HELP SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE

Many readers will be aware of a development proposal within the McKinnon Village (a.ka. McKinnon Neighbourhood Centre) that involves re-zoning of a large site that is currently zoned for industrial use to a Mixed Use Zone capped at a height of 4 stories (refer to our Save McKinnon Village posting).  178 residents lodged formal objections to the proposal and 30+ of those objectors attended the recently held planning conference (refer Proposed McKinnon Mixed Use Zone – Planning Conference Report.  Overwhelmingly, the residents found that

  • Council (the Local Planning Authority) had accepted a developer’s proposal without undertaking an detailed analysis of available re-zoning, height options and site limitations* to ensure that proposed rezoning was the most appropriate for the future development of the Village.  The arguments presented to justify the selection of the MUZ and 4 storey height limit were considered weak as they were equally applicable to the selection of site’s surrounding zones (GRZ – General Residential Zone with a height limit of 3 stories or NRZ – Neighbourhood Residential Zone with a 2 storey height limit)

* Site Limitations = on the village’s boundary, surrounding zonings, local road network limitations, significant drainage issues, limited parking and lack of compatible/complementary businesses

  • the presented proposal was both inappropriate and unacceptable and that Council should  abandon/reject the current proposal pending completion of a detailed analysis and the presentation of that analysis to the community via consultation.

The Officer’s Report arising from this planning conference is included the Agenda  for this coming Tuesday’s (21/3/17) Council Meeting (insert link).  Unfortunately, as per the Save McKinnon Village website,

 “The planning officer’s report overlooked many of the objections raised including the most basic, ie.  that Council has yet to undertake an objective analysis to determine and justify the most appropriate zoning or height limit  …  the planning officer is recommending that council vote to send this amendment to an independent panel for their recommendation”

 The Save McKinnon Group and GERA believe Council, as the elected representatives of the community and the Local Planning Authority, should act in accordance with the residents clearly expressed wishes, as afterall it is frequently claimed that “it is your Planning Scheme”, by

  • abandoning/rejecting the proposed amendment
  • undertaking and presenting the analysis then,
  • if necessary, considering a third party assessment.

We accept that committing to above will add a further delay to the lengthy planning scheme amendment approval process (which, incidentally, is not subject to the 60 day time limit applicable to large planning permit applications), however, we contend that compared to lasting impact of unacceptable and inappropriate development such delay is minimal.

The Save McKinnon Village folks are appealing for your assistance in lobbing Councillor’s to vote to abandon/reject the proposal before Tuesday’s (21/3/2017) Council Meeting.  A sample email to Councillors and Councillor contact details are available on their website

 

PROPOSED McKINNON MIXED USE ZONE – PLANNING CONFERENCE REPORT

Proposal: 

Planning Scheme Amendment (C143) to re-zone a 3671sqm site currently zoned for Industrial Use  to a Mixed Use Zone – Schedule 1 and implement a Design and Development Overlay – Schedule 6 (DDO6) to apply a 4 storey height limit and rear setbacks requirements for the site.  The site is located on the south and western edge of McKinnon Village Neighbourhood Centre on the corner of Wheatley and McKinnon Roads

For those interested, background on this Amendment and proposed DDO is available in our previous posting Save McKinnon Village.

Planning Conference Details

  • Date:     23/02/2017
  • Chair:    Cr. Jamie Hyams, with Jacqui Brasher, Principal Strategic Planner, in attendance.
  • Properties Notified:   90
  • Submissions Rec’d:  182, 5 in support and 177 objecting

Officer’s Recommendation:   To be presented to Council 21/3/2017

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The planning conference proved to be a marathon event lasting almost 4 hours with the approx. 30 attendees raising strong objections to the proposal itself and equally strong criticisms of Council for  presenting residents with the developer’s proposed zoning, heights and setbacks,  without Council (the responsible Local Planning Authority) presenting to residents any analysis of available options.  Their overwhelming opinion was that the presented proposal was unacceptable and should be rejected by Council.  Council should consult with community to obtain their input on the most appropriate zoning, height and setbacks for the site.

