Category Archives: New Planning Zones

AGM & PLANNING FORUM

PLANNING ZONES

THE RESIDENTS’ VIEW

 An opportunity to hear & discuss issues with Ian Wood, President, Save Our Suburbs

Date:                  Wednesday,  19th November, 2014

Time:                7.00 p.m. AGM,  7.30 p.m. Planning Presentation

Venue:             Bentleigh Club, Yawla Street, Bentleigh

       Admission:   Gold Coin Donation

                    ALL WELCOME

 

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WHAT IS INAPPROPRIATE/OVERDEVELOPMENT

Planning that focuses on directing new construction to specific areas without appropriate consideration being given to the development and maintenance of a community by the management of cumulative social and environmental impacts for current and future residents, eg.

Transport Infrastructure     – Traffic congestion   – Car Parking

– Neighbourhood Character – Flooding/Drainage  – Public Safety

– School capacity                 – Tree Protection                – Open Space (Parks)

– Health Care                        – Heritage                              – Sustainability

HOW CAN WE STOP IT IN GLEN EIRA?

 BECOME INFORMED

  • ATTEND the Planning Forum

The introduction of the new Planning Zones and other recent planning “reforms”, in both Glen Eira and across Melbourne, is starting to have a significant impact. As President of SOS and a Planning Consultant, Ian Wood, has been following the latest planning changes and how some Councils, including Glen Eira, have been implementing the new guidelines.

 This is an opportunity to obtain information on the zones and how they impact current and future residents.

  •  VISIT residents websites

Glen Eira Residents Association 

McKinnon & Ormond – Oppose Inappropriate Development on Facebook

L.A.R.G.E.                                 

Save Our Suburbs

Glen Eira Debates

          

 MAKE YOUR VIEWS KNOWN to Councillors, the Media and candidates in the upcoming State Election by Signing the Online Petition

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WHAT IS YOUR ZONE?    Look up the zoning for your property and surrounding properties on the State Government Website.

NRZ1              Neighbourhood Residential Zone – 2 storey height limit

GRZ1, 2, 3    General Residential Zone – 3 storey height limit

RGZ1              Residential Growth Zone – 4 storey height limit

C1Z & C2Z    Commerical Zones (includes residential accommodation) – no height limit

MUZ               Mixed Use Zone (includes residential accommodation) – no height limit

PETITION – REQUEST FOR ZONE IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW

In conjunction with GERA, the various residents groups emerging across the municipality are joining together and organising a petition to Council as follows

“Request GE Council to review its current planning scheme (incl a public consultation process as part of that review) & seek amendments to the planning scheme as a result of that review.”

To sign the petition

  • Electronically, Glen Eira Petition – Change.org  or
  • Manually, email geresidents@hotmail.com and a copy will be forwarded to you.   Return completed petitions to:  GERA, P.O. Box 212, Elsternwick 3185

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This petition arises from Council’s August, 2013 Planning Zone Implementation, which  the then Mayor (Jamie Hyams) described as being ”the biggest single planning change in Glen Eira’s history” 

  • yet was undertaken without any community consultation (“extensive” consultation having occurred 3 years prior, i.e. 2010), and
  • was retrospectively approved by all current Glen Eira Councillors on 13/8/2013 (with gazettal, ie. legal enactment, expected on 15/8/2013). Glen Eira’s official Zone Implementation media release is dated 5/8/2013.

Under the Planning and Environment Act, 1987, all Councils are required to review their Planning Scheme every 4 years.   While it may be argued Glen Eira’s zone implementation constituted a review, that review did not involve the community.

Four years on from the last Planning Scheme review that involved community consultation and 12 months on from the zone implementation, there is broad and growing dissatisfaction with Glen Eira’s zone implementation.   GERA believes that the petition’s request for a planning scheme review, which includes community consultation is

GERA, therefore, both supports the petition and urges residents to also support the petition.

 

NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTIAL ZONES – CERTAINTY?

