Monthly Archives: July 2012

RESPONSIVE ? – THE KOOYONG & ALMA ROAD INTERSECTION STORY

Following on from GERA’s recent (12/7/2012) Residents’ Traffic and Parking Forum and the numerous criticisms attendees made of this Council’s lack of responsiveness when it comes to residents raising issues of safety and parking in local streets, one of our members has drawn our attention to the Kooyong & Alma Roads Intersection reconfiguration for a bicycle safety trial.

GERA is raising this issue because

  • The trial has involved significant negative feedback from residents to both the Traffic Department and Councillors yet this feedback has met with little response from Council (Administration and Councillors)
  • Since the trial is to provide data to determine if the intersection reconfiguration should be rolled out to other intersections in the Municipality, many other intersections could experience a similar impact.

Background 

The Kooyong and Alma Road intersection is a residential intersection.  In November, 2011, Council advised residents of the intersection that the intersection lanes would be would be reconfigured to trial a design aimed at improving safety for bicyclists – the trial would last 6 months.  There was no consultation with residents on the reconfiguration – the reconfiguration work was completed on 22nd December, 2011.

The Trial

   Reconfigured Kooyong and Alma Roads Intersection              

From day one of the trial, the residents have been critical of the trial and have made numerous representations to the Traffic Department directly and to the Camden Ward Councillors (primarily Cr. Lipshutz) .  The residents concerns were that the reconfiguration

  • actually endangered cyclists and pedestrians (rather than improving safety) by enabling vehicles to increase speed through the intersection
  • created a “tight left hand” for vehicles which endangered all intersection users (cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles)
  • removed 13 on street car parking spaces in an area where on street parking is in high demand.
  • residents were not given the opportunity to participate in or comment on the redesign of the intersection prior to implementation

As a result of these concerns, at the 28th February, 2012 Council Meeting (Council Meeting Minutes, 20/2/12 – section 11.1 b), Councillors moved the following Request for a Report –

“That a report be prepared as to the progress of the trial at the intersection of Kooyong Road and Alma Road, such report to be provided at the April 10 Meeting or when data is available whichever shall be the earlier.” 

In the discussion, that arose from this Request, Councillors argued against suspending the trial to allow for consultation with residents and inclusion of residents proposed solutions in the trial intersection design.  Councillors voted to continue the trial.  Residents, while awaiting the Report, continued to voice concerns to both the Administration and Councillors.

Four months into the trial, the requested Report was presented at the 10th April, 2012, Council Meeting (Council Minutes, 10/4/2012 – Section 9.2) where again the decision was made to continue the trial regardless of residents’ negative feedback.

The Report, prepared by Jeff Akehurst, makes the following comments

  • Under Council’s “Road Safety Strategy 2007/08 – 2011/12”   the intersection of Kooyong Road / Alma Road has been identified as the equal worst intersection in terms of casualty crashes (under the care and management of Council).

GERA Note:  The RSS referred to above was written in 2006 and is based on 2005 data.  Refer to the below footnote*

  • The 6 month trial is due to conclude on 22 June 2012.
  • One of the comments received (via email) was from a cyclist who uses the intersection daily. The cyclist congratulated Council and advised that he is “very impressed” with the treatment and it “works very well.”
  • The remaining feedback did not support the treatment and the concerns can be summarised as follows:
    • Removal of parking – residents, visitors, delivery vehicles, carers, gardeners need to park further away;
    • Safety at the intersection may be impacted (left turns are perceived to be tighter);
    • Traffic flow along Kooyong Road and Alma Road has been adversely affected.
  • In the last 5 years of available data (1 January 2006 – 31 December 2010) six (6) casualty crashes have been reported at the intersection. … None of the crashes involved cyclists.
  • Residents were encouraged to provide feedback during the trial. 

In the discussion that led up to the decision to continue the trial, no mention was made of

  • the steps that would be taken to evaluate the data collected
  • how the community would be informed of the resultant recommendation
  • what opportunity the community would have for input into Council’s decision to implement/not to implement the intersection configuration throughout the Municipality.

