ATTEND THE ELSTERNWICK CONCEPT PLAN FORUM – MONDAY, 21/08/2017

The following flyer has been prepared to urge residents to attend next Monday’s Elsternwick Concept Plan Community Forum.  As per the flyer, the Concept Plan contains some significant changes that residents should be aware of and concerned about.

Details of the Forum and Council Concept Plan documentation is available on Council’s website’

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New Carnegie Parkland – $3.6 million for 680 sqm ($5,294/sqm)

Although GERA has some reservations re the purchase of this site, GERA welcomes  Council’s purchase of this land.  The land is in a prime location and in a seriously open space deprived, densely populated major centre.  Given Council’s poor past performance in purchasing open space (since the early 2000’s), it is a step in the right direction.

Cnr. Neerim and Koornang Roads, Carnegie

The site has the potential to enhance Council’s recently presented Concept Plans for the Carnegie Centre.  However, we question the price paid ($5,294/sqm + unknown costs of conversion to parkland) and the extent to which Council is planning to address Glen Eira’s long term shortage of parkland.

Yep, real estate opportunities need to be acted upon as and when they occur – a point GERA has made in the past.  However, Council can also plan to acquire parkland in strategic locations by applying a Parkland Acquisition Overlay (PAO) – this has rarely happened in Glen Eira.   A PAO enables Council to “tag” properties (individual and/or adjoining) for future parkland.  PAO’s do not involve forecable acquisition – they come into play when the owner opts to sell and allow Council to pay a premium (over market value) to ensure acquisition.

What concerns GERA is that Concept Plans for each major activity centre (a.k.a. Urban Village) are in the process of being presented.  The area of all centres has been expanded and show significant increases in development densities, however, none identify areas where a PAO is or could be applied.

We remind readers, that in 2008, Glen Eira was identified as having the least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne (less than half the Metro average), since that time development has further  outstripped parkland acquisitions by Council  resulting in a further decrease in the per capita statistics.  Recent opportunities have enabled Council to purchase some individual future “pocket parks” yet such purchases do little to address the increasing demand for parkland.  It appears Council has overlooked the long term potential of PAO’s to purchase and expand parkland within Glen Eira.

UPDATE – EAST VILLAGE (VIRGINIA PARK) DRAFT STRUCTURE PLAN MEETING

The below update to the EAST VILLAGE DRAFT STRUCTURE PLAN has be forwarded to us by a concerned resident.

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A community consultation session was held to discuss the Concept Plan for East Village on 27th July, 2017.

The Forum was well attended by residents and chaired by Aiden Mullen (Manager, City Futures).

Significantly two of the major bodies (ie. the Education Department and Vic Roads) did not send reps, so many questions about a possible school and traffic and parking management went unanswered.

Once again residents were asked to respond to a plan with very little detail.  The one handout missing from the handout pack was the one that provided the most detail in respect of height and density.  Two of the major factors residents continue to voice their concerns about.

The major points to come out of the Forum were

  • The Education Department is investigating the need for additional educational facilities in the area. No “answer” as yet.  The developers would be prepared to sell the land to the Department/Government.  This would be in the vicinity of 1 hectare.  If not a school, then possibly a “community centre”.  We assume that this would involve Council either purchasing the land or accepting land in lieu of the open space levy.
  • The possibility of a commercial car parking venture on the site
  • The areas currently zone Commercial 1 (C1Z) would remain. The rest of the site would be rezoned to Mixed Use (MUZ).
  • The project life is up to 15 years.
  • No solution to traffic, apart from advocating for care share, more traffic lights and buses to run through the site.
  • The developers have been in constant contact with Council’s various departments.
  • Now 24 hectares (doubled in size) – how many apartments, residents and cars does this mean?

All in all it practically impossible to comment on what will eventuate given the lack of detail on just about everything.

One particular concern regarding the areas surrounding this site was a boundary never before seen or referred to by Council.

Is this the area targeted by Council for re-zoning?

Border:  McKinnon Road, Deakin Street, Mackie Street, North Road, Brett Street, Dalny Road, Hunter Street, East Boundary and Tucker Roads.

Action:

Having heard what is intended for Bentleigh at the Thursday, 10th August Concept Plan Forum, regarding height limits and rezoning, residents are urged to contact Aiden Mullent, Nick Staikos – MLA Bentleigh and all Councillors  contact Nick Staikos – MLA Bentleigh, all Councillors and to get assurance that these areas are not targeted for re-zoning by Council. (Contact Details)

If your house is in this area be alert and get informed.