Readers may or may not be aware of the spike in multi-unit, 3 & 4 storey planning applications in the areas designated as growth zones* (ie. former Housing Diversity Areas).   GERA’s previous postings (“Enough is Enough” Part 1 and Part 2) highlighted residents’ concerns re developments in Mavho and Loranne Streets in Bentleigh.   GERA is now receiving requests for objection preparation assistance from growth zone residents in all suburbs within the municipality. In all cases the development is seeking the maximum building envelope allowable (i.e. height, site coverage) with little regard for neighbourhood character.   Growth zone residents are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticisms of Council’s zone implementation (lack of consultation and information) and Councillors’ responses to their concerns related to specific planning permit applications.

Compared to the outcry occurring in the growth zones, the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (ie. NRZ1 – the former Minimal Change Areas or Residential 1 zone) has remained relatively quiet. However, that may change as NRZ residents begin to question the “certainty” and “protection” included in the Media Releases issued by the State Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and Glen Eira Council

  • Minister for Planning – 5/8/2013

“The Neighborhood Residential Zone will apply to nearly 80% of residential zoned land in the City of Glen Eira. These areas will be protected from apartment and unit style development with a maximum of only two homes permitted per lot with a two storey (eight metre) height limit.”

  • Glen Eira Council – 5/8/2013

“In the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, in addition to the new maximum 2 storey height limit, neighbourhood character will be further protected by a limit of not more than two dwellings per lot, site coverage limited to 50%, porous area to be at least 25%, private open space to be at least 60 square metres and a rear set back of at least 4 metres. This will allow more room for canopy trees and less run off into storm water.”

 Both media releases omitted to mention the impact of subdivision although that impact was known to both parties prior to zone implementation. As per the following notes of meetings between the DPCD and Council

  • April, 2013 (Glen Eira Council Director of Planning Akehurst named, other GEC attendees names redacted) – “subdivision may be a work around in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to allow more than 2 dwellings on a lot”
  • July 2013 – (Glen Eira Council Attendees – CEO Newton, Director of Planning Akehurst and then Mayor Jamie Hyams) – “Council believe that subdivision prior to unit development is the way around the maximum 2 dwelling within the NRZ”.

Use of subdivision is a legitimate and accepted means of dividing a one lot into 2 or more smaller lots for purposes of sale or development. While residents of middle ring suburbs may be accustomed to subdivision occurring post construction (ie. creation of strata tiles for multi-unit, multi-storey developments), it may also occur prior to construction (eg. for financing or other purposes) to increase a lots dwelling yield.

To achieve the levels of “certainty” and “protection” outlined in the Media Releases, Glen Eira’s zone implementation should have not only included height limits and the maximum no. of dwellings per lot in the mandatory zone definition but also minimum lot size.   Many other Councils have specified a minimum lot size or a minimum lot size range (eg. 250 – 400 sqm).   However, rather than specifying a minimum lot size Glen Eira has retained the previously existing criteria – if a lot size is larger than average (average determined as being the average lot size of the immediate surrounding properties). While this may have been effective in past, is expected to become much less effective in the future as more and more “immediate surrounding properties” are subdivided.   The Financial Review recently (5/9/2014) published an article entitled “Property Strategy: Subdivide and Conquer” on this issue.

In addition, to the known subdivision issue, Council’s implementation of the zones overlooked the implications for large lots (a.k.a “super lots”, lots equal to or greater than 2000 sqm).   To overcome this oversight, in December, 2013, Councillors unanimously approved preparation of Planning Scheme Amendment C115  for large lots within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. This amendment would have introduced a minimum lot size of 400 sqm for the 104 properties** within the NRZ that are greater than 2000 sqm. (Some of these lots are 8000 sqm). As stated in the report recommending preparation of the C115 Amendment, the amendment was proposed in response to pressures from developers and the realization that rather than subdivide, the developers preferred to seek spot Ministerial intervention to re-zone the super lots to General Residential Zone (3 storey, multi-unit developments). Such an intervention having been achieved by the developer of the Alma Club (7,100 sqm) which Council acknowledges as not noticed prior to the zone implementation.