The result of the tabling of the report and the ensuing Council discussion was not well received by the residents.  The minutes of the next Council Meeting, 22nd May, 2012 (Council Minutes, 22/5/2012 – Section 5) “RECEPTION AND READING OF PETITIONS AND JOINT LETTERS” records the following

“A Joint Letter signed by 243 persons and reading: “We oppose the removal of 13 car spaces in close proximity of the Kooyong Road/Alma Road intersection as well as the alteration to the intersection” was received. 

The motion put and carried unanimously was that the Joint Letter (although the document submitted to Council is titled a “Petition”) be “received and noted.”  Which can be taken to mean it is noted in the minutes, the standard letter will be sent, then Council will file the petition/joint letter.    The level of frustration experienced by the 243 (which in local government terms is a significant number) signatories is palpable.

The Kooyong and Alma Road Intersection Reconfiguration Petition outlines the reasons for the residents criticism of the reconfigured intersection (refer above) and adds that communication since the trial commenced has been weak”.

In the discussion that followed the presentation of the petition, in response to a Councillor question re when the trial commenced, the Administration (Director City Development – Jeff Akehurst) responded that he did not know.  Given that the petition was presented, in accordance with the rules ie 2 working days prior to the meeting, it is disconcerting to note that no Councillor or Senior Officer gave any consideration to the matter (i.e. looked at the file, asked a question, or remembered the previous meeting’s discussion) prior to this meeting.

The trial is now over (22/06/2012) and the residents are awaiting the results of the trial.  Details of data evaluation, recommendations and community consultation remain unknown.

As previously mentioned, GERA is raising this issue because

  • GERA is concerned that the Council (Administration and Councillors) have not been responsive to residents.  At no stage during this process, did Council provide an opportunity for Councillors, Residents and Traffic Management to openly discuss the issues raised and reach consensus.  Once again there is a significant gap between Council’s claims and actions.  The Council claim that “We work to develop a tolerant and caring community, where everyone can feel they belong and participate in the decision-making that leads to achieving the best possible options … We consult, listen, and take note of community views to determine its priorities and needs and then act through open, transparent processes …” (refer council’s website ) is not readily apparent in the above instance.
  • Since the trial is to provide data to determine if the intersection reconfiguration should be rolled out to other intersections in the Municipality, many other intersections could experience a similar impact.
  • Questions related to the evaluation (what criteria are used to evaluate the trial outcome), when the community will be advised of the results of the evaluation and when the community will be given the opportunity to participate in the decision are yet to be answered.

______________________

* The Road Safety Strategy is another instance where Council claims and action are not aligned.  The Glen Eira Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 + was written in late 2006 and is based on 2005 data.  Prior to 2007, the Road Safety Strategy (RSS) was reviewed and updated annually with a rolling 4 year horizon, however, this document has not been updated since 2007.  If

  • as Council claims in the 2012 Community/Council Plan – Theme 2 – Traffic, parking and transport) “The RSS is a ‘living’ strategy and prioritizes change with updated data” why hasn’t this document been updated regularly.  With less than 6 months to go before the document becomes obsolete, when is the new RSS to be presented for community consultation.
  • Council places, as it repeatedly states, a “ high priority on ensuring that the community is provided with a safe and efficient road network …” (Council’s website), why haven’t the safety issues in an intersection which was identified 7 years ago as the “the equal worst intersection” been previously addressed.

+ Council is currently updating it’s website and the new link to the Road Safety Strategy (RSS) document has yet to be added to the website.  This document was previously downloaded from Council’s website to GERA’s files and is therefore linked to this posting.  GERA will link to the RSS on Council’s website when it becomes available.

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UPDATE – RESIDENTS TRAFFIC AND PARKING FORUM

GERA thanks the 50+ residents for attending last Wednesday’s (11/7/2012) GERA Traffic and Parking Forum – your attendance and discussion contributions made for a very successful and informative evening.

The three speakers (Dr. Bruce Corben, Cr. Narelle Sharpe, Cr. Serge Thomann) spoke about traffic management, road safety and parking innovations from research perspective and  the various approaches Councils use to address these issues.  Unfortunately, no Glen Eira Councillor attended the forum.

