to be heard!

Due to resident pressure, Bentleigh had its plan reduced as follows (and we must put as much pressure on as possible so we get the same concessions):

  • Commercial zoning areas reduced from 8 to 5 stories
  • Residential areas reduced from 4 to 3 stories (and further reduction of apartment block zoning to townhouses).

For Action by Monday 11 December:

  1.  Send your objection to Glen Eira Council planning department by MONDAY 11 DECEMBER at:  cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au . (See end of key for dot points on key issues you might want to consider in your response)
  2. Sign our online petition (and share on Facebook, send to family/friends/neighbours): https://www.change.org/p/glen-eira-council-no-high-rise-city-on-elsternwick-fringe-02dd0d1f-25c3-4ddd-b83b-b1712e2faf71
  3. Have your say on the Glen Eira discussion forum.  Register first at: https://www.haveyoursaygleneira.com.au/register then use the next link to have your say (and ‘Like’ all other relevant entries) at https://www.haveyoursaygleneira.com.au/Elsternwick/forum_topics/tell-us-what-you-think-of-the-elsternwick-draft-structure-plan   (Note: Council has done a great job at hiding key links!)
  4. If you do not believe the council has properly consulted with you,  please make a formal complaint: http://www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/Contact-us/Make-a-complaint .  If you have previously made a formal complaint and the council has not properly investigated your concerns or provided you with an appropriate outcome to your complaint within 28 working days, you can demand an internal review: http://www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/Contact-us/Internal-review
  5. Forward to other Elsternwick residents you know!!


Points you may wish to raise:

  • Clearly state you reject both options in the Elsternwick Concept Plan.
  • Plan is excessive and completely out of character with the suburb and the reason people (choose to live here).
  • Council has provided no detail (or addressed community concerns) around how properties next to or near 12 storey developments will be protected by MASSIVE overshadowing and privacy concerns in a residential area with many young families that have children.
  • City Futures and Mary Delahunty said a traffic impact assessment was being done during Stage 5 of consultation.  Council has not released the outcome of this impact assessment or been able to answer simple questions around how a significant increase in traffic (given the 20%+ increase in residents in this small area) will be managed and how traffic will be managed in the small residential streets leading up to the Elsternwick shopping strip with likely traffic chaos in St James Pde (which has a school), Denver Ave, Collage St, Horne St/Glen Huntly Road intersections.
  • Additional impacts to our already over-crowded train, tram and bus facilities – plans have NO detail on how this is being managed.
  • Both options destroy heritage/character properties in one of the oldest parts of Elsternwick (many of which are circa 1880 and turn of the century Edwardian properties).  It is letting developers destroy Elsternwick history.
  • Council has provided NO detail (or addressed community concerns) around car parking in the urban development zone and in the shopping strip to cater for a significant increase in residents many of whom will still need to drive to local shops.
  • High rise development is at direct odds with the objective of creating and protecting Elsternwick’s character and “village feel” changing the social fabric of our suburb.
  • New public space in urban development zone is only being ‘advocated’ for – there is no detail around how the council will secure this park space.

Alternative plans

  • Council has stated it is taking a whole of municipality approach to meeting Victorian government housing targets – why is it not providing a consolidated list of all housing development sites/opportunities across the municipality?
  • Across the municipality, council has enough opportunities to meet these targets (and is already meeting and exceeding its targets) without creating such excessive highrise building zones in Elsternwick.  This includes 24 hectares in the new East Village; significant opportunities in Bentleigh and Carnegie (including the Bentleigh car yard area which has THREE railway stations close by) and a recent petition from residents to develop the area on Glen Huntley Road near Hawthorn road.
  • Glen Eira council already has highest number of apartment applications (according to ABS data) https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/outrageous-stats/comment-page-1/#comment-35760
  • In addition, there is already a clear precedent for higher rise developments in the Glen Huntly Road shopping strip -which is actually in the Activity Centre zone.

 

We EXPECT our elected representatives to come up with a more appropriate and balanced option that protects Elsternwick’s heritage, character and village feel (across the entire suburb).Don’t turn our municipality into another Port Melbourne / Docklands disaster!

 

Open Letter Sent to the Mayor

The following is an open letter sent to the Mayor by a Glen Eira resident re Council’s current structure planning exercise.  It challenges the proposed significant expansion of activity centre boundaries and increased heights given the

  • Government targets (9000 new dwellings over the next 15 years)
  • currently proposed large projects (i.e. East Village, Caulfield Village and ABC site)
  • current pace of development being experienced (1500-2000 dwellings pa)

GERA agrees with the views expressed in the letter.