To avoid spot interventions (ie. retain a level of “certainty” and “protection”) and thus ensure large lot developments in keeping with the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, GERA supported preparation of Amendment C115.   GERA believed the introduction of minimum lots sizes

  • was a reasonable solution to Council failing to recognise the 2 dwelling per lot issue for large lots prior to zone implementation. GERA doubts any resident would agree that “super lots” should be constrained to the 2 dwelling ruling.
  • may set a minimum lot size precedent for the NRZ which would be applied to all subdivisions in that zone. Within the NRZ there are many, many existing lots in the 800 – 1999 sqm range that are may be subdivided to increase their dwelling yield.

Since Amendment C115 has not been submitted for community consultation, a public question on it’s progress was asked at the 12/08/2013 Council Meeting

  • Question

In December last year, Council resolved to seek Ministerial approval to exhibit Amendment C115. Why has there been no reference to this in Council’s Quarterly Reports and what is the current position of this Amendment?”

  • Response

Amendment C115 concerns large lots (greater than 2,000m2) located within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. The aim of the amendment is to increase the number of dwellings beyond 2 which would be the maximum number for a large lot zoned Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ). Council cannot exhibit the amendment until authorisation is obtained from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (Minister).

 Authorisation has to date not been forthcoming on the basis that each large lot should have a stipulation as to how many dwellings will be allowed. This approach is not supported by Council officers as it would prejudge a dwelling yield in the absence of a specific development plan.”

 The above response, indicates that

  • The authorisation to prepare Amendment C115 for ministerial approval to submit for consultation was undertaken without advice from the Minister. Council officers and the Minister disagree on the solution and the Amendment has stalled. No advice was given on the pro’s and con’s of either solution.
  • Council’s preferred approach is for the developer to prepare a subdivision plan for each of the “super lots” as and when development is imminent.
  • Subdivision prior to development remains a “way around the maximum 2 dwelling within the NRZ” regardless of the size of the lot.

At the last Council Meeting (02/09/2014)  a subdivision plan, combined with building envelopes, was approved for the “super lot” located at 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena (3,142 sqm).

Readers may remember that GERA lobbied Council,  in December, 2012, to acquire this a cleared lot, adjacent to the existing the Riley Reserve, which would have substantially increased (60%) Riley Reserve and increased Glen Eira’s very limited parkland.

487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeenaa

Unfortunately, although a unique opportunity, Council did not acquire the property either in 2012 when it was sold to a developer ($2.7m) or in 2013, when it was on-sold for development (amount unknown). A previously VCAT issued planning permit for the site (“three (3) storey apartment building containing 28 dwellings above basement parking”) had lapsed prior to the 2012 sale and a “new” planning permit application had not been submitted prior the 2013 sale.

As previously mentioned, at it’s last meeting (02/09/2014) Council approved a planning permit application (No. GE/PP-26552/2014) for 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena. The permit comprised

  • A 7 lot subdivision of the site and
  • Planning approval of “building envelopes” (i.e. high level plans) for 7 two storey residences (one per subdivided lot).

The Officer’s Report reports the application “yields a density of approximately 1 dwelling per 448 square metres of site area”. However, residents should not confuse density yield with lot sizes. The density yield of 448 sqm is the result of a dividing the total lot size (given in the Report as 3138 sqm) with the number of dwellings. The actual lot sizes are much smaller than the density yield.

The lot sizes are

  • Lot 1 is 304 square metres
  • Lots 2-7 (inclusive) range in size from 199 square metres to 238 square metres

 487 Neerim Road Subdivision Plan Boundaries0001

The lots design (their location around the site perimeters abutting residential properties and the railway line) and their sizes being in line with the “constraints presented by the site”.  The constraints being the provision of pedestrian and vehicular access to the lots (to and from Neerim Road) and “significant trees located on the site”. Both the access to/from Neerim Road and the significant trees will be considered as located on “common property”

The Officers Report states that “The application is not a development application for multi-dwellings. The subdivision includes building envelopes for seven (7) future double storey dwellings”.   However, GERA is struggling to see why a subdivision plan for 7 lots and 7 building envelopes (which define building heights, foot prints and setbacks) should not be considered as a development application for multi-unit dwellings.  Residents future rights to lodge objections as more detailed plans become available may be curtailed (as with the Caulfield Village Development) because building heights, footprints and setbacks have already been approved.