Dr. Bruce Corben focused on the issue of safety and the need for road design and traffic calming treatments to reduce speed.  Dr. Corben outlined a “shift in thinking” in the design of roads and traffic management treatments which recognizes that drivers of vehicles cannot be 100% perfect/functional  100% of the time.  Therefore, the concepts of Vision Zero (no deaths) and reducing speed (to protect the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists) are now becoming inherent in traffic engineering/management.   Good road design and good traffic calming treatments – which aim at reducing speed and the reliance on vehicles – not only have the well-known tangible benefits of improved safety (less accidents and reduced severity of accidents), a more active population, energy conservation and reduced emissions but also have the lesser known intangible benefits of fostering a sense of community and social contact in a less stressful environment.

Dr. Corben also commented that arguments against installing traffic calming treatments based on the cost of such treatments are increasingly being considered unjustifiable – the dollars and a few seconds added to a motorist’s trip are simply not worth compromising the safety of all.

Cr. Narelle Sharpe,  Moonee Valley Council, outlined the approach that MVCC has taken to the traffic and parking issues within their municipality.  Similar to Glen Eira, Moonee Valley has diverse areas with different traffic and parking issues (the race course, older areas with narrow streets, newer areas with wider streets, shopping and entertainment precincts etc.).  MVCC has recently completed an extensive evaluation, which included substantial community consultation, of the municipality and significantly revised their Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) scheme – 22 LATM’s have been recognized and scheduled for review. The MVCC is investing $40K-$45K for each LATM scheme.   Each review will ensure parking and traffic conditions meet the local needs, provide improved accessibility for other parking users and address the wider metropolitan requirements such as enabling through traffic.

Cr. Sharpe reported that the LATM approach allows Council to change from being reactive to being pro-active when addressing traffic and parking issues and enabled a holistic approach to be taken.  As Cr. Sharpe stated a change in one street, flows on to other streets – “ it is no good fixing an issue in one street by shifting it to the next street”.  

With regards parking, along with the revised LATMs, the MVCC also implemented a Kerbside Road Space User Hierarchy and a Parking Demand Management Framework

  • Kerbside Road Space User Hierarchy – is a system that prioritises the needs of the various users depending on the type of area considered (for example residents have priority to park in residential streets, in activity centres customers/patrons have priority).
  • Parking Demand Management Framework – establishes a clear 85% rule for managing parking within the Moonee Valley municipality and 4 tiers of restricted parking (the higher the tier, the greater the restriction) are applied.  If 85% of available parking space is continuously occupied then parking restrictions are introduced to encourage a regular turnover of vehicles.  The tier of the parking restriction (eg 1P, 2P) is dependent on the needs of area or the activity centre generating the demand for parking.  Community (residents, retailers, commercial operators) consultation is always undertaken prior to restricted parking being implemented.

GERA Note:  The main objectives of a Local Area Traffic Management Schemes are to address road safety issues, traffic speed and volume issues, parking problems and improve the residential environment.  The LATM approach to managing traffic and parking is not a new concept and has long been widely accepted and practised by Municipalities.  The LATM process involves

  • analysing existing traffic/parking conditions in a local area, within the broader municipal area
  • considering the impact of traffic/parking on a local area basis and the flow on impact that installing a traffic calming treatment, or restricted parking, in one street will have on other streets in the local area.
  • extensive community consultation (to identify issues, develop solutions and achieve community support) leading to the development of a traffic management plan for the local areas. 

Glen Eira has LATM’s and has used this holistic management approach in the past, however, recent decisions (lower speed limits in Glen Huntly Road and Centre Road, speedhumps in McKinnon Road) and Council’s failure to proactively recognise the “rat runs” this has caused in nearby residential streets indicates it no longer follows this approach. 