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8th December 2017

Dear Mr Mayor (Tony),

Congratulations on your appointment as the Mayor, an exciting year ahead. An independent and new perspective should be invaluable for confronting our key challenges. And yes, Glen Eira has some significant challenges as further highlighted by the latest ABS building permit approval numbers which show 1,324 building approvals in Glen Eira from July to end of October with 1,233 apartments and only 91 houses (This compares to an average of 541 building approvals and 443 apartments for neighbouring local government areas). These figures again reiterate the reasonable community concern that Glen Eira is growing at a very disturbing and unsustainable rate.

I understand that you have inherited this excessive and unplanned growth however unless it is more effectively controlled it will totally destroy the municipality that we have grown to love. We already have exceptionally high population density, rapid development rates and very low open space provision and hence have been very strongly pulling our weight in terms of Melbourne’s overall population growth. I have attached the relevant graphs (following) which highlight these points while also comparing the Glen Eira situation to other local government areas. I am not in any way anti-development (I have several children that will want to live in a home somewhere) but am seeking a balance to ensure liveability, long term sustainability and the right legacy.

Respectfully, what’s required is a counter-balance to address the weaknesses of the past.

Firstly, a genuine acknowledgement of the current situation is fundamental to the move forward situation. Unfortunately, the most recent ABS building approvals, which are tracking to be significantly higher than last years, have not been highlighted in any of the research and reporting undertaken as part of the structure planning process. The projection of 9,000 new dwellings over 15 years is well and truly understated (unless controlled) and this is further confirmed by the ABS building approval figures. I have requested on numerous occasions that Council project new dwellings numbers forward, including East Village, Caulfield Village, VC110 etc. but this has not been done. The Housing ID analysis, which is a research basis for Glen Eira planning, didn’t undertake this fundamental assessment.  In summary, we need some real honesty, transparency and analysis, a good fair dinkum look in the mirror.  Let the community know that you know this is a serious issue, this is a message that hasn’t been delivered previously.

Secondly, Glen Eira needs to implement appropriate controls and quickly. I understand and greatly respect that Council officers are working very hard on the structure planning process but it is counter-productive if Activity Centres are expanded, heights are discretionary, heights are excessive, public land is sold (or used) for further development and interim controls are weak.  We are at a critical juncture where a counter-balance is required to offset the legacy. We need to get our planners to seriously assess the controls that are required to achieve fair and reasonable outcomes. Develop a clear and public action plan that demonstrates a strong commitment to this objective.

Thirdly the community needs strong advocacy and representation on this issue. All too often the justification has been about state government policy. I understand state government policy but the beauty (?) of Australia is that we have three tiers of government all of which has the power to play a role. I am not interested in the politics of this situation, as has been introduced by others, but a pragmatic and evidenced based approach. The evidence is clear that strong advocacy is justifiable and required and now is the last opportunity. In talking and listening to fellow residents, I believe that this situation is a very major issue in Glen Eira that is effecting people’s lives on a daily basis. It is also an opportunity to actively address the issues that we confront.

I have been fortunate to meet you on several occasions and believe that you are a person of exceptional integrity with a focus on community representation and advocacy. I appreciate that Rome wasn’t built in a day but implore you, in your role as a custodian, to actively address the culture and practices associated with development in Glen Eira and to do this with resolve, dedication and strong leadership. If you need any assistance to achieve the outcomes you can call on the people to support you. It is through the third space – the people (a term used by William Ury in Getting to Yes) that substantial and meaningful change can occur.

With great respect and kind regards,

Warren Green.

Attachments:

 

 

NEW MAYOR – 2017-18

Congratulations to Cr. Anthony (Tony) Athanasopoulos on last night’s  election as Mayor of Glen Eira 2017 – 18.  Tony has long been an active supporter of numerous community groups and is an established trader and resident of Carnegie.

First elected to Council in October, 2016, his election as Mayor is well deserved recognition for his outstanding Councillor performance over the past 12 months.  A performance that shows a growing understanding of planning issues and always a willingness to listen and question (ourselves included).

We are looking forward to the next 12 months and “agreeing to disagree” over some (not all) issues.

Well done Tony!!!!

ORMOND SKY TOWER – BACK TO SQUARE ONE

Congratulations to the No Ormond Sky Tower folks who mounted the residents campaign.

The Age, 15/11/2017

A controversial plan for a high-rise tower on top of Ormond train station has been dramatically blocked at the 11th hour after a motion to reject the project was passed in Parliament.