As previously mentioned GERA believes NRZ residents will soon be questioning

  • the levels of “certainty” and “protection” the zoning provides, particularly with regards the known subdivision issue,
  • a potential minimum lot size precedent being set by the 497 Neerim Road permit approval.   With a 200 sqm lot size, it is possible to design a 2 storey single residence that satisfies the NRZ1 requirements for private open space, set backs, permeable surfaces etc.   In terms of a “super lot”, vehicle and pedestrian access  provisions will primarily determine how many 200 sqm lots with 2 storey residences can be accommodated on the site.  In terms of a medium lot of, say, 1000 sqm, subdivision (even allowing for provision of vehicle and pedestrian access) may will yield 4 individual strata title 2 storey dwellings where one previously existed.+
  • their rights to object to developments when building heights, footprints and setbacks have previously been approved.   Regardless of what it is called (eg “Incorporated Plan” or a “Building Envelope”), if followed by a more detailed plans (eg. ”Development Plan”) as the objectors to the Caulfield Village/C60 Development Plans were informed

“It is important to note that submission comments regarding the building heights, building footprints and/or setbacks cannot be taken into consideration by Council. This is because these were determined during the Amendment C60 process and cannot be altered as part of the Development Plan Assessment”++

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Footnotes

* Growth Zones and Heights – refer are earlier post for brief details on permissible uses and detailed zone maps

RGZ                Residential Growth Zone – Height Limit 13.5m (4 stories)

GRZ                General Residential Zone – Height Limit 10.5m (3 stories)

 

** “Super lots” – The Officers Report did not include any details (eg. ownership, location, size) of the 104 “super lots”, nor did the Report indicate if Council was considering lodging a Parkland Acquisition Overlay on any or each of the properties.

Errata – 24/9/2014

+ and ++ = clarification added to initial posting as requested by residents

BENTLEIGH ACTIVITY CENTRE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (PART 2)

Bentleigh Urban Village

Following on from our last posting, the residents objecting to the multi unit developments in Mavho and Loranne Streets, Bentleigh have forwarded to us the below advice of dates for the Mavho Street Planning Permit application, ie.
• Planning Conference – 8th September, 2014
• Formal Council Decision Date – 14th October, 2014

We encourage residents residing in and around the 2013 implemented high density zones (ie. the former Housing Diversity Areas) to attend both the planning conference and Council Meeting to gain an understanding of the grounds for objection applicable to these zones and Council’s planning permit and objection handling processes.

The 2013 “new” zone implementation built on the concept of focussing development in locations designated as high density areas under the previous Housing Diversity/Minimal Change Areas policies (implemented in 2002). Unfortunately, while the new zones streamlined the planning permit approval process by prescribing height limits within the zones, the much heralded “certainty” provided by prescribed height limits also removed building heights from being a ground for objection if the development’s height (which excludes roof infrastructure, eg. lift wells, air conditioning units) complied with the prescribed height limit.   Residents can still object to a planning permit application on the a number of grounds (eg site coverage, prescribed setbacks, neighbourhood character, provision of private open space, and many other grounds), however, height is no longer a valid ground for objection.

The number of emails GERA is receiving from residents of the high density zones, supports our previous criticism of Council’s implementation of the new zones – “the biggest planning change in Glen Eira’s history” – which was undertaken without actively informing and/or engaging residents.  A major justification for this being residents’ extensive knowledge of the previously existing Housing Diversity/Minimal Change Areas – a justification which many residents dispute.

We encourage residents to check which zoning applies to their property. Zone boundaries do not follow standard mapping conventions (eg. one side of a street may be high density but the other side may not, or, within the same street, No. 42 may be high density but No. 44 may not) and distances away from the centre of the high density area vary.   GERA’s 11/2013 new zone posting “Where and What Are They” provides a brief outline of the “new” zones and access to zoning maps (“zoom down” for details on a lot by lot basis) which can be accessed from the Department of Planning or GERA’s website*. Residents should also confirm their property’s zoning with Council.

*As per our previous disclaimer,
The DPCD website may be slow in downloading the maps.  Maps GERA downloaded 16/9/2013 are available and should be not be taken as current. GERA is not responsible for any map modifications since 16/9/2013.