Cr. Serge Thomann, Port Phillip Council, began by stating that Port Phillip had significant problems with traffic (volumes and speed) and parking – Port Phillip, because of it’s location and attractions, was both a through area for metropolitan traffic and a destination.  In their approach to their traffic and parking issues Port Phillip Council has determined that it’s primary role is to facilitate livability for residents and therefore has adopted the following

  • Traffic
    • A Road User Hierarchy – which focusses on the needs of the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians’ needs are our foremost priority, followed by bicycles, public transport users and finally trucks and single occupant vehicles.
    • Port Phillip actively discourages through traffic use of residential streets (rat runs) and encourages use of main roads by installing a wide variety of traffic calming measures in local streets (including blocking off residential streets).  In determining if, and what type of, traffic calming treatment is to be installed, the flow on impact to other local streets is also considered and addressed.   Where possible Port Phillip incorporates, and maintains, street planting in traffic calming treatments.
    • Port Philllip provides an extensive, well patronized, free community bus service within the municipality to discourage residents reliance on private vehicle transport.  The community bus service has a regular schedules and routes
  • Parking
    • Port Phillip sees itself as being responsible to provide parking for its residents, retailers, workers and the patrons of its areas – it does not see itself as responsible to provide parking for commuters, therefore, most of Port Phillip has restricted parking.
    • Since 2002, Port Phillip has excluded any development which intensifies the number of residences on a lot from its residential parking permit scheme.

Open Discussion – after the presentations a general discussion occurred in which the residents made the following comments on Glen Eira’s traffic and parking management issues.

  • Council is unresponsive to residents’ concerns – the expense of installing traffic calming treatments in local streets is the standard reason for refusal.  Issues of safety do not seem to be given any weight or adequate investigation.
  • Council’s focus is on main roads rather than residential streets
  • Council is re-active rather than pro-active (after, rather than before, an accident occurs)
  • Council does not adopt a holistic approach – the decisions it has taken on traffic management in Glen Huntly Road, Centre Road and McKinnon Road have resulted in ‘rat runs’ (usually at high speed) in nearby streets.  That “professionals” didn’t recognize this flow on impact, or take it into consideration, is source of frustration to residents.  No community consultation occurred prior to or after the installation – residents feedback since installation is not heeded.
  • Residents’ concerns re speeding vehicles are not addressed by Council – Council refers the residents to the Police, who in turn refer the residents to Council.  The Police are responsible for enforcing the speed limit (when it comes to residential streets, police speed limit checking is intermittent), however, when it comes to local streets and a continual problem it becomes a safety issue and the responsibility of Council.  Residents are put in the unenviable “ïn between” position
  • Council’s enforcement of the residential parking permit system or parking restrictions in various activity centres (eg Carnegie and Murrumbeena) is minimal.  It relies on motorists doing the right thing or residents raising an issue with a particular vehicle.  Patrolling these areas need not be daily but even a once weekly patrol would make a significant difference in the no. of vehicles overstaying their welcome.
  • Glen Eira has community buses, however, they do not provide any bus service within the municipality.  The community buses are provided and maintained by Council for use by non-profit organisations or groups in the municipality.

At the end of the open discussion, Cr. Thomann commented that this was an election year and although Councillors may not have been listening for the past 3.5 years they should be listening now.  Residents needed to stand up and make sure that Councillors and the Administration listened.

GERA thanks Dr. Bruce Corben, Cr. Narelle Sharpe and Cr. Serge Thomann for their presentation and active participation.  GERA will actively lobby Councillors to listen and focus on the items raised during the forum.  GERA welcomes resident involvement in these endeavours.

Residents’ Traffic and Parking Forum

‘Rat Runs’ and No Parking

A feature of life soon!

What’s the alternative?

 

      Date:            Wednesday, 11th July, 2012

      Time:           7.00 p.m. for 7.30 p.m. start

      Venue:         St. Mary’s Anglican Church, 281 Glen Eira Road,  Elsternwick

       Speakers:        Dr. Bruce Corben  (Monash University)

 Cr. Narelle Sharpe  (Moonee Valley Council)

  Cr. Serge Thomann  (Port Phillip Council).

