The Officer’s Reports for the Rigby and Newman Avenue proposed developments  (19/12/2017 Agenda – Items 9.2 and 9.3) recommend approval at the next Tuesday’s Council Meeting subject to conditions.  The conditions listed are basically those agreed to by the developer at the belated Planning Conference or the stock standard conditions.

We can expect a lot more of these applications for the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (a reported 80% of Glen Eira’s residents areas) as

  • any lot size over 700 sqm now is considered larger than conventional lots for the NRZ (as per the Officer’s Report) which
  • combined with VC110’s
    • removal of the mandatory 2 lot subdivision cap and the zone’s purpose of ”To limit opportunities for increased residential development” and
    • introduction of the 35% garden rule and
  • the use of basement car parking to increase dwelling yields and investment returns.

All open up huge development potential within the NRZ.  The NRZ  will now provide the diverse housing options the General Residential Zone (GRZ – 3 storey height limit) promised but failed to deliver.

If these two lots  (1,100 and 976.3 sqm to comprise 5 townhouses each with new lot sizes approx. 200 sqm)

  • that are distant from the services and facilities offered by (and used to justify the creation and proposed expansion of) activity centres.
  • can result in can result in a density increase that exceeds that originally predicted for the GRZ

then rocket science is not required to foresee the future of the many NRZ lots that exceed 700 sqm (or the 650 sqm as per VC110’s schedule for determining garden space requirements).   Adverse impacts expected will be reduced amenity, livability and sustainability in the zone previously identified as the “more sensitive residential areas”.

To support this we refer to an  article commenting on Amendment VC110 impacts (published by Maddocks  – legal planning law specialists,  frequently consulted by GE Council).

 “The change creates the potential for greater densities in the NRZ, while noting that development will be subject to the minimum garden area requirements in conjunction with maximum building heights and existing local controls.  Presumably, if the aim is to increase the number of new dwellings within the NRZ areas, those developers who have pleaded for greater intensity of development in the other residential zones and in activity centres to ‘compensate’ for the constraints of the NRZ, will now temper those pleas.”

GERA has is unable to predict how quickly development will occur in NRZ.  We do, however, note that

  • the “compensation” has started
  • Glen Elira’s current rate of building approvals is 2,000 pa. and
  • Glen Eira’s 2016/17 Annual Report now expects a 50:50 split between development in Activity Centres (high density areas) and the NRZ (formerly minimal change areas).

With regards the above article’s reference to “existing local controls”,  GERA has a major concern re Neighbourhood Character.  While it has huge significance in the assessing of, and the objecting to, planning permits, unlike Heritage it’s planning provisions are not well known to residents.

Briefly, the GE Planning Scheme Neighbourhood Character Provisions are

  • Overlays – widely accepted as being the most effective planning tool for defining and preserving neighbourhood character for specific areas. Relevant overlays are
    • Clause 43.5 Neighbourhood Character Overlays (NCO) – Glen Eira has 6 overlays .
    • Clause 43.02 Design and Development Overlays (DDO ) – Although, other Council often use DDO’s in conjunction with NCO’s, Glen Eira rarely does.
  • Policies – widely accepted as carrying less weight than Overlays. These policies include character statements for areas not covered by an NCOs.
    • Clause 22.7 Housing Diversity Policy
    • Clause 22.8 Minimal Change Area Policy

GERA strongly encourages readers to research and assess the character statement applicable for their location.  VC110 also removes the purpose of “To implement neighbourhood character policy and adopted neighbourhood character guidelines” presumably because they are now to be included in the zone schedule.  Contact Council with any proposed changes and request they be included/excluded.   Applications for a Planning Permit are assessed against the Planning Scheme that exists at the time permit was lodged – subsequent changes to the scheme receive little consideration.

 Following the release of the Officers Report, residents objecting to these development applications have forwarded a response to all Councillors.   This response challenges many matters raised in the Officer’s Report.  Again, the objectors intention in publishing the report is to assist residents objecting to similar inappropriate developments in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone – Residents Response to Officers Report


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