Before outlining the major objections raised at the Planning Conference readers should note the following “supplementary” issues raised and discussed

  • Attendance Requirements – Council advised that the change in attendance requirements (i.e. pre-registration) and the police presence at the Conference, were precautionary measures undertaken in response to the developer (a well known local resident) receiving threatening and intimidating letters re the development proposal. Fortunately, nothing untoward occurred and many of the objectors, prefaced their opposition to the proposal, with well wishes for the developer as he embarked on his next endeavour.
  • Generally, when it comes to planning matters, there are two types of community consultations. These being amendments to the planning scheme and an application for a planning permit.
  • Amendments – basically the Planning Scheme defines what (ie. physical parameters) can be built where and the nature of the uses (ie. businesses) that are allowed in the various locations. The current proposal  fits into this category and, it is at this stage that community involvement is emphasized – it’s when the parameters are set for building heights, footprints and setbacks etc.  Although Ministerial approval is required before an amendment is effected (formal term = gazetted), Council as the Local Planning Authority is responsible for preparing and substantiating the proposed amendment – provided appropriate documentation is presented, Ministerial Approval is generally given.  VCAT has no involvement in this approval process.
  • Planning Permit Applications are the next level down from the Planning Scheme Amendments – these are applications (which include detailed building plans) to develop a site in accordance with the parameters/clauses incorporated in the Planning Scheme (ie. predefined maximum heights, building footprints and set backs etc). VCAT is the arbiter in this approval process.  With regards this current proposal, as the proposed Amendment and DDO is yet to be defined, detailed development plans are yet to be prepared.
  • Roadworks – Residents requested information on the proposed roadworks on the Cnr. Wheatley and McKinnon Roads (the tender notice appeared in the Age 21/1/2017). Since such roadworks would impact the traffic and parking conditions around the site, residents had sought (6/2/2017 & 20/2/2017), but had yet to receive information on the proposed roadworks.  The details of the roadworks provided by Cr. Hyams were that they involved raising the height of the current roundabout (to ensure motorists drove around, rather than across, the roundabout) and for associated road re-surfacing and kerb replacement.   No comment was made on the delay in passing this information on to residents.
  • Conference – As previously mentioned the Planning Conference was well conducted/facilitated. All attendees were given adequate opportunity to express their views (some more than once) on the proposal and their dissatisfaction with Council’s poor planning performance and the quality of information re the proposal that had presented to residents.

 OBJECTION ISSUES

 Mixed Use Zone (MUZ1)

  • Cr. Hyams confirmed that the proposed Mixed Use Zone, building heights and setback requirements originated with the developer, as is his right.
  • Residents argued that the creation of new Mixed Use Zone (MUZ) at this location is inappropriate due to:
    • Council’s Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) which includes the following
      • Clause 21:07Encourage the conversion of isolated pockets of industrially zoned land to residential where residential land use surrounds such sites”
      • Clause 21:07 – Zones & Overlays: zoning non-conforming industrial uses to match the predominant surrounding zone

Due to some planning quirk the Mixed Use Zone is classified as a residential zone even though the zones higher densities, various features and allowed uses are not aligned with the sites “predominant surrounding zone” (ie. GRZ1 and NRZ1).  Attendees were extremely critical of the level of analysis undertaken in selecting the MUZ for this location and commented that all justifications presented in support the creation of a new MUZ for this location either

. equally justified rezoning to one of the alternate “predominant” surrounding zones (GRZ or NRZ) or

. were unsubstantiated (eg. increased employment opportunities) or

.  did not consider the negative amenity impacts (significant noise, traffic volumes and parking demand) the MUZ’s allowed uses (shops, food and liquor premises that favoured businesses operating with trading hours) would have on the predominant surrounding residential zones

Please note that the maximum leasable floor area for MUZ allowed uses (ie. no planning permit required) is capped at 150 sqm.  However, Council advised that area can accommodate sit in/take out stores, cafes and restaurants.  Additionally, although not specifically mentioned, planning permit applications can be lodged to expand areas beyond the 150 sqm cap.