      Admission Fee

            Members:                        No charge

            Non-Members:               Small Gold Coin Donation  

Are you concerned about –

  • The increasing incidence of ‘rat runs’ in quiet residential streets?
  • The lack of on street parking in residential streets?
  • The lack of pedestrian and cyclist safety?
  • Council’s lack of response to these issues?

If so, then come along to our community forum and hear about the latest research, what can be done, and how other councils approach these problems.

Glen Eira Council is responsible for traffic management within and around the municipality, Council’s general aim of traffic management “is to ‘calm’ traffic in local streets and direct through traffic to the more major roads”.  However, the reality is that Council

  • Focuses on main roads
  • Adopts a re-active stance rather than a pro-active (Road Safety Strategy – requires 3 casualty crashes before safety issues are considered)
  • Does not practice community responsive strategic traffic management.  When was the last time you were consulted about traffic and parking in your Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) scheme?
  • Doesn’t consider flow-on impact of traffic in local streets when changing conditions in main roads (eg. McKinnon Road speed cushions, decreased speed limits on Glen Huntly Road and Centre Road,  Kooyong and Alma Roads intersection trial bicycle design received a petition signed by 243 residents soon after the start of the trial)
  • Only budgets for 4-5 traffic calming treatments (speed cushions) per annum in local streets
  • Describes residents’ concerns with increased traffic volumes and speeds as “perceived concerns”

What are other Councils doing, what can be done?

  • When addressing traffic issues the focus is shifting away from vehicular movement to focussing on the safety of the  most vulnerable road users (pedestrians/cyclists)  The Road User Hierarchy ranks various road users.
  • Goal is zero casualty crashes – if road users persist in unsafe habits (eg speeding), then the road design needs to include traffic calming treatments.
  • Address specific neighbourhood needs ie. systematic approach to particular traffic and parking challenges.  “Numerous criteria are considered – ranging from resident and community concerns, traffic volumes, traffic speed and accidents, to more proactive criteria such as the number of activity centres and number of facilities that generate a lot of pedestrian and car traffic like railway stations, schools and community centres” – Moonee Valley Council

PLANNING SCHEME AMENDMENTS – MORE HIGH DENSITY

Planning Scheme Amendment C80 – 1232-1258 Glen Huntly Road

Planning Scheme Amendment C78 – 791-793 Warrigal Road, Bentleigh East

Planning Scheme Amendment C98 – 1B – 1C Tovan Akas Avenue, Bentleigh

Over the past few months Council has approved three planning scheme amendments to be submitted for Ministerial Approval to prepare and exhibit.  All three instances relate to re-zoning of land and will result in dramatically intensified developments.    While residents will have an opportunity to lodge submissions/objections to the developments when exhibition occurs (presumably with the next few months), GERA is highlighting these amendments now to ensure that local residents are aware of the significance of these proposals and have ample opportunity to prepare any individual or joint submissions/objections they may wish to make.  In each case there is scant mention of the impact on residential amenity (ie traffic, parking, open space, over shadowing or overlooking) its just full steam ahead

The following is a summary of the Amendments ex the relevant Council Meeting Minutes.  Details of the Planning Scheme Amendment Process+ are included in the footnotes.

Planning Scheme Amendment C80 – 1232-1258 Glen Huntly Road (Council Meeting Minutes, 1st May, 2012 – section 9.2)

 1232 -1258 Glen Huntly Road

  •  Recommendation – That Council seeks authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit the combined Planning Scheme Amendment (C80) and Planning Permit Application (GE/PP-24474/2012).
  • The Amendment proposes to:

 Rezone the land at 1232-1258 Glen Huntly Road from an Industrial 3 Zone (IN3Z) to a Business 2 Zone (B2Z);

 Rezone the land at 122 Grange Road from a Residential 1 Zone (R1Z) to a Business 2 Zone (B2Z); and

 Apply an Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO)* over all of the land.

 Note:  A Business 2 Zone (B2Z) promotes a range of office, commercial and residential uses.  Rezoning applies to the site bordered in red in the above picture.