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CARNEGIE CONCEPT PLAN FORUM UPDATE

Great turnout of residents (110+) at tonight’s (14/8/2017) Carnegie Concept Plan Forum – additional seating was required.   Unfortunately the same can’t be said of Councillor attendance – only two Councillors (Cr. Anthanasopoulous and Hyams) attended.   Equally unfortunately, residents’ questions which required a detailed response were deferred until next (and last) community input session.

Issues raised were

  • Lack of detail provided to justify expansion of centre boundaries and height variances within those boundaries. Lack of quantification on outcome of proposed changes and meeting State Government targets.
  • Development outstripping infrastructure and services resulting in decreased amenity in centre’s core and surrounding residential areas.
  • Traffic and Parking management and pedestrian connectivity needed improvement. Vehicular flows to be directed towards main roads and parking areas located away from residential streets and high traffic pedestrian areas.
  • Open space – need for increased provision of accessible open space. What is Council proposing and how will it be financed.
  • What can Council do to encourage
    • Increased and appropriate employment opportunities for residents
    • Encourage “specialty” retailing
    • Ensure proposed diversity of housing as per the Concept Plan
  • Need greener and lower density development away from centres core – residential areas reserved for residential developments.
  • Nightlife – what does this mean
  • Interface with Public Realm needs improving.
  • Urban Renewal interface with Chesnut Street heritage area, Skyrail and areas south of the rail line – need for additional information.
  • Protection of Neighbourhood Character and Heritage Areas – need to retain Carnegie’s uniqueness. Core retail area redevelopments to retain/incorporate  Koornang Road’s historic facades.

Much of the table talk and post forum informal discussions, while expressing favourable responses to the concept of “the right building in the right location”. also expressed major concerns re limited detail provided, an expected deluge of information for the final Forum (October) and overall Council planning performance.

 

CARNEGIE CONCEPT PLAN, 14/8/2017 – ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Following on from GERA’s urging residents to attend Monday’s Concept Forum we thought it appropriate to provide some additional information that

  • Is applicable to all activity centres in Glen Eira
  • highlights the need for residents to “stir from slumber” and become involved.

As per Council’s “Life Cycle” ( bottom right of page) review process  Carnegie is currently at Stage 5  of an 8 stage Structure Planning process.  Since stages 7 & 8 relate to Council and Ministerial review and approval, Monday’s Forum (Carnegie 14/8 & Elsternwick 21/8) and October’s Stage 6 (Draft Structure Plans) Forum are the last remaining opportunities for community input.   

With the release of the Concept Plans the “nitty gritty” is just beginning to appear.

  • The Activity Centres boundaries have expanded
  • Some areas have increased height limits, others decreased height limits – overall development opportunities have increased.

Yet, little or no justification has been provided and no assessment of the flow-on impacts has been included.  October’s Structure Planning Forum promises to be a “doozey” – a wealth of information with little time to digest.

“A structure plan is a long-term plan that guides important aspects of an activity centre including development, land use, transport and car parking approaches, community facilities, public realm and open spaces and strategic opportunities. Structure plans provide certainty for the way an area will accommodate growth and change as supported by Council and the community.”

Residents, who  live in or around a centre or who frequent a centre, owe it to themselves to become informed and express their views at the two remaining forums.

While GERA has a number of major concerns re the Concept Plans, we applaud Council (finally and at Ministerial direction) recognising that

  • the boundaries (established in 2003) for Glen Eira Activity Centres were/are inappropriate and did not include appropriate transitions, and
  • Within the centres, the 2013 zone implementation is not providing diversity of housing – the extra legwork was not undertaken. Adopting the concept of “right building in right locations” is a positive step towards addressing this issue.

