PART 2 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT

This posting is a continuation of our previous posting “Part 1 – C60/Caulfield Village Development Plans – Why you can & should object”

Planning Scheme Amendment C111- Ministerial Amendment Request

With regards setbacks, residents/readers should be aware that above Planning Scheme Amendment C111 was presented to Council for review at the 15th October, 2013 meeting. The Minister was seeking Councils view on a proposed Ministerial Amendment requested by the developer. As described in the officer’s report (Council Minutes 15/10/2013) the amendment sought “to make some changes to provide increased clarification to the documentation associated with the Caulfield Village Development”.

Included in the list of changes proposed were the following that should be particularly noted

Point 2 – “An ability to allow minor building works such as verandahs, balconies, eaves, downpipes, street furniture and art works to intrude into stipulated setback requirements”. While perhaps of limited relevance to the current Stage 1 Residential Development Plan consultation will presumably be significant (access to natural light) in the later Stage 2 (Mixed Use Precinct) and Stage 3 (Smith Street Precinct) consultations.
Point 3 – Clarification that Council can approve a Development Plan with building heights exceeding heights stipulated in the Incorporated Plan. Although argued that requirement for the town planning permit and an appeal/objection process, it does raise questions related to

o the elements of “certainty” said to be included in the Incorporated Plan.
o the “generally in accordance” approve or reject criteria discussed above
o the DPCD practice note discussion above – “The responsible authority should not grant a permit for use or development that is not generally in accordance’ with the plan unless the schedule provides a clear basis to do so”.

Although the report states that the first of the development plans was “expected to be submitted to Council shortly” and that  Council was “not in a position to abandon the amendment” it could “provide a view”,  it is surprising that the possibility of including the amendment details in the Development Plan consultation or of proposing modifications to the proposed amended were not discussed as options in the Officer’s Report or raised by Councillors in the ensuing discussion.

The recommendation included in the officer’s report was passed unanimously. Amendment C111 was enacted on 14/1/2014 (Development Plan consultation commenced 5/2/2014) and has been included in Caulfield Village Mixed Use Area Incorporated Plan dated December, 2013.

Aside from residents expressing concerns re “constantly changing the goal posts” and an apparent approach of changing the Planning Scheme and Incorporated Plans for the development rather than changing the development to comply with the Planning Scheme and Incorporated Plans, there are two other changes than have not been publicly highlighted. These changes are

• The December, 2013 Incorporated Plan is now referenced in the Planning Scheme and hence will be the Incorporated Plan applicable to all current and future “generally in accordance” discussions. The change is identified as being related to Amendment C111 on 14/1/2014.

• Both the November and December, 2013 Incorporated Plans shows no height restrictions on the “Triangle” building site currently used for Tabaret and Monash University car parking. The height restrictions are defined as “Height and form to be assessed on design merit” (previous height limits were 2008 = 15 storeys, 2011 = 20 storeys).  Without a defined height limit there is no way to determine if the height limit has been exceeded – it removes the “trigger” that identifies when a planning permit is required and thereby the reinstatement of third party objection rights.

Since no details have been provided on the removal of these height restrictions (this particular building was a highly contentious issue at all C60/Caulfield Village consultations due to its proximity to the heritage listed Caulfield Station), GERA is unable to confirm when the height restrictions were removed and whether their removal was a ministerial decision (with or without review by Council).

Traffic

As previously mentioned in our earlier “Overview” posting (insert link) residents have consistently raised issues with the inadequate traffic analysis. All previous and current Development Plan traffic analyses focussed on traffic within the development itself and on the sections of the main roads that were “in the vicinity of the site”. No analysis was undertaken on the impact on surrounding residential streets or Neerim Road or Queens Avenue or the Normanby Road underpass and potential flow on impacts from the Monash University development were not considered.