  • The development application, at 1242-1248 Glen Huntly Road (marked in yellow in the above picture), proposes to:

 Construct a building up to 5 storeys containing 62 dwellings and 2 offices (within a Special Building Overlay**); and

 Reduce the standard car parking requirements for dwellings and office.

 The subject land is located within Council’s Housing Diversity Area, known as Glen Huntly Neighbourhood Centre.

The car parking rates deemed as adequately catering for office staff, residents and residential visitors for the development are

  • not less than one (1) car space per one or two bedroom dwelling;
  • not less than two (2) car spaces per three (3) or more bedroom dwelling;
  • not less than fourteen (14) car spaces for the office use (allocated at a rate of 3 spaces per 100m2 in floor area); and
  • not less than six (6) residential visitor car spaces.

As the land is subject to flooding a Special Building Overlay (SBO), the proposed development will also require the approval of Melbourne Water.

Planning Scheme Amendment C78 – 791-793 Warrigal Road, Bentleigh East  (Council Meeting Minutes, 12th June, 2012 – section 9.3)

791-793 Warrigal Road

  • Recommendation – Rezone the subject land from Residential 1 Zone to a Business 1 Zone (B1Z).

The B1Z aims to “encourage the intensive development of business centres for retailing and other complimentary commercial, entertainment and community uses”.

Note:  GERA’s emphasis on “intensive”

  • Proposal – That Council seeks authorisation from the Minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit Amendment C78.

This rezoning will extend the existing local activity centre at the intersection of North and Warrigal Roads.  This site forms part of the larger activity centre that is located in Glen Eira and Monash municipalities.

The proximity of this site to such a wide and busy road intersection is not conducive to development normally allowed in a Residential 1 Zone (ie. of a single dwelling or dual occupancy), as this type of development would be severely affected by noise, vibration and fumes. Whilst there is no specific proposal at this stage, rezoning of this land could potentially allow for a mixed use development including shop or office at ground level with residential apartments above (subject to approval from Council).  Any such proposal would need to go through the normal process to gain a permit.

This rezoning involves only one property. The proposed small increase in potential retail/commercial floor area will have negligible effect on the adjacent local centre and any surrounding centres.  No mention is made of impact on adjacent residential areas.

Planning Scheme Amendment C98 – 1B – 1C Tovan Akas Avenue, Bentleigh (Council Meeting Minutes 12th June, 2012 – section 9.4)

1B-1C Tovan Akas Avenue

  • Recommendation – That Council:

 seeks authorisation to prepare and exhibit Planning Scheme Amendment C98;

 seeks a pre-set hearing date for the consideration of submissions at a Panel hearing. 

Note:  The proponent/applicant has requested the pre-set panel hearing date as they are entitled to do.  Generally speaking this is a time saving mechanism when a development is likely to be contentious – the hearing date is set prior to the close of the objection period rather than waiting until all objections have been received and reviewed.

  • Proposal – The amendment proposes to change the Glen Eira Planning Scheme by:

 Rezoning the land from Industrial 3 to Residential 1 Zone.

 Applying a Design and Development Overlay*** on the land, and inserting a new Schedule to the Overlay (DDO2).

 Amend the planning scheme such that all the normal ResCode provisions do not apply; and

 Apply an Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO)* to the land.

 Currently the 5438 square metre site is used for industrial purposes, as a plumbing supplies outlet. The rezoning will enable the land to be developed for a multi-residential development which is prohibited under the current Industrial 3 Zone.

Given the size of the site and that the Planning Scheme provides “in extraordinary circumstances, specific controls designed to achieve a particular land use or development outcome” that the site may be developed

  • With a higher development yield than would normally apply in minimal change areas.
  • Incorporating a range of multi unit developments.
  • With a DDO (which sets the broad parameters, eg building height and siting) for a higher density residential development so it that fits in with the area (ie prevailing streetscape, scale, etc.)

The precise details of the development are not known at this stage. However, broad controls are being put in place which will need to be met.   Interestingly, as with the Clover Development in Bentleigh East, the broad controls which are being put in place have yet to be discussed with or submitted to residents.  And residents rights may be curtailed.