The highly unusual move has been slammed by the property industry and planning experts, who warn it will undermine proper planning process and increase red tape.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne had approved the 13-storey tower despite a long-running campaign against it by local residents and Glen Eira Council, which pushed for eight storeys to match the low-rise area.

Mr Wynne backed the mixed-use development in the politically sensitive south-east with retail, offices and 233 apartments after a planning panel endorsed the project.

But it was blocked at the final planning approval stage in the Victorian Upper House on Wednesday by the opposition, Greens and Australian Conservatives’ Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins.

The project will now go back to square one, undoing a costly and extensive six-month planning panel process. It is an exceptionally rare move, with the last revocation occurring eight years ago.

Glen Eira mayor Mary Delahunty has already indicated that the council will now have to fork out tens of thousands of dollars to re-engage legal representation and experts for another round of planning panel hearings.

Shadow Minister for Public Transport and Planning David Davis, who first moved to revoke the project, said he was not opposed to the “value capture” model at level crossing removal sites.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy approved thousands of high-rise apartments in Melbourne’s CBD when he was planning minister, yet Mr Davis claims he chose to intervene in the Ormond station project because the building was too high for the local area.

“Even though the Ormond level crossing removal was fully funded by the previous Coalition government, the prospect of a quick buck led to Labor’s outrageous approval of a 13-storey development in Ormond.”

It comes as the opposition and Greens unsuccessfully sought to block another development on Wednesday – the controversial Markham Estate – which is 1.4 hectares of prime Ashburton land the Andrews government wants to develop for both private and public housing.

Greens MP Sue Pennicuik​ and Mr Davis have suggested that they will use the revocation tool to block projects they disagree with, which could create a headache for the government with minority status in the Upper House, as it pushes through development and transport projects across the state.

The Ormond station tower falls in the safe Liberal seat of Caulfield, but borders on the marginal seat of Bentleigh, currently held by Labor.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan accused Mr Davis of pulling a “political stunt”.

Ms Allan said those losing out were “young families wanting to rent a house or get into the property market in Melbourne close to public transport”.

The Property Council of Australia’s Victorian executive director Sally Kapp​ said revoking projects in Parliament opens up a “new avenue” for properly vetted projects to be pulled at the last minute, driving up cost, delays and creating uncertainty.

She warned that this would threaten investment and development in the state.

“We have just made it harder to do business in Victoria. We have made it harder to build worthwhile projects in Victoria.

Associate Professor in Urban Planning Alan March said if the opposition continues to successfully revoke planning amendments, this would “change the face of the planning system”.

“It would mean more and more political influence and less and less professional influence over the planning scheme,” said Dr March.

Land value capture, which involves selling public land to developers, is the strategy used by the Andrews government to help recuperate funds for the $6.9 billion level crossing removal project.

 

DRAFT STRUCTURE PLANNING COMMUNITY FORUMS

Council has released information on the next round of Community Forms to discuss the Bentleigh, Carnegie, Elsternwick and East Village centres Draft Structure Plans.

The Draft Structure Plans outline the current (to date) vision for  future development of the above centres and surrounding residential areas.  These plans will provide the basis for changes to the Glen Eira Planning Scheme that will set the “rules” (i.e. what can be built where) within each cente’s defined boundaries.  The Plans include:

  • development and future land use
  • transport, traffic management and parking
  • types and heights of buildings (what can be built where)
  • employment
  • open spaces
  • infrastructure and
  • the preservation and protection of neighbourhood character and vegetation

Unfortunately, the timing isn’t the greatest (proximity to the upcoming Festive Season) and the documentation is voluminous (the time required to assess will be significant), however, what’s being presented is significant and resident participation/commitment is essential.  Basically, it’s a case of make the effort now, to ensure the revised Planning Scheme reflects community views or, make a potentially greater effort later as individual planning permit applications are lodged.

Forum details and links to the appropriate documentation are

Bentleigh Draft Structure Plan Community Forum

  • Monday, 13th November – 6.30pm-8.30pm
  • Duncan Mackinnon Reserve Pavilion
  • Corner North and Murrumbeena Roads, Murrumbeena

Council website links:

Bentleigh Forum and Information Sessions

Bentleigh Draft Structure Plan Documentation

 

Carnegie Draft Structure Plan Community Forum

  • Monday, 20th November – 6.30pm-8.30pm)
  • Glen Eira Town Hall – Auditorium,
  • Cnr Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield

Council website links:

Carnegie Forum and Information Sessions

Carnegie Draft Structure Plan Documentation

 