  • Contrary to information contained in the Explanatory Note, the site is not “surrounded by residential and commercial uses” . It is a stand alone site on the boundary of McKinnon Village that is surrounded by residential zones only.
  • As previously mentioned the MUZ features lower requirements for permeability, landscaping, private open space and setback requirements than those of surrounding GRZ and NRZ zones.  Setback requirements and landscaping being “hot” issues as the location is prone to storm water flooding and providing the transition  from growth areas to the NRZ areas.
  • Located away from the Village core, the site lacks
    • Facilities (eg. parking, train station) and complementary businesses
    • The Commercial Zones “buffering” impact on noise levels impacting residential areas
    • Is not readily accessible to the majority of the centres residents
  • McKinnon Village currently has many vacant shops. The recently completed grade separation works had added more vacant shops and more will be added as already approved multi-unit developments are completed.  McKinnon doesn’t need additional shops, particularly shops located away from the village core.

Design and Development Overlay – DDO6

  • As the Mixed Use Zone has no height limits or set back requirements DDO6 defines a 4 storey (13.5-14.5m depending on land slope) height limit and rear setbacks for the site.
  • Height limits

The proposed height limit of 4 storey/14.5m

    •  is contrary to the designation of McKinnon Village as a Neighbourhood Centre and the 2013 Zone Implementation that implemented a 10.5m/3 storey height limit on residential zones within this neighbourhood centre and other such centres
    • Is inconsistent with the concept of scaling down building heights from the Village centre towards the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.
    • The site is subject to a special building overlay (SBO).  An SBO is related to requirements for storm water flooding treatments, it is not and should not be a justification for a height increase of an additional storey.
    • Like wise, describing a proposed building as a “Gateway” is not a justification for increased height that is inconsistent with the surrounding zones.
      • A “Gateway” is not specifically related to height, its a description that can also be applied to a building with architectural merit that fits within or enhances the character of the surrounding area
      • A Gateway building is more appropriately located on the Jasper Road (a main road) entrance to the village rather than that village’s boundary with the NRZ.
    • Will result in visual bulk, dominance and overshadowing. With regards visual bulk, residents highlighted the dominance of the only 4 storey building within Village (diagonally opposite the new train station) .  The dominance of this building when viewed from across the road or when approaching along McKinnon Road  indicates how dominant a 4 storey building, surrounded by 3 and 2 storey buildings, will be.
  • Inadequate Setback Provisions

The absence of above and below ground street-front, side and rear setbacks

    • restricts ground absorption of storm water runoff (a Special Building Overlay applies to the site).  Surrounding topography and  inadequate Council maintenance of drains within the Village frequently resulted in storm water flooding of the immediate and surrounding areas.
    • restricts on-site landscaping opportunities (eg mature vegetation) that would mitigate visual bulk and provide a positive amenity  impact for future residents.
  • In response to questioning on above ground side and street front setbacks the Developer’s Representative indicated that diagrams of proposed setbacks had been forwarded to Council. The diagrams, distributed to objectors the next day, are flagged as being indicative only – this combined with the absence of such setback requirements in DDO6 raises serious questions re the inclusion of side and street-front setbacks if the current proposal is accepted by Council.
  • Additionally, the Developer’s Representative was unable advise if side and street-front setbacks would be included at ground level or commence at a higher level.

 Traffic and Parking

 In addition to criticisms of Council’s failure to address the cumulative traffic and parking issues arising from increased development within McKinnon Village and flow on impacts arising from the Villages close proximity to the Ormond and Bentleigh centres, the following issues were raised

  • Already congested McKinnon Road is becoming even more congested (despite removal of the level crossing). The intersection with Wheatley Road (the only local road that links North and Centre Roads) is becoming increasingly dangerous.  The proposal would increase traffic volumes on both roads.
  • Wheatley Road services schools and significant redevelopments within the Ormond, McKinnong and Bentleigh centres.  The road is narrow and experiences high parking demand that requires regular “crossover pullovers” by current traffic.
  • On Street parking (on both McKinnon and Wheatley Roads) within the vicinity of the proposal is minimal (due to the roundabout slipways, bus stops and crossovers) and is simply incapable of providing for the extra demand that will generated by a Mixed Use Zone.
  • Proposed development vehicle access via a one-car width laneway accessed from Wheatley Road is inadequate.