Further similarities with the Clover Development are potential site contamination and the combined Planning Scheme Amendment and Planning Permit and the application of an unconsulted DDO.

As mentioned in our introduction, residents will have an opportunity to lodge submissions/objections to the developments when exhibition occurs (presumably with the next 4-6 months), however, GERA is highlighting these amendments now to ensure that local residents are aware of the significance of these proposals and have ample opportunity to prepare any individual or joint submissions/objections they may wish to make.  GERA will supply what ever assistance it can to individuals or groups objecting to these proposals which will adversely affect residential amenity.

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Footnotes

Council is currently updating it’s website – at the time of making this posting the links provided to Council website worked.  However, as Council continues to update it’s website the links may not function in future.  GERA will try to keep the links functional.

Planning Scheme Amendment Process

The Minister for Planning must firstly authorise preparation of the amendment before exhibition can occur. Following this, notice (exhibition) of the amendment will commence, inviting public submissions/objections.

  •  If there are no submissions/objections Council can ‘adopt’ or ‘abandon’ the amendment and forward it to the Minister for certification or approval.
  • If there are submission/s opposed to the amendment, the Council has three options:

 abandon the amendment;

 change the amendment in accordance with the submitter’s request; or

 request the Minister to appoint an Independent Panel to hear the submissions.

 If a Panel is appointed, submissions/objections are heard and the panel reports its findings in the form of a recommendation to Council.

Council then considers the panel report and makes its own decision. Council is not bound by the panel’s findings.  If Council adopts the amendment, it is then referred to the Minister for Planning for approval or certification (and subsequent approval by Council upon receipt of certification from Department of Community Planning and Development).

* Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) – will be applied to industrial land subject to rezoning to a more sensitive use (eg. residential).  This is standard (automatic). The EAO ensures the land is cleaned to the standards considered acceptable by the Environment Protection Agency).

** Special Building Overlay – this overlay identifies land in urban areas liable to inundation by overland flows from the urban drainage system.  The overlay’s intention is to ensure that the development maintains the free passage and temporary storage of floodwaters, minimises flood damage, is compatible with the flood hazard and local drainage conditions and will not cause any significant rise in flood level or flow velocity.

*** Design and Development Overlay – The purpose of the DDO is to identify areas which are affected by specific requirements relating to the design and built form of new developments.  In the Glen Eira context, it may also protect the streetscape by prescribing consideration of front and/or side fencing.

MORE OVERDEVELOPMENT – CLOVER ESTATE, BENTLEIGH EAST

The below pdf file is a posting submitted to GERA by a resident who is concerned about the impending adverse traffic and parking impact the land locked Bentleigh East Clover Estate development (a 50 – 60 lot subdivision almost opposite the GESAC complex) will have on local residential streets.   Although the planning approval process commenced in 2006 (with a combined Planning Scheme Amendment (C52) and planning permit application) the development has only recently commenced infrastructure (roads, power, water, sewerage, drainage etc.) work.  The delay was primarily due to soil and water table contamination.

As the Clover Estate residential development is situated on land that was previously an industrial site, an Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO)* was placed on the development in 2006.   The EAO prohibited the “construction or carrying out of buildings and works” for the residential development until the Environmental Protection Authority issued of Certificate of Environmental Audit for the site.  The Certificate was issued in March, 2011, and recently work on the site infrastructure (roads and utilities) commenced.

Clover Estate – A Residents Perspective

Following on from receipt of the resident’s submission, GERA has researched the Clover Development (East Bentleigh) and in this post outlines Glen Eira Councils approval of the development.  GERA is concerned that through the various planning stages of this development Council  

  • has not been open, transparent and accountable with the contamination issues and
  • has not been responsive to (current and future) residents’ concerns over site access and traffic issues in Ellen, Charles and Malane Streets, and
  • via the application of a Design and Development Overlay restricted residents rights to object to the development. 

Clover Estate Location

The site is located within the block bounded by McKinnon, Tucker, Centre and East Boundary Roads, Bentleigh East.   The development is located in a minimal change area and abuts the housing diversity (i.e. high density) area known as the Bentleigh East Neighbourhood Centre.   Currently, the address of the site is 219-221 East Boundary Road, East Bentleigh.