Elsternwick Draft Structure Plan Community Forum

  • Monday, 4th December – 6.30pm-8.30pm)
  • Glen Eira Town Hall – Auditorium,
  • Cnr Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield

Council website links:

Elsternwick Forum and Information Sessions

Elsternwick Draft Structure Plan Documentation

  

East Village Draft Structure Plan Community Forums

Two forums are being held

School Building –Community Workshop

  • Monday, 4th December, 2017 – 6.00 – 8.30 p.m.
  • TBC

Structure Plan Community Forum

  • Thursday, 7th December, 2017 6.30 – 8.30 p.m.
  • Duncan McKinnon Reserve
  • Corner North and Murrumbeena Roads, Murrumbeena

Council Website link:

School Building and Structure Pan

 

As always, if you have any comments or need additional information, please feel free to comment on our Facebook Page

BETHLEHEM HOSPITAL – IT CONTINUES

GERA has just received the below email from the BHCA Group challenging Council’s proposed representation at next month’s VCAT Hearing.  The BHCA Group is the residents group opposing the proposed development of a high rise Retirement Village at Kooyong Road, Caulfield South – the development site is surrounded by the Neighbourhood Residential Zone with a 2 storey height.

“Previous statements from councillors and planning department representatives have offered confidence that the Development, as revised, would be strongly resisted and defended by council.  …. It is with alarm that BHCA Group has learned the City of Glen Eira is not appointing a barrister.  Nor is it presenting planning evidence, instead addressing matters by way of submission.”   

We agree with the BHCA Group that Council’s proposed submission falls short of past promises and we note that it is in line with residents’ long standing and increasingly vocal criticisms of the quality of Council representation at VCAT.

The Bethlehem Hospital Community Action Group can be contacted by email at bhcagroup@gmail.com

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Dear Cr Delahunty (Mayor), Cr Silver, Cr Sztrajt, Cr Esakoff, Cr Davey, Cr Athanasopoulos, Cr Hyams, Cr Magee and Cr Taylor

Re: Calvary Healthcare Bethlehem Hospital Application GE/PP-29481/2016

To date, the Bethlehem Hospital Community Action Group (BHCA Group) has been reassured that the council possesses a similar strength of objection to the Bethlehem Hospital Redevelopment (the Development) as the local, affected residents.

Previous statements from councillors and planning department representatives have offered confidence that the Development, as revised, would be strongly resisted and defended by council.  The draft permit conditions tabled by council at the VCAT compulsory conference and the early assurances that the City of Glen Eira would steadfastly defend the integrity of its planning scheme by appointing counsel and expertise provided affected residents with the impression that their elected representatives were listening and would act to oppose an irrevocable affront to the unique neighbourhood character.

Unfortunately, this confidence has been misplaced.

It is with alarm that BHCA Group has learned the City of Glen Eira is not appointing a barrister.  Nor is it presenting planning evidence, instead addressing matters by way of submission.  While this approach may be sufficient for the routine or typical VCAT planning or development related matters, for a VCAT determination, which goes to the heart of the integrity of City of Glen Eira planning scheme, it is not, sufficient or adequate.

The developers, Calvary Health Care, have engaged a high quality and experienced QC, instructed by legal, planning, urban design, traffic, landscape and related experts.  They all have a motivation to successfully argue that the planning scheme does not apply to the Development and hence, they can flout the planning regulations and destroy the neighbourhood character with impunity.

BHCA Group strongly believes that this VCAT hearing commencing on 20 November 2017 is a test case for the integrity of the planning scheme for developments of this type.  Issue of a permit, in the form proposed or substantially similar would represent a highly undesirable precedent that will propagate throughout the City of Glen Eira and other regions.

BHCA Group, with the full appreciation of the distinction between the arguments and representations of local residents and those of the City of Glen Eira, recognises that it must advocate on behalf of affected local residents.  BHCA Group has obtained funding from local residents to engage its own barristers, planning and other experts to argue its case.  BHCA Group reasonably expected that its efforts would complement those of the City of Glen Eira’s.

We therefore call upon the council, representing the residents of the City of Glen Eira, to move a motion to instruct the planning department and its legal counsel to appoint a senior barrister with suitable planning experience, planning expertise, whether it be from within the City of Glen Eira’s planning department or externally appointed, to complement and coordinate the urban design and parking experts that are currently contemplated.

As has been previously communicated, BHCA Group remains committed to work with the City of Glen Eira to coordinate our defence and objection to this inappropriate and objectionable Development. 

Kelvin Cope

on behalf of

BHCAGroup