Precedence

Following on from the above questioning of the proposed new MUZ and DDO height limit and setbacks, the issue of precedence was raised.   The approval of this proposal would set a significant and far reaching precedence for the whole of Glen Eira.  This precedent would be far more significant than the current of precedence used  justify incremental building heights (ie from 8 stories to 10 stories) within the various centres.  This precedent would justify

  • the creation of new MUZ higher density zones
    • on the edges of any neighbourhood centre rather than in the centres core and
    • in locations not accessed by main or arterial roads
  • negate the concept of scaling down building heights from the village core to NRZ

This precedent doesn’t currently exist,  don’t let it be created.

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Apologies for the length of this posting folks – it’s a challenge to summarize 4 hours – thanks for hanging in there.

As always, if you would like to make any comments or seek some clarification of issues raised, feel free to access GERA’s Facebook page

 

PROPOSED 9 STORIES @ 277-9 CENTRE ROAD, BENTLEIGH, PLANNING CONFERENCE

The Centre Road Bentleigh Group, who are opposing high rise development in Centre Road, have prepared the below posting on the recent (6/3/17) Planning Conference for the proposed 72 unit development at 277-9 Centre Road.

GERA supports the group and encourages residents to do the same – the group may be contacted via email at centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – STOP THE DESTRUCTION

 A call for all of the Glen Eira community to attend the Council meeting on Tuesday 21st March at Glen Eira Town Hall.

At the next Council meeting, Tuesday 21st March at 7.30pm, Councillors will consider the rezoning of a large site at 100 McKinnon Road McKinnon, a nine storey development application at 277 Centre Road Bentleigh (summary below), an eight storey development application at 348 Centre Road Bentleigh. 

With a 15 storey development application also recently submitted for Koornang Road Carnegie incorporating a reduction of 56 statutory car parks, Enough is Enough.  The whole community should attend this meeting to demonstrate that the destruction of Glen Eira is not acceptable.  We are all being affected by inappropriate unplanned development and it’s not good enough. Enough is Enough.

Nine Storey Development Planning Conference Summary

A Planning Conference for the nine-storey (72 apartment) development application at 277 Centre Road Bentleigh was held on Monday 6th March.  In excess of 200 objections were received for the development and the planning conference was well attended particularly given that many objectors only received advice on the day.  Numerous attendees highlighted that they lived very close to this potential huge development and they, and others, did not receive any formal notification from Council about the development application.  Please City of Glen Eira get this process right and allow for genuine consultation!

It was good to see a new Councillor take the chair, hopefully this conference provided first hand insight on resident disenchantment and anger over excessive, inappropriate and unplanned development in Glen Eira generally and Centre Road Bentleigh specifically.  Of great concern at the meeting was the performance of the Council officer who did not know the actual location of the development, its height, its zoning under the interim controls and many other elements.  This situation is unacceptable and needs to be addressed if the leadership of Glen Eira want the planning process to have any credibility in the future.

As per previous planning conferences for developments in commercial areas, residents again highlighted the following points:

  • Height and scale of building is excessive for Bentleigh.
  • Development in Bentleigh is increasing too rapidly.
  • Loss of neighbourhood character.
  • Poor transition in height and setbacks to residential area.
  • Visual bulk and dominance of building within streetscape.
  • Development will detract from nearby heritage dwellings.
  • Inadequate parking provided on site.
  • Traffic congestion – street parking is already inadequate.
  • Poor internal amenity and design is not sustainable.
  • Strain on infrastructure.
  • Inadequate open space to accommodate additional population.