Although the site had some frontage on Ellen Street, when operating as the Boral/Cyclone foundry and factory,  access was from East Boundary Road only.

Boral/Cyclone Site – 2006

Development Proposal 

In 2005 Harofam P/L (a development company) acquired the site and in 2006 submitted a combined planning permit and request for a Planning Scheme Amendment C52 to rezone the land (from industrial to residential) request to Council.

Details of the proposed development were given as 50 housing blocks, 22 two-storey townhouses and 8 units, totalling 80 new residences.  Access to the development would be via the existing the East Boundary Road access point and a new roadway connection at Ellen Street (effectively an extension of Malane Street).  It was recognised that this new connection would alter the Ellen Street–Malane Street-Charles Street traffic patterns from being local access only to also becoming the through route to the development.  It was also recognised that a traffic control device of some type (later determined to be a “Give Way” sign) would be required at the Ellen–Malane Streets intersection.

Three overlays were placed on the development

  • Environmental Audit Overlay (EAO) – to deal with contamination issues
  • Design Development Overlay (DDO) – to outline specific built form guidelines and if complied residences within the Clover Estate would not require an individual planning permit.  Planning permits would only be required for dwellings not complying with the DDO.  The DDO requirements were not discussed with residents prior to them being applied and, by applying the DDO, Council restricted residents’ ability to object on development design criteria.
  • Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) – to establish tree protection zones for trees identified in an aboricultural report dated July, 2005. This overlay was later removed as the trees it sought to protect had also been removed.

Residents strongly objected to proposal (173 objections) and over the period 2006-2007 the development was discussed at Council Meetings (22nd May, 2006, Council Minutes – section 8.3  and  25th September, 2006 Council Minutes – section 8.1) and an Independent Planning Panel Report – Amendment C52.   During this period the planning permit application was separated from the planning scheme amendment.

In December 2007, the developer submitted an amended planning application to Glen Eira Council.  This amended planning application was for 50 housing blocks and 10 two-storey townhouses.   Local residents lodged 126 objections to these revised plans.

In February, 2008, Council approved the subdivision of the land (Council Meeting Minutes, 26 February, 2008) and the lots were sold off the plan at an auction in 2010 (Leader Article on sale of subdivided lots).  Settlement on the sale of the lots was conditional on the completion of Clover’s infrastructure (roads, power, water and drainage).  The delay in commencing the infrastructure works (due to soil and water table contamination) means this work is currently ongoing.

Clover Estate – April, 2012

The local residents/objectors have consistently raised traffic and parking congestion in surrounding streets and traffic management in the immediate area as being key issues.

Although infrastructure work is ongoing (an estimated timeframe is not known) it is believed that dwelling construction is imminent.  As a result Council, without consulting residents, is beginning to introduce restricted parking in Ellen, Charles and Malane Streets and installing a “Give Way” sign where the Clover Estate connects to Ellen Street (aka the Malane Street extension).  These were the traffic treatments recommended in 2006/7.  Since that time there have been substantial developments both in the streets named and the surrounding residential streets which have significantly added to the traffic volumes.   Additionally the proposed Centre Road reduced speed limits and approved 5 storey multi unit developments in Centre Road will also adversely impact traffic volumes in the named streets. Residents have now added the issue of an unco-ordinated approach to traffic management and parking to their concerns.

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* An Environmental Audit Overlays (EAO) purpose is to ensure that potentially contaminated land is suitable for a use which could be significantly adversely affected by contamination.   An EAO requires that  before a sensitive use (residential use, child care centre, pre-school centre or primary school) commences or before the construction or carrying out of buildings and works in association with a sensitive use, must get either:

  • a certificate of environmental audit (clean bill of health)
  • a statement of environmental audit (subject to conditions)

When reviewing planning permits or approving subdivisions, the planning authority (i.e. Council) must satisfy itself that the environmental conditions of the land are or will be suitable for the proposed use.  EAO – Department of Health