As previously mentioned, our biggest concern is that the current review (coming 4 years after the zone implementation provided 80+ years of housing supply in residential zones, rising to 100+ years supply if commercial zones are included) has resulted in an expansion of boundaries into established residential areas  and height variations without

  • any justification being provided – there is no comparative analysis on current and projected densities/capacities expected and
  • no analysis of pace of development to achieve Government targets (current target 9000 new dwellings by 2031, yet current estimates indicate 2,000 p.a. is being achieved)
  • any information on the mechanisms (planning tools) to be used to ensure “right buildings in right locations”

Quite frankly, over half way through the process this is unacceptable and in order to ensure residents are able to make informed comments and decisions, they should be demanding that information

GERA’s CARNEGIE CONCERNS

  • GERA believes the review of the Carnegie should include Glen Huntly (flagged to become major activity centre) and Murrumbeena. South of Neerim Road and Dandenong Road, the  Carnegie and Murrumbeena centres have merged and with the expansion of the Carnegie boundaries it also merges with Glen Huntly.  As yet no details on changes to the boundaries of Murrumbeena or Glen Huntly are available (scheduled for a later Structure Plan exercise), however, residents believe they too will expand.  Within the context of a relatively small area, the provision for future development will be huge, as will the flow on impacts (eg. traffic, parking, open space).  GERA believes it is inappropriate for these centres not to be reviewed concurrently.  Factoring in the future level crossing removal in the 3 centres, adds emphasis to a need for a concurrent review.

Click to enlarge

EXISTING CONDITIONS PLAN – CARNEGIE

  • A similar presentation was seriously challenged as being incomplete at the Bentleigh Forum. The map did not reflect “existing conditions” since
    • all planning permits granted since 2013 were not included and
    • planning permits (for 3 or more stories whether constructed or given extensions) prior to 2013 were excluded

Similar issues are likely to exist for the above – eg the 5 storey building being constructed on the Cnr of Rosstown/Kookaribb, 4 stories on the Cnr Kookaribb/Neerim and the 5 stories Truganini Road (next to the Carnegie Primary School) are not included.

  • Questions of accuracy aside – the highlighted permits present a disturbing picture of the past 4 years and, since they will remain for decades, a serious challenge to future Centre development as presented in the Concept Plans.
  • The Centre’s boundaries have been extended to include substantial established residential areas. At the Bentleigh Forum,  Council advised that these boundaries, which align with the road network, were in line with a 10 minute walk to the train station.  Assuming the same applies to Carnegie, it’s likely to involve a much longer walk from south eastern jut (Phillips Avenue) or from the western Seymour bulge (Seymour Avenue).

BUILDING TRANSITION PLAN – CARNEGIE

When reviewing bear in mind, Existing Conditions Map, zones and highlighted building locations.

As previously mentioned, some areas have increased heights others reduced heights. Some selected significant examples  are as follows.

  • Urban Renewal Development area – between Railway Line and Dandenong Road. Subject to a “preferred”  interim height control (DDO9-1) of 7 stories – proposed maximum height limit 8 stories, if includes community benefit 12 stories.  Issues related to
    • what constitutes “community benefit” and “appropriate transition to be managed within site”.
    • Potential dominance of the Chesnut Heritage Area which unfortunately retains a 4 storey height limit along Dandenong Road.
  • Commercial and Mixed Zones, Koornang Road from Railway line to Neerim Road. Subject to preferred interim height control (DDO9-2) of 7 stories – proposed maximum height limit reduced to 4.
  • Koornang Road south of Neerim Road to Truganini Road currently two stories increased to 3.
  • Rosstown Road, from Mimosa to Cosy Gum, currently two stories increased to 4
  • Toolambool to Mimosa currently 4 stories reduced to 3.
  • Area south of Neerim Road between Ames Ave and Koornang currently classified as 4 and 3 stores reduced, height limit on Neerim Road reduced to 3.
  • Neerim Road, northside, between Toolambool and Mimosa currently 3 and 4 stories now 4

Since no justifications have been provided for the height variances or expansion of boundaries  or locations of various housing types, we find it difficult to comment further.  While GERA welcomes the concepts, without

  • data, justifications and the effectiveness of the planning mechanisms to achieve the mixed housing types within the centre
  • consideration being given to the merging of Murrubeena and Glen Huntly centres

It is not possible to determine if the best outcome is being achieved – Council needs to provide additional information and residents need to awaken and become involved

 

 

ATTEND THE CARNEGIE CONCEPT PLAN FORUM – MONDAY, 14/08/2017

The following flyer has been prepared to urge residents to attend next Monday’s Carnegie Concept Plan Community Forum.  As per the flyer, the Concept Plan contains some significant changes that residents should be aware of and concerned about.

Details of the Forum and Council Concept Plan documentation is available on Council’s website.

SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – COUNCIL DECISION – AMENDMENT C143

On Tuesday 25/07/2017 GERA advised readers of Council’s decision

  • to re-zone 88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon from Industrial to the General Residential Zone, Schedule 2 (GRZ2) and
  • not to apply the residents requested Design and Development (DDO) and Neighbourhood Character (NCO) Overlays to the sizeable site. (refer earlier posting – What the Residents Want)

This decision was passed unanimously.   After listening to the decision rationale presented by Councillors and the Director of Planning, residents, “battered and dismayed” by a poorly handled amendment process (refer earlier posting – Planning and Governance), are now also “reeling”.  They are seriously questioning Councillors understanding of planning issues and the relevance of overlay concepts being presented in the current of major activity centre review to significant developments in the yet to be reviewed Neighbourhood Activity centres.

Before outlining comments made by Councillors during the McKinnon Village agenda item, it’s worth mentioning that

  • Glen Eira’s current Planning Scheme review was directed by the Minister for Planning. Council’s requested extension for an exemption from  community consultation  was replaced with a requirement for Council to undertake a review of it’s planning scheme.  The review goal being to bring the GE’s Planning Scheme into line with contemporary planning principles, concepts and tools (eg. structure planning and overlays).
  • The major impact of the 2013 Zone Implementation was the introduction of height controls for 3 of the residential zones. Other  aspects of development (eg. built form, siting, neighbourhood characteristics, parking etc) largely remained unchanged in existing policies and strategies.  Included in the Zone Implementation was a discussion paper which recognised that Council’s policies and strategies were not effective.

Council Discussion 

The McKinnon Village discussion came immediately after Council’s discussion and unanimous adoption of Council’s “Activity Centre, Housing and Local Employment Strategy” which is applicable to Glen Eira’s 18 Activity Centres (including the McKinnon Neighbourhood Activity Centre- NAC).  Comments and praise for the work undertaken and presented Strategy, included

  • Council is embarking on a journey of how the Municipality will look and feel in the future
  • the strategy seeks a new direction, builds a stronger community
  • the strategy sets up the framework for all future activity centre development

Despite the above Strategy including vision statements of

  • for the GRZ (“Family Town houses are noted as the highest focus development type in residential areas of neighbourhood centres” – page 9) and
  • a specific vision statement for development of the McKinnon Village NAC (“That McKinnon will be an accessible centre with a strong village feel, which recognises and celebrates its heritage, art and local history” – page 16)

when it came to the re-zoning of 88-100 McKinnon discussion comments inexplicably reverted to the current planning scheme and it’s provisions.   No mention was made of strategy, how best to achieve these visions (as per the Concept Plans) nor was any mention made of the impact a site of this size (3,691 sqm) and location (extreme western edge of the activity centre) could have on achieving on these visions. 