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Except for GERA highlighting the comment that “it is unlikely the application can be completely rejected due to the Residential Growth Zoning” below is an unedited email received from the Defend Mavho Group. The group may be contacted via email – defendmavho@yahoo.com

URGENT objection update – Important dates 8 September 2014 and 14 October 2014‏

I have just received emailed advice from Council the Planning Conference for 24 – 26 Mavho Street will take place on 8 September 2014 at 6.30pm at the Glen Eira Council offices, corner Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield. Meetings are open to the public. The planning conference is chaired by a Councillor and provides the opportunity for applicants, objectors and residents to make submissions in respect to planning applications that have been referred to a Council meeting for a decision. The conference provides a public and open forum where discussion of the proposal can occur between the parties with a view to identifying affected resident concerns, possible means for addressing the concerns and opportunities to improve the proposal. All objectors will be notified in writing of the date, time and place.

Following the planning conference, the application will be referred to a Council meeting for a decision on 14 October 2014 at 7.30pm at Glen Eira Council offices, corner Glen Eira and Hawthorn Roads, Caulfield. Although the Council meeting is open to the public I do not believe there is an opportunity (subject to a ruling by the Mayor of the day) for the public to make submissions to the Councillors.

Please make a note of these dates in your diaries and attend and get your key objection points together to speak to at the Planning Conference. It is a very informal environment but controlled so everyone is heard.

In addition to the above, Councillor Oscar Lobo kindly attended Mavho Street on Sunday 24 August and walked the adjoining properties and our street. Councillor Lobo is a supporter of our objection grounds and he will assist us in advocating to the other Councillors to significantly reduce this inappropriate development. All Councillors are yet to receive their town planning and expert advice; however, it is unlikely the application can be completely rejected due to the Residential Growth Zoning.* So now is the time to get on the email and phone and lobby the Councillors especially our Tucker Ward members (Jamie Hyams, Oscar Lobo and Jim Magee) – we need a majority of 5/9 so get those phone lines burning – Councillor details below.

* GERA emphasis

Cr Jamie Hyams
Phone/fax: 9578 8314
Mobile: 0427 319 018
Email: jhyams@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Oscar Lobo
Phone/fax: 9557 0108
Mobile: 0417 837 418
Email: olobo@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Jim Magee
Phone/Fax: 9563 8360
Mobile: 0427 338 327
Email: jmagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Margaret Esakoff
Phone/Fax: 9578 2877
Mobile: 0407 831 893
Email: mesakoff@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Karina Okotel
Mobile: 0424 479 454
Email: kokotel@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Neil Pilling (Mayor)
Phone: 9524 3225
Fax: 9524 3358
Mobile: 0428 310 919
Email: npilling@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Michael Lipshutz (Deputy Mayor)
Phone/Fax: 9530 0438
Mobile: 0400 832 270
Email: mlipshutz@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Mary Delahunty
Phone: 9523 9105
Mobile: 0427 970 879
Email: mdelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au

Cr Thomas Sounness
Mobile: 0428 596 951
Email: tsounness@gleneira.vic.gov.au

BENTLEIGH ACTIVITY CENTRE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Recent media coverage has highlighted the impact that Glen Eira’s  2013 implementation of the “new” planning zones has had on residents, in particular residents of the former Housing Diversity Areas. Unfortunately, GERA’s earlier predictionthat the impact of the Zones implementation will be felt far quicker than the impact of 2002 Minimal Change/Housing Diversity change was” is occurring much more rapidly than even we envisioned.

One year on, residents of the former Housing Diversity Areas are experiencing an increase in high rise, multi-unit development planning applications (with waivered parking requirements) and significant traffic and parking issues. Some residents are opting to sell (either singly or collectively) and relocate while others are choosing to remain.

One group of remaining residents has forwarded to us, the below unedited posting outlining the changes occurring in two streets (Mavho and Loranne Streets) within the Bentleigh Urban Village.  It raises issues that need to be addressed at both a State Government (provision of sustainable public transport) and Council (provision of traffic and parking management) level.

