Monthly Archives: July 2017

SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – WHAT THE RESIDENTS WANT

25/7 Council Meeting results for McKinnon

  • 88-100 McKinnon Road. Unanimous motion passed to proceed with implementation of amendment as per Officers Report.   Current Planning Scheme controls (ie. GRZ Zoning and Schedule 2 requirements combined with existing Planning Scheme policies/strategies  and ResCode requirements) are adequate.  No DDO or NCO requirements to be applied – to costly and too risky to apply.
  • 240 – 250 McKinnon Road (southern side) – reduced to four stories. No mention of interim height control on southern side of Centre Road in the Bentleigh Activity Centre.

Much praise for the quality of the work undertaken on the two planning documents presented at the meeting  ie. “Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy” and  “Quality Design Principles and Draft Concept Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick”.  Unfortunately, it seems the planning concepts, methodologies and desired outcomes included in those documents don’t need to be considered when making current decisions.

More to details to follow later.

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At tonight’s Council Meeting, Councillors will vote on the amended Planning Scheme Amendment C143 for 88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon.

The amended Amendment, as recommended by Officers, being for General Residential Zone Schedule 2 (GRZ2 – height limit 11m/3 stories).  As per the Officers Report and information presented at the Planning Panel Hearing, the yet to be submitted plans are likely to comprise

  • At least 2 multi-unit buildings (a significant South East Water easement, which cannot be built on, crosses the site at 100 McKinnon Road)
  • 3 stories (possibly 4 stories, if  land slope and an existing Special Building Overlay allow)
  • 85 dwellings – estimated
  • Increased rear setback abutting the laneway and
  • Standard ResCode setbacks applying to the other 3 sides.

Residents, although suffering Objection Fatigue, have written to all Councillors to request that Council considers incorporating a Design and Development Overlay (DDO) and a Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) in the Amendment.  Last night they met with Mayor Mary Delahunty and Cr. Nina Taylor to further discuss the overlays and Council deferring  voting on the amendment until the overlays can be prepared and included.

The arguments presented by the residents were:

Within the context of the McKinnon, the redevelopment of this site will have a significant impact on shaping the future character of the Village due to the site’s

  • Size – 3671 sqm – which dwarfs any current or future development within McKinnon Village
  • Location on the western boundary Village interfacing the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ1).

The intent of the General Residential Zone is to allow “moderate growth and diversity of housing that is consistent with existing neighbourhood character.”

However, a brief review of our centres clearly shows that Glen Eira’s current “blanket” use of GRZ2 combined with planning policies and strategies  are not working.

  • Diversity of housing types in limited/minimal (eg. single residence vs. townhouses vs. multi unit high rise, family vs couple vs single accommodation) is not occurring nor
  • despite distinctly different area characteristics (eg. ranging from Victorian/Edwardian through Interwar to Post War), there is little  architectural distinction between developments in activity centres the municipality.   Developments in McKinnon would also “fit”  in Elsternwick or East Bentleigh

Planning Scheme overlays are the appropriate tool to set the built form design and characteristic requirements. Their inclusion in the Planning Scheme ensures that the requirements are incorporated in the detailed plans required for a planning permit application. It is inappropriate not to provide these requirements upfront.

  • DDO – The Design and Development Overlay [or DDO] relates to built form and is applied where Council intends to protect and enhance an environment within the municipal boundaries and to encourage development that complements the character of a place.
  • NCO -Additional neighbourhood character provisions necessary to ensure that either the existing neighbourhood character is respected or a preferred neighbourhood character is achieved. These can influence the nature and extent of development that can occur in order to achieve a desired neighbourhood character outcome for an area.

Council’s Draft Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy of May, 2017 states:

“That McKinnon will be an accessible centre with a strong village feel, which recognises and celebrates its heritage, art” – page 17

Given that a desired outcome has been defined and the significant impact site redevelopment will have on achieving that outcome, the inclusion of DDO and NCO is warranted.

Additionally, the analysis undertaken for the Strategy (and the more recent Bentleigh Major Activity Centre desired housing types) should reduce the workload associated with developing the overlays.

Residents are not opposing site re-development – they agree the site is unattractive and it’s facilities are outdated. Equally they are not seeking a development “shut down” – they are seeking a redevelopment that aligns with Council’s vision for the Village and McKinnon and benefits both current and future residents.

For inclusion in the Overlays, residents have asked Council to consider the following

  • Design and Development Overlay (DDO) that would
    • Consider a townhouse style development – refer the above strategy – “Family Town houses are noted as the highest focus development type in residential areas of neighbourhood centres” – page 9
    • Ensure that any underground car parking would not exceed the above ground building envelope. This is to ensure
      • Landscaping will provide for the growth of canopy trees
      • Mitigation of storm water flooding (the site is subject to a SBO)
  • Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO)
    • Promotes the Village feel and emphasises McKinnon’s heritage, local history and art

Residents felt Crs. Delahunty and Taylor, although non-committal, were receptive.