Summarised Councillor comments (followed by residents comments) included

  • Re-zoning for residential development is better than re- development as industrial –  possibly, however, no proposal was put forward for redevelopment as an industrial site – the pro’s and con’s are unknown.
  • The resident requests for a DDO and NCO are not necessary. Existing controls in the Planning Scheme and ResCode are sufficient to preserve and protect neighbourhood amenity and character. Council’s existing Activity Centre and Housing Diversity Strategies do not include statements on Neighbourhood Character other than to say it is “emerging”.  The Concept Plan documentation recommends the use of overlays to describe preferred character, development scale, design requirements and setbacks.
  • The GRZ is working, the additional controls of DDO and NCO are not required. The stated intention of the GRZ is to provide  “diversity of housing that is consistent with existing neighbourhood character.”   Neither diversity of housing type (ie. townhouse vs. multi-unit dwellings or single, couple, family accommodations) is  occurring nor are features consistent with existing neighbourhood character being incorporated.  The zone is not working, why not capitalise on that work undertaken for the major activity centres by applying it to proximate Neighbourhood Centres when re-zoning opportunities arise, particularly when those with sensitive interfaces/issues.
  • The appropriate time to discuss built form is during the planning permit approval process when the proposed built form is shown in detailed plans. Since no planning permit application has been received, it is not appropriate to discuss them at the proposed Amendment stage. The Planning Scheme basically defines what can be built where –  the zones provide the height and overlays are the appropriate tool to set the built form design and characteristic requirements for specific locations (refer earlier reference to Concept Plan documentation).  The inclusion of overlays ensures
    • requirements are defined upfront and are incorporated in a planning permit application
    • the achievement of desired outcomes and streamlines the permit approval process.
  • Arguments presented to codify protections and requirements in a DDO and NCO are strong and they should be there, however, they are costly, risky and would involve restarting the process all over again. On balance I trust our planning experts.   Acknowledgement of strong arguments outweighed by
    • Costly – expenditure of residents funds to ensure planning scheme contains appropriate controls (eg. overlays that are in line with the zone’s intention, the newly approved strategy and the community’s views) is  fundamental to Council’s role as the Local Planning Authority.
    • Risky – no detailed explanation was provided.  Comments of  overlays being “not  binding” left residents wondering.
      • The original application included a DDO that addressed the significant built form issue of height limits
      • Interim DDOs have been applied to the Carnegie and Bentleigh Activity Centres
      • DDO’s are recommended, by an independent consultant, in the Concept Plans.
    • Restarting/delaying the process – no explanation was provided as to why a restart would be required. Residents also do not believe that avoiding further delay justifies excluding the proposed of overlays.  They also point to 3 months attributable to Council’s decision to request Planning Panel review.
  • Council’s consultative process had been beyond the legal requirements … the next step in the process is to forward the amendment to the Minister for approval.   Council consulted with residents on the initial MUZ and DDO proposal – a consultation that was later described as “testing the waters”.   Council’s proposal to rezone site as GRZ2 was not discussed with residents prior to the Council Meeting of 21/3/2017.  At this same meeting Council’s decision to abandon the MUZ and DDO was, by virtue of the inclusion of referral to a Planning Panel, meant that the MUZ and DDO remained on the table for Panel’s review and that residents only consultation on GRZ2 was with the Panel and not Council – Panel Hearing rules restricted questioning of presenters to Panel Members.  Residents were also made, that Council had been advised by the Minister’s Office, that since GRZ2 was considered a more restrictive rezoning, further community consultation was not required.

Council has yet to consult with residents on the General Residential Zone and consultation is unlikely to occur. While satisfying the planning laws consultation requirements, resident believe it falls short of the representative and consultative obligations outlined in the Local Government Act and Council’s proclamations of being representative and actively encouraging community engagement. 

  • Council apologised for initial communications which lacked transparency and showed a need for improvement. Overall it was a good process and resident participation showed that the process worked.   Residents were thanked for their participation and encouraged to continue to engage with Council.  Hence the earlier comments that residents are now reeling and questioning.

 End Result – The Residents View 

Throughout the 9 months of communications with Council, the overall feeling amongst residents is one of dissatisfaction.  Dissatisfaction with Council’s

  • performance as the Local Planning Authority
  • performance as a consultative and representative Local Authority and
  • non transparent selection of available options within the Planning Law.

While GERA has shown, and will show,  support for Council initiatives and community engagements,  GERA does so on a case by case basis.  In this case GERA’s assessment agrees with that of  the resident’s.

 

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Process Timeline

  • 19/9/2016 – Council decision to prepare Amendment
  • 14/11/2016 – Amendment Exhibited. The developer initiated proposal  related to rezoning industrial land to an inappropriate zone (MUZ) and an inappropriate DDO height limit (4 stories).  The proposal included misleading statements and was inconsistent with both the Planning Scheme and contemporary planning concepts.  180+ planning objections were lodged – over 90% requesting that the amendment be abandoned and residents be allowed input into the rezoning decision.
  • 23/2/17 – Planning Conference attended by 30+ objectors arguing for abandonment of the proposal and input into the re-zoning decision.
  • 21/3/2017 – Council voted to abandon the amendment, endorse the General Residential Zoning and refer to Planning Panel. Residents were not advised of the alternate zoning proposal, and although aware of the implications of referral to a Panel, no Councillor mentioned them.  The implications being
    • The abandoned proposal remained on the table for Panel Review, and
    • Since GRZ rezoning was seen as “more restrictive” there was no legal requirement to undertake community consultation before applying the zoning.
  • 25/5/2017 Planning Panel Hearing – 11 attendees). Initial MUZ and DDO amendment inappropriately described “testing the waters” and Council endorsed the GRZ rezoning.
  • 20/6/17 Planning Panel Report and recommendation for GRZ2 rezoning made available to residents.
  • 25/7/2017Council Decision