The group may be contacted via email – defendmavho@yahoo.com

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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

The residents of Mavho Street and the adjoining Bentleigh area have had enough. A greedy development proposal for 24 – 26 Mavho Street could be the third dense unit dwelling development potentially adding 28 units to the street. To put our outrage in to context readers need to be aware that Council has already approved planning permits for no. 32 (10 dwellings 3 storey) and 39 and 41 Mavho St (27 dwellings 3 storey) with reductions in visitor parking. To add more insult there is also a proposal in at 29 – 33 Loranne Street (27 dwellings 4 storey).

We ask Glen Eira Council and the State Government pay due respect to our neighbourhood and the rates and tax payers and that developers be made to construct appropriate and responsible dwellings. We understand the concept of the Urban Village but the proposal for 24 – 26 Mavho will create a situation where living is becoming denser, not transition, as you come further south from Centre Road. The 24 – 26 Mavho Street plans are for a 4 storey apartment block (the approved permits, which are closer to Centre Road, are only for 3 storeys).

Despite the sheer bulk of these dwellings and their impact on the amenity of the area we have grave car parking and traffic concerns. Those who live in the area are already feeling the strain of having to navigate parked cars and traffic, whether you are in a vehicle, on a bike or a pedestrian. We are even starting to hear stories of how ambulances cannot park to gain access to patients! Despite residents ‘real life’ experiences the expert traffic reports submitted with the planning applications continue to take and report inappropriate car parking samples which Council accept. Meanwhile those of us that actually live in the area and use the roads and footpaths are feeling the traffic and parking pinch.

The proposed underground car parking to these new apartment dwellings only take the cars off the street for a limited time, we still have ingress, egress, give way issues especially as we get closer to Centre Road. This is then impacting onto Brewer Road and surrounding streets and arterials.

These apartments are also going to put a significant load on infrastructure and services. Our street sweeper cannot perform its job and the build up of rubbish could lead to rodent infestation issues which could affect not just residents but our cafe/food operators which we love and enjoy in Bentleigh.

Adjoining owners to these developments are going to lose privacy due to inadequate setbacks. No matter what sort of ‘window treatments’ you use to create privacy people need to be able to look out of their windows so this will affect the enjoyment of both old and new residents to our area. Worse still these developers often do not even live in Glen Eira. They come into our neighbourhood, dig it up, build inappropriate structures and do not have to live next door to what is left behind.

What has happened to the dual occupancy townhouses which are much more in keeping with our demographics?

Please help us defend Mavho Street – if you don’t these types of developments are going to end up next to your home.

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Bentleigh Urban Village

Bentleigh Urban Village

AGM AND PLANNING FORUM UPDATE

Our thanks to the 60 plus residents who, undaunted by the prospect of an AGM and the inclement weather, attended our recent (13/11) AGM and Planning Forum. Your attendance and, at times “lively”, participation made for a successful evening.

Our thanks also to our
independent moderator, Gerry McLoughlin (Architect and Urban Designer), who provided the metro Melbourne “big picture” for the zone implementation, and to
guest speaker, Ron Torres (Glen Eira’s Manager, Town Planning and Transport and one of the principals involved in the recent zone implementation) – Ron provided a good overview of Glen Eira’s residential zones* and readily responded to questions asked.

Unfortunately, although all Councillors praised the zone implementation and endorsed the implementation without community consultation, no Councillor attended the only Council presentation  to the community on the zones – Crs. Okotel and Lobo offered apologies.  As a member quipped during a “lively” moment, “this is why no Councillor is here”.

PRESENTATION

As previously mentioned, the presentation focused on the recently implemented residential zones and their height limits. The new zones and related schedules built on the previous Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Areas, by continuing to focus development in and around transport nodes and by enabling further definition of what can be built where.

Former Minimal Change Area

o Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) – Maximum 8 Metres (2 storeys)

Former Housing Diversity Areas

o General Residential Zone 1 (GRZ1) – Maximum 10.5 metres (3 storeys)
o General Residential Zone 2 (GRZ2) – Maximum 10.5 metres (3 storeys), increased rear setbacks
o Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) – Maximum 13.5 stories (4 storeys)
o Also mentioned, but not focussed on, were the

  • Commercial Zones (C1Z and C2Z) – no height limit, and the
  •  Mixed Use Zone (MUZ) – no height limit

In addition to the prescribed heights, Ron said that additional planning controls were provided via overlays (eg. Heritage, Neighbourhood Character etc.), Rescode (particularly side setback requirements) and Preferred Character statements/policies. For example, depending on the lot size, side set back requirements may provide an additional height control element by making the top floor too narrow to be feasible.