Not long now until Council makes it’s decision – hopefully it will be to defer a decision until options for the inclusion of a DDO and NCO have been reviewed.

As always, please feel free to comment on this posting on GERA’s facebook page.

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SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – PLANNING AND GOVERNANCE

GERA has been assisting the Save McKinnon Village folks with their campaign opposing the proposed rezoning of 88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon (Cnr. McKinnon and Wheatley Roads) from industrial to Mixed Use (with a 4 storey height limit).    GERA has also acknowledged that the recent election of 5 new Councillors had brought about welcome changes to Council’s approach to community consultation and re-assessing previous planning proposals.

However, information presented at the recent Planning Panel Hearing and subsequent communications with Council, both GERA and the McKinnon Village Residents are seriously questioning the extent to which Council has and is

  • Undertaking it’s role as the Local Planning Authority, and
  • Being open and transparent when communicating with residents, and
  • Being representative of the community’s expressed views.

While we highlight the above points in sections,  please note that strands all of the each of points are common to each section of this posting.

Local Planning Authority

Council is the Local Planning Authority, it is responsible for preparing and maintaining (via Amendments) Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme in consultation with the community and in accordance with State Government Planning Framework.  The Amendment process is a lengthy well documented process, that bascially involves  Council, in consultation with the community, preparing and strategically justifying (ie evaluating) changes to the Planning Scheme which are then submitted to the Planning Minister for approval.  Once approved, the Amendments are incorporated in the Planning Scheme which determines what can be built where.  VCAT is not involved in the Planning Scheme processes – it is involved with the Planning Permit approval process which assesses development proposals compliance with the Planning Scheme.

In the case of the Amendment C143, when advertised, residents approached Council (29/11/16) express concerns re Council’s evaluation of the proposal, quality of communications with residents and request that the amendment be withdrawn. Residents were advised that the decision to proceed with the Amendment was made by the previous Council and now had to run its course.

As a result, Council received 182 written objection submissions (vs. 4 supporting submissions)  and 30 Planning Conference presentations.  All argued that the proposed amendment was inappropriate in that it

  • lacked any analysis of potential zoning options
  • was inconsistent with the Planning Scheme rezoning and height transition clauses
  • lacked adequate strategic justification

8 of the 9 Councillors agreed and voted, against the Officer’s Recommendation, to abandon the Amendment (21/3).  In dissent, Cr. Tony Anthanopolous argued that, given the status of Council’s current planning scheme review and structure planning exercise, it was inappropriate to implement zoning changes at this stage.

The motion passed by Council was

That Council:

  • notes the submissions received;
  • abandons the proposed Mixed use Zone and Design and Development Overlay.
  • endorses a General Residential Zone (Schedule 2) and an Environmental Audit Overlay; and
  • refers submissions and the General Residential Zone (Schedule 2) and an Environmental Audit Overlay to an independent panel in accordance with Section 23 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Although surprised that the Amendment was to be referred to a Planning Panel (a time consuming step usually reserved for contentious issues), residents fully expected that the  Mixed Use Zone and Design and Development Overlay had indeed been abandoned and that following the Panel Hearing, Council would undertake consultation on potential zoning options, including GRZ2  – GRZ2 being an alternative that had not been discussed with residents.

Fast forward to the Panel Hearing  and the significance of the inclusion of the last two points in the motion (moved by Cr. Hyams and seconded by Cr. Magee) became apparent

  • the Mixed Use Zone and Design and Development Overlay were not abandoned, they remained on the table and were subject to Planning Panel review. If the Panel  considered Council’s Council’s decision was found to be “popularist”,  the Panel could recommend that the Amendment be adopted.

At the Hearing Council stated  “The Council resolution to exhibit the amendment was not an endorsement of the amendment but a  willingness to “test the waters”  by putting it out for public comment.   A statement which leaves residents questioning Council’s performance as a planning authority when

-having assessed the Developer’s requested proposal against the planning scheme, Council did not reject the proposal and propose an alternate re-zoning, and

– a resolution to amend the planning scheme (a lengthy and expensive process) is not seen as an endorsement but rather a “testing of the waters”.

  • Since GRZ2 is considered more restrictive than the initially proposed MUZ and DDO, as per the 1987 Planning and Environment Act, there is no legal requirement to undertake any community consultation on GRZ2 zoning.