In the absence of reasonable controls (such as a structure plan – which is due to be completed in October 2017 and interim height limits – evidently due very soon!), much discussion was focused on the provision of on site car parking and general traffic management.  The applicant has sought a waiver in the reduction of statutory car parks by a number of 26 and they included a very outdated 2015 car parking survey as part of the submission.  Historically, Council has allowed a reduction in the number of statutory car parks and when asked about the reason for this, the Council officer could not provide any justification.  The applicant’s traffic management consultant provided no confidence either with residents left absolutely bemused as to why more rigor has not been done in this area.

As the representatives of residents, Council was requested to seriously and rigorously assess the implication of cumulative car parking and traffic and in the absence of any justification, to not provide a waiver of statutory car parking numbers.  Several residents (doing Council research) pointed out that since the car parking survey was completed in 2015, the following developments have been approved (one at VCAT) with waivers on statutory car parking provision. 

  • 324 Centre Road 8 storeys 39 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 343 Centre Road 4 storeys reduced parking.
  • 270 Centre Road 4 storeys reduced parking.
  • 348 – 352 Centre Road 8 storeys 38 dwellings reduced parking (at VCAT).
  • 339 Centre Road 3 storeys reduced parking.
  • 342 – 346 Centre Road 19 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 331 Centre Road reduced parking.
  • 261 Centre Road 18 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 24 Mavho Street 4 storeys 28 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 40 Mavho Street 4 storeys 24 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 39 Mavho Street 3 storeys 27 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 32 Mavho Street 3 storeys 10 dwellings reduced parking.
  • 37 Nicholson Street 26 dwellings reduced parking.

The traffic management considerations for the site are very unique as the access/exit location is via a residential street (Oak Street), close to Centre Road and is opposite from the residential entrance to apartments above Aldi, the Aldi loading bay and the Aldi car park entrance.  The most astonishing element however is that the applicant proposes that the entry/exit point to the 72 apartment development will be via a rear laneway which is one car width wide.  You don’t need to be a traffic engineer to work out that this is not an acceptable solution in this century!  If Council is serving its community it will fully review this and challenge the suitability of this proposal. 

Enough is Enough – Stop this Destruction. 

Attend the Council meeting on Tuesday 21st March at 7.30pm to show Councillors that the current planning situation is not acceptable. 

MORE HIGHRISE FOR CENTRE ROAD BENTLEIGH

A group of concerned residents (Centre Road Bentleigh Group) has been formed to oppose the seemingly constant highrise development that is occurring along Centre Road, Bentleigh. The latest planning permit application is for a 9 storey development at 277-9 Centre Road.  Details of the current and past planning permit applications are included in the below posting that has been prepared the CRBG.  GERA supports the group and encourages residents to do the same – the group may be contacted via email at centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com

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OPPOSE THE DESTRUCTION OF CENTRE ROAD BENTLEIGH

The residents of Bentleigh are extremely disappointed about the unplanned and inappropriate developments in Centre Road.  At this stage, two major developments have been approved: 8 storeys at 324 Centre Road and 7 storeys at 342 Centre Road with two other major developments going through the application process: 8 storeys at 348 Centre Road and 9 storeys at 277 Centre Road (refer map).  Of further concern is that limited communication of these significant developments to the broader community has occurred.

Given that no height limits exist for the commercial areas of Centre Road Bentleigh and there is no structure plan in place, Centre Road is highly exposed to total destruction with these developments being the start of an absolute disaster.  Years of planning neglect have resulted in a totally ad hoc approach to development and unless this is stopped the legacy for the community will be atrocious.  This unfortunately is the same situation for other commercial areas in the City of Glen Eira.

This situation is totally unacceptable and we seek your objection to the 277 Centre Road development, which is currently being advertised.  This will continue to send a clear message to Council that the residents of Glen Eira care and are passionate about the place in which we live. 

 To deliver the right long-term outcome, and consistent with surrounding municipalities, we are seeking the introduction of the right planning framework (including structure planning, height controls, traffic management, etc.) as a matter of the highest priority.  This will ensure that Bentleigh (and surrounds) are passed onto the next generation with respect and consideration.  We don’t need development we need a clear plan, this ad hoc approach to development must stop.