Ron also commented that the next 12 months will be a transition period with planning permits being evaluated or finalised under different rules. The Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Areas policies will be applicable to planning permit applications (both new and extended) submitted prior to 23rd August, 2013, while planning permit applications submitted post 23rd August, 2013, will be evaluated under the “new” Planning Zones.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

• Why was Glen Eira “first cab off the rank” in implementing the zones and why was there no community consultation?

Ron commented that the concept/s of the zones are not new to planning or planning officers and that the zones aligned with Glen Eira’s previous Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Areas. Therefore, Council requested the Minister to exempt the zone implementation from community consultation as the implemented zones were a direct conversion of the Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Areas and incorporated residents’ concerns.

• To what extent are the contents of the Zone Schedules mandatory on both VCAT and planning officers (who frequently “consider acceptable” discrepancies between a development proposal and the planning scheme)?

Ron commented that all contents of the zone and associated schedules are mandatory. As an example, the maximum of 2 dwellings per lot in the NRZ was not dependent on lot size – under the new zones the Alma Club (if on one title) would be restricted to two 2 storey dwellings. Ron also stated that Glen Eira Planning Officers are receiving complaints and criticism from developers for the 2 dwelling limitation.

• What consideration was given to traffic and parking issues in the residential zone implementation?

Ron commented that the residential zones are related to housing policies rather than traffic and parking management issues. However, by concentrating development in/around public transport routes and nodes (which have historically also become retail/commercial centres), use of public transport (rather than private vehicles) is encouraged. Council has separate policies re traffic and parking management, sustainable transport and active (pedestrian and cycling) transport.

• Why was the Alma Club, previously classified as Minimal Change, now zoned as a General Residential Zone (3 storeys with side setbacks) while the development proposal was subject to VCAT mediation.

Ron commented that this was a change made by the Minister and was not requested by Council.
The questioner then commented that the Minister’s interest in a “relatively” small parcel of land was particularly strange.

• Why doesn’t Glen Eira have structure plans? Structure plans provide a strategic justification for height controls, are generally accepted at VCAT and would have introduced height controls prior to the zone implementation.

Ron commented that structure plans are only applicable for targeted areas and were of limited use for larger overall areas (such as the NRZ). Structure planning requires extensive and expensive strategic work and are not binding on VCAT.

• Is basement car parking included in the height restrictions and if not is it a “way around” height restrictions?

Ron commented that height measurements are taken from ground level and therefore do not include below ground car parking. Currently, provision of underground car parking is a design decision made by the developer. However, with the implementation of zone height limits, provision of underground car parking may increase as a means of maximizing development potential.

• Why has Glen Eira set a lower (25%) permeability requirement in the NRZ zone than other Councils?

Ron commented that the permeability requirement was based on Glen Eira’s demographics (aging population, children) and their need for solid surfaces.

Once again we thank all attendees, Gerry and Ron for an informative evening and their support.

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* The handout materials accompanying the presentation were the

• Map of the New Residential Zones
• Map of the previous Minimal Change/Housing Diversity policy areas
• New Residential zones and Mandatory Maximum Heights – A guide for the Community

These may be downloaded from Council’s website

ADDITIONAL ZONE IMPLEMENTATION INFORMATION – Part 1

This posting is another in GERA’s series of postings on the recently implemented planning zones.  While our earlier post provided maps and summary information on all the zones (Where and What They Are) , this post will provide additional, lesser known, information on the content of those zones and their potential impacts.   As per our earlier posting, we advise residents of GERA’s  13/11/2013 AGM and Planning Presentation (Speaker to be Mr. Ron Torres, Glen Eira’s Manager Town Planning and Transport) – details.   This is an opportunity for residents to learn, and ask questions, about the newly implemented planning zones.