Residents have not argued against redevelopment of the site.  Instead, they consistently argued that the MUZ rezoning and DDO were inappropriate and for community input in the rezoning decision.   Council has not yet discussed GRZ2 re-zoning with residents.  While residents presented to the Planning Panel, residents do not believe that constitutes, or should be a substitute for community consultation with Council.  To support this,

– Confusion with Communications – Notice of Hearing (dated 27/3) stated it to review the MUZ and DDO vs Council resolution letter (dated 4/4) quoting the above motion to abandon. Many residents have reported by did not attend the hearing as they believe the Hearing Notice’s reference was in error as Council had advised the Amendment had been abandoned

– Panel Hearing Rules of Conduct allowed for presentation only. Questioning of information presented was not permitted either directly or “through the Chair”

– The Panel Report makes no mention of the residents’ request to recommend Council include Design and Development (DDO) and Neighbourhood Character (NCO) overlays in the amendment.

And the big question now is will Council undertake community consultation on GRZ2 rezoning (including overlays)  – particularly as these waters have not been tested.   “Between the lines” reading of Council’s subsequent communications leaves residents to believe no further community consultation will occur.

Open and Transparent Communication

At their initial (29/11) meeting with Council residents requested 3 things – the first two being to abandon the amendment and allow community input into the rezoning decision.  The third being a request for Council to present comprehensive and understandable information to residents.  Understanding the complexities of the outdated, frequently ambiguous and conflicting clauses of the Planning Scheme is difficult – the inclusion of “planning speak” only adds to the difficulty.  Council agreed.

Items to note are

  • At the 21/3 Council Meeting all 9 Councillors were present and spoke to this item. However, no Councillor while voting for the above motion, spoke to or explained the implications of the motion’s last two points.
  • When residents were made aware of that the Mixed Use Zone and DDO6 had not been abandoned (as abandoned is generally understood) they individually contacted (email) all 9 Councillors. Only 3 responded – two expressing surprise and follow-up, third acknowledging that Councillors were aware of this prior to voting.   Were Councillors aware of these ramifications when they voted?  and Why weren’t they discussed – both are questions currently being raised by residents.
  • An earlier GERA posting made comment of road works planned (tenders were sought in January) for the intersection of McKinnon and Wheatley Roads.   However, at the Planning Panel Hearing Council, despite  was tenders being sought in Jan, 2017 was unable to present current traffic data.  Traffic analysis provided related to 2014 data for the Wheatley Road and Fitzroy Street intersection, incremented by 2% pa.  Residents are wondering how Council prioritizes it road works and how can expensive road works be justified without undertaking traffic analysis

Representative

Local Government (vs. State or Federal) is said to be the level of government that is the closest and most responsive and representative of those it represents.

Items to note are

  • Number of objections submitted and attendees at the Planning Conference clearly expressed their wishes – no MUZ & DDO and input into zone determination.
  • Consultation may not be legally required by Planning Act, however, the Act doesn’t prohibit it. Council also has a legal responsibility to represent the residents and good governance principles reinforces the representation.

As per the 2016 Community Satisfaction Survey and a recent Independent Survey, Glen Eira Council has a poor track record in

  • Community consultation and engagement
  • Town planning
  • Traffic Management

Unfortunately, particularly with regards to Amendment C143, both Councillors and the Administration are not meeting residents expectations.

Meanwhile the Save McKinnon Village folk, although suffering from objection fatigue, are striving for overlays to be applied to site to ensure that the outcome that in line with character of the McKinnon Village.

EAST VILLAGE – FLOODING FEARS

With the upcoming  community forum (27/7/2017) on Draft Concept Plan (prepared by Council, in conjunction with the Victorian Planning Authority) for the mammoth East Village development we thought it appropriate to draw attention to the below Leader Article.

Draft Concept Plan Community Forum

Thursday 27 July, 6.30pm-8.30pm

Duncan Mackinnon Reserve Pavilion, corner North and Murrumbeena Roads, Murrumbeena

Further details and documentation on the Draft Concept Plan are available on Council’s website.  An opportunity for residents to comment on the Plan is also provided.

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East Village development in Bentleigh East sparks flood fears for Elwood and other areas

Bianca Carmona, Caulfield Glen Eira Leader  – July 16, 2017 12:00am

THE proposed multi-million dollar East Village development in Bentleigh East must include a lake or wetlands to prevent flooding, environmentalists say.

The site, formerly Virginia Park, is on East Boundary Rd and was used as a business estate in the ’90s.

Developers are planning to build a precinct with a retail centre, housing, retirement accommodation and a school.

But Elwood Floods Action Group secretary Geoffrey Love said 80 per cent of rain falling on Glen Eira catchments was channelled into Port Phillip.

He said that without a lake or wetlands for the development, the water would run down the storm water system and increase flooding in Elwood.

Mr Love said Melbourne Water had identified three flood retention sites (reservoirs where water could be stored) including Duncan Mackinnon Reserve, Marlborough Street Reserve and Packer Park.

Make Property Group director, and a site landowner, Kris Daff, said mitigating flooding was “definitely on the radar” for the development.