We ask that Councillors embrace this opportunity and work collaboratively with residents to achieve an outcome that respects the importance of developments in making places special for people and as an outcome contribute to building stronger communities.

 The map below shows the developments approved and development applications. centre-rd-devts

 What You Can Do

  • Lodge an objection to the proposed 9 storey development by the end of February. To assist with your objection, a Sample Objection  is provided.  Details of how to submit your objection are provided on the bottom of the Sample Objection.  However you choose to submit your objection please remember to include your Name, Contact Details (address and telephone no.), Signature and Date. 
  • Email centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com if you want further details

THIS DESTRUCTION MUST BE STOPPED

Community Gardens in Glen Eira

community-gardens-2

A perennial issue in Glen Eira is residents desire for community gardens (particularly in or near the Growth Zones) and Council’s reluctance to support community gardens.  

Sure, without some organizational structure and Council support they can be difficult to establish and maintain on a long term basis. However, as has been shown in other inner and middle ring metro Melbourne municipalities, enthusiastic volunteers, guidance from various associations and Council support have created some very successful and creative community gardens, that have had a significant community impact. Checkout – 5 of the best Community Gardens in Melbourne, Melbourne community garden and Maribyrnong City Council – Community Gardens

GERA supports establishing community gardens in Glen Eira and also Glen Eira’s growing number of  “grass roots” community garden advocates.

As per the below article (to appear in this weeks Leader), GERA proposes the inclusion of community gardens in our campaign for the “opening up” of the Racecourse Centre Parkland.  In our view it’s an ideal location – easily accessible from the high density development occurring in Glen Eira and Stonnington and smack dab in the middle of an area known for an abundance of cheap fertilizer, ie. horse manure.

2016-02-14-leader-article

Come along tomorrow evening (15/02/2017) and check it out.   Details are in our previous posting

Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – Community Gathering 15/02/2017

2017-02-gathering-flyer-p10001

For those who don’t know in 1858 a Crown Grant established the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve with 3 separate yet equal purposes – racecourse, public recreation ground and public park (Caveat on Title).  Yet over the past 20  years lack of oversight and mismanagement (State Government and Board of Trustees) has allowed racing and racing’s commercial activities to dominate the reserve to the exclusion of the public park purposes.

racecourse-2

The scathing September, 2014 Auditor General Report into the management of the reserve graphically identified the current  imbalance in usage of the Reserves 54 ha (valued at $2bn), that has resulted from that lack of oversight and mismanagement, as being

  • 11 hectares (20%), is leased by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) for a flat rate of approx. $170,000 p.a.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used by MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement.  (GERA comment – to put this 37 hectares in perspective, it is roughly the equivalent to the combined size of Glen Eira’s two premier parks – Caulfield Park (24.9ha) and Princes Park (12.4ha.)
  • 6 hectares (11%) is open space for potential use by the community on restricted days at restricted times. Use of the racecourse parkland by the public is not actively promoted nor visible from the surrounding streets.  It is also difficult to physically access and comprises limited facilities that don’t meet park users’ needs.

It is now almost 2.5 years  since the AG’s Report and, although “opening up” the Reserve for public use by the surrounding communities of Glen Eira and Stonnington would be significant*, only scant information is available on progress and little has been achieved at “ground zero”.  Therefore, GERA, in conjunction with the Malvern East Group (a.k.a. Stonnington residents group), invites you to a Community Gathering at Caulfield Racecourse between 6.00 & 8.00 pm on Wednesday, 15th February, 2015.

The purpose of this event is twofold

  • To increase community usage of the our parkland by
    • Increasing community awareness of the 2 public park purposes of this Reserve and
    • Providing an opportunity for the community to visit the park and experience it’s magnitude and beauty.
  • To provide local residents with an opportunity to join the campaign seeking increased State Government actions, that are geared to
    • redressing the imbalance in racing vs. public usage of this public land, and
    • ensuring compliance with the Auditor General’s recommendation for open and transparent management this public land.

We hope you will be able to attend.