The main roads “in the vicinity” are heavily congested in peak periods and all carry significant volumes during off peak periods. The Integrated Transport Plan (insert link) records current vehicle per day (vpd) volumes as being

• Balaclava Road – 8,000
• Station Street – 13,000
• Normanby Road – 10,500
• Kambrook Road – 7,500
• Smith Street – 7,000

The estimated post construction traffic generation from Caulfield Village is 18,900 vpd. Information on the dispersement the Caulfield Village generated traffic is scant as are traffic volumes for the Boulevard (which will be greatly impacted by the reconfiguration works in Smith and Station Street).

Local residents’ empirical evidence indicates that the current volume of traffic is primarily due to through traffic skirting railway level crossings via the Normanby Road, Smith Street and Queens Avenue underpasses. The current absence of retail or commercial services/employment opportunities in the defined area adds considerable weight to the residents evidence. Since traffic is highly fluid, residents believe that increased congestion arising from the development (construction and post construction periods) will flow on to other areas of the municipality.

With regards traffic, there are some other points residents should be aware of

• Included in the Community Engagement Document (a.k.a. extract of 17/12/2013 Council Meeting Minutes) is a motion that states Council has undertaken the following traffic studies

  • “That the recent traffic study conducted on Queens Avenue, Caulfield East including the area around the Neerim Road intersection and the Sir John Monash Drive intersection”,
  • “That the recent traffic study conducted on Eskdale Road Caulfield East showing the impact, if any on the local street of the changed traffic conditions on nearby Kambrook Road;
  • That any studies of pedestrian movement along Queens Avenue be examined for potential improvements to safety and accessibility”

Details of these studies, although relevant to the Development Plan Consultation and in part addressing the inadequacies of previous traffic analyses, have not been made available as part of the Development Plan Consultation.

• The Integrated Transport Plan references a Section 173 Agreement* between Council and the MRC.  A copy of this agreement is included in the 28/4/2011 Special Council Meeting Minutes which also record Council’s approval of Caulfield Village Development (

Clause 7.1.1 is as follows

“the plans and specifications required for the Required Infrastructure Projects are intended to facilitate works to a standard required only by the development of the Subject Land within the parameters of the Incorporated Plan and not to a standard required to compensate for any inadequacy in the infrastructure that currently services existing developments or as a result of development on any other land”

The intent of this clause is slightly ameliorated by Section 7.1.4. (c) which is as follows

“with the approval and commencement of development it may be necessary for further agreements to be entered into to address the provision of infrastructure, works in lieu and contributions for works performed and they will negotiate the terms of such further agreements in good faith”

A number of residents have interpreted these clauses as “the MRC’s design of access networks within the development is only required to only consider those roads in the existing road network that the traffic analyses identify as providing access to and from the development.  The responsibility for determining and funding any infrastructure works required on those identified roads is the responsibility of the MRC.  The MRC is not required to consider any other roads or the impacts on the amenity of the local community (zoned Neighbourhood Residential or Minimal Change). Infrastructure works required to offset the impact of development on these other roads will be determined and undertaken by Council with the responsibility for the funding of these works being decided later.”

Since the roads identified in the above recently undertaken Council traffic studies (ie. Queens Avenue, Eskdale Road, Neerim Road) are those that residents have consistently argued should have been included in all traffic studies undertaken for the development, residents are now left questioning why they were not included and to what extent the costs of the currently unknown infrastructure works will be funded by the Glen Eira ratepayers.  GERA agrees with the residents questioning.

 This posting will resume as

PART 3 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT – Traffic

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* Section 173 Agreement

Broadly, a Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement (under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) between the Local Authority (Council) and the owners of the land (the MRC in this instance). S173 agreements are generally used to reinforce planning controls and impose restrictions and conditions on titles.

Declaration
Please note GERA advises that a number of our members reside in the vicinity of the C60 / Caulfield Village Development – the number of these members is less than 1% of our members and less than 0.5% of the 500 local residents that Council has identified, and contacted, as those most likely to be impacted by the development. These percentage falls further when the development’s flow on impacts to the broader community are considered.

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