The Zones are part of sweeping reforms arising from rapid population growth and the resulting need to streamline the planning approval process.  The Zones build on the Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Area policy introduced in 2002.  With Melbourne’s population currently rising at an estimated 1,000 per week, GERA believes that the impact of the Zones implementation will be felt far quicker than the  impact of 2002 Minimal Change/Housing Diversity change was.  As with any sweeping change there will be winners and losers – only informed residents can determine which one they consider themselves to be.

As previously mentioned, within the zones themselves there are changes which we highlight to residents.  These changes, all of which will result in intensified development, are

  • Land Use – As the name implies land use refers to the proposed use of the land.  In each zone, possible land uses are assigned to one of three categories:
  1. Allowed – proposed use is “as a right” (no permit required)
  2. Permit Required – proposed use is subject to approval
  3. Prohibited

Included in the new zones are changes to the classification of land uses – some previously “Permit Required” land uses are now classified as “Allowed”.    For example,

– within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) Medical Centres, Places of Worship, Education establishments which previously required a planning permit are now allowed (depending upon location and scale).  These developments, which satisfy the location and scale requirements, will not require a planning permit and will not be subject to NRZ schedule requirements (eg. 2 storey height limits).

– within the Mixed Use Zones (MUZ) Taverns no longer require a planning permit and are classified as “Allowed” subject only to liquor licensing requirements.

  •  Lot size – in all zones the minimum lot size has been reduced.
  • Floor Space Requirements (applicable to Commercial, Mixed Use and Industrial Zones) have been either reduced to increase the number shops/offices and the maximum floor space cap has been expanded to provide for larger establishments (eg. supermarkets).

Residents should be aware of these changes, while they do no prevent lodging objections to development proposals, they diminish the grounds for lodging  those objections.

  • Third Party Objection and Appeal Rights (TPOAR) – The Schedule to the Mixed Use Zone “Section 4 – Exemption from Notice and Review” grants local authorities (ie. Councils) the power to exclude TPOAR  via the zone schedule.  Glen Eira currently has none specified.  The State Government’s inclusion of the section and it’s intent is disconcerting.

Having highlighted the above items, it is appropriate to now comment on the information included in Glen Eira Council’s “New Residential Zones and Mandatory Maximum Heights – A Guide for the Community

  • Height Limits and Structure Plans

In the above paper Council acknowledges that their policy based planning scheme has inherent limitations as “Policies are not binding on VCAT” and that the same limitations apply to planning schemes based on structure plans  – “structure plans have the same status as policies and VCAT is under no obligation to apply them”.   Yet the majority of Council’s (most notably Glen Eira’s bench mark Councils) who have undertaken structure planning have successfully introduced permanent height controls in their planning schemes and also been successful in applying for interim height controls pending the implementation of permanent controls.  Additionally these Council’s report fewer VCAT appeals against decisions based on structure planning and VCAT overturning few decisions based on structure planning.

So what are Structure Plans – Structure Plans are plans which recognize that in planning “all things” are interconnected (with wide spread flow on impacts occurring across a broad spectrum) – this inter-connectivity is recognized and planned for.  (For a lay outline of structure plans refer to GERA’s 12/1/12 structure plan posting).  Structure Plans are tiered plans (for example, Municipal structure plans flow down to activity centre structure plans which recognise the “goals” included in the higher Municipal Plan and interpret or development them it a way that supports the unique characteristics and demands of each activity centre.  Likewise, each activity centre may have a subset of structure plans for distinct areas within the centre (eg. areas with heritage considerations, areas of commercial or retail activity).  Structure Plans while expensive and time consuming to implement make intrinsic sense and avoid the pitfalls encountered by policies which tend to be of a “one size fits all” and stand alone (do not recognise connectivity) nature.

It is also interesting to note that in the recent Stonnington 499 Orrong Road (a development that is dwarfed by the Caulfield Village development, a.k.a. C60) decision, Planning Minister Guy emphasized the significance of structure planning.   Planning Minister Guy has stated that the development of structure plans is integral to the Fishermans Bend development (insert link).

GERA welcomes the application of height limits on the residential zones, however, that does not preclude questioning why structure planning is not undertaken in Glen Eira or why structure planning was not undertaken for each activity centre, urban village, local centre or neighbourhood centre when the concept was Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Areas were introduced in 2002.