Public Parkland Access Point Details & Opening Hours

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*Significance of “Opening Up” the Reserve

  • Glen Eira has the least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne, Stonnington the second least
  • Caulfield Racecourse is located
    • just south of Dandenong Road which is the boundary between the two municipalities.
    • Residents in both Municipalities experience adverse amenity impacts (traffic, parking and noise) from racing and racing commercial events.
    • In both Municipalities, the residential areas surrounding this small stretch of Dandendong Road are targeted for, and are currently experiencing, high density growth.

EAST VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT – PROPOSED PARTNERSHIP ARRANGEMENT

UPDATE – 7/2/2017  – COUNCIL TO ENSURE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

At tonight’s Council Meeting, the proposed partnership agreement with the Victorian Planning Authority for the East Village Development Site  was amended and approved.  The amendment includes significant and effective community engagement during the developments planning process.

Congratulations to Council for hearing the call and to residents for answering the call to action – it’s a good outcome.  Hopefully, it bodes well for future community engagement.

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Original Posting 4/2/2017

GERA urges all readers and residents to read this Agenda Item 9.2 for Tuesday’s 7th February Council Meeting

The purpose of this report is to seek Councillor endorsement for a proposed partnership with the Victoria Planning Authority (VPA) to assist Council to undertake the structure planning and preliminary planning for the ‘East Village’ site.

For those not aware – the East Village site (24ha or 240,000 sqm) is an expansion of the previously rejected Virginia Park Re-development Proposal (12.3ha).  Located near the corner of North and East Boundary Roads, development of this massive site is severely constrained by the site’s limited vehicular and pedestrian access and a lack of accessible public transport.

 google-earth

The VPA has significant experience in development planning for challenging and significant sites.  As outlined in a letter attached to the Officer’s Report, the VPA, in close collaboration with Council, will undertake

– Project management, including convening meetings between VPA, Council and Developers

– Coordination of State agencies and utility service providers

– Preparation of structure plan and appropriate amendment material

– Assistance and support as required

Development Planning to be completed by September, 2017 with community consultation occurring after Structure Planning (May/June) and after September.

While GERA welcomes the recommendation for VPA involvement (it brings to the table a level of expertise and resources that quite simply are beyond the usual planning functions of Council), the report raises significant concerns re community engagement.   Such a massive site has far reaching and potentially adverse implications for the surrounding community.  Therefore, it is extremely important that open and transparent community engagement is embedded in the development planning process.

Unfortunately, neither the Officers Report nor it’s attachments provide details on how such community engagement is to be achieved.  Officers reporting to Council at key decision points or Council presenting completed plans (“done deal”) for residents to comment on does not constitute good or appropriate community engagement.

GERA therefore urges

  • Councilllors representing us to put forward an amendment to the Officers Recommendation that states:

That a decision on this proposal be deferred at this time so that Councillors have more time to consider the proposal and how best to actively provide for community input during the development planning process.

  • Residents to contact all Councillors (email and/or mobile) prior to Tuesday’s Meeting, to urge them to support the proposed amendment.   Remember – the strongest message is numbers, your support in contacting Councillors is vital.

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Councillor Contact Details

Sample email – feel free to cut and paste.

Subject: Agenda item 9.2  for Tuesday’s 7th February Council meeting

While I welcome the recommendation for VPA involvement, Agenda Item 9.2 raises significant concerns re community engagement.   Such a massive site has far reaching and potentially adverse implications for the surrounding community.  Therefore, it is extremely important that open and transparent community engagement is embedded in the development planning process.

Unfortunately, neither the Officers Report nor it’s attachment provide details on how such community engagement is to be achieved.  Officers reporting to Council at key decision points or Council presenting completed plans (“done deal”) for residents to comment on does not constitute good or appropriate community engagement.

I therefore urge you to put forward/support an amendment to the Officers Recommendation that states:

That a decision on this proposal be deferred at this time so that Councillors have more time to consider the proposal and how best to actively provide for community input during the development planning process.

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As always, if you wish to comment or seek additional information on this posting, please feel free to access our Facebook Account