He said sustainability was a “key consideration”.

“One of the core things we’ve committed to is to be environmentally sustainable at multiple levels,” Mr Daff said.

Recently four councils – Glen Eira, Port Phillip, Bayside and Kingston – signed a Memorandum of Understanding about managing the waters with a view to flood mitigation, to develop consistent policies, encourage water-sensitive urban design and use best practice.

Glen Eira planning and place director Ron Torres said it had partnered the Victorian Planning Authority to deliver the East Village Structure Plan.

“Council has partnered with VPA due to its experience with large urban renewal sites,” he said.

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said maximising ground permeability through soft rather than hard landscaping would benefit the entire community.

 

HELP SAVE LIND HOUSE

We’ve been contacted by a resident who is concerned that Glen Eira is again likely to lose forever a property of historic and architectural significance.   As per the below Domain article Council has applied to the Minister for Planning for an Interim Heritage Protection Order for the property – GERA applauds Council’s action and hopes that Council has also sought Heritage Victoria’s involvement.

The ‘Lind House’, at 450 Dandenong Road, Caulfield North is described as one of the best and most intact examples of Melbourne’s “mid-century design movement”.  Designed by Anatol Kagan, one of the best architects from the Melbourne mid-century movement, it is an architectural treasure.

Documentation and pictures supporting the significance of the “Lind House” and Designer Anatol Kagan are presented in article published on the Australian Modern website.

We encourage residents to show support for the preservation of the “Lind House” by emailing the Mayor (MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au) re Planning Permit GE/PP-30607/2017.

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Modernist Caulfield North house faces wrecking ball as council calls for urgent interim protection

An iconic modernist Caulfield North house is under threat of demolition, prompting the local council to seek an urgent interim protection from the planning minister.

Designers and modernist architecture enthusiasts have taken to social media to express their dismay at the fate of the Lind House, bought last year by a developer for just over $2.1 million.

The five-bedroom house at 450 Dandenong Road was designed by Russian-born architect Anatol Kagan, and is a classic example of mid-century modern architecture.

But locals and design experts fear the property could soon be demolished by its new owner, who applied for planning permit to build eight dwellings in its place.

There are no heritage controls on the property, and the two week public notice for objections ended on Tuesday.

Glen Eira mayor Mary Delahunty moved an urgent motion at a meeting on Tuesday night to write to the planning minister Richard Wynne for interim protection.

“Although a permit would have to be requested for it to be demolished, we really wouldn’t have any grounds to refuse that,” she said.

“I’m just trying to make sure that time is given for a proper assessment to be done of its historical significance so that we don’t get faced with this really unfortunate situation where it might be knocked down at any minute.”

​​Cr Delahunty said a major heritage review was underway and encouraged people to alert the council to other significant properties in the area they might not be aware of.

She said heritage experts would examine the Caulfield North house, and they would take into consideration the advice of other experts of modernist-era architecture.

As pressure mounts to increase density across the city, experts say more post-war homes should also be considered for heritage protection.

When Robin Boyd’s Blott house in Chirnside Park hit the market earlier this year, it also triggered fears the property, without heritage protection, might face the wrecking ball if it sold to a developer.

National Trust of Australia, Victoria, advocacy manager Felicity Watson believed Lind House and Blott House highlighted a major gap in the state’s heritage protection.

“When people think about heritage in Melbourne, they often think about Marvellous Melbourne and the gold rush, and the amazing Victorian architecture that we have,” she said. “But what people sometimes forget is that the post-war period in Melbourne was a period of enormous cultural and physical transformation, really of a scale not seen since the gold rush.”

Ms Watson said the heritage system had not caught up with the understanding of the importance of post-war architecture.

“It’s really time to … protect these vulnerable places and do some strategic work to look at that before we lose them,” she said.

“With development pressure increasing and density increasing, all of these places are becoming vulnerable, so we really need to identify which are the best examples that we need to protect.”

Tim Ross, comedian and presenter of TV show Streets of Your Town, said post-war buildings should be given the same respect the terrace houses and California bungalows received.

“Our suburbs should reflect all periods of our history because that’s what gives them their character,” he said.

“Kagan’s work is finally starting to get the recognition that it deserves. We don’t save buildings for today or tomorrow. We save them for 20, 30 years time and beyond.”

Craig Guthrie, a landscape architect and urban designer at Hassell, is also among the experts trying to raise awareness about the potential demolition.

“Melbourne’s growing a lot and we do need to increase density in the inner suburbs, where we have good infrastructure, schools and transport,” he said.

“But we need to protect some of the special places that we have. When 80 per cent of housing is probably mediocre to sometimes poor, we got to keep the good ones.”

A spokesman for Planning Minister Richard Wynne said he had not yet received a request from the Glen Eira Council, and would consider it on its merits if he did.