Tag Archives: Glen Eira

Caulfield South – Planning Conference Abandoned

A remarkable turn of events at last night’s (2/7/2018) Planning Conference for a development at 2 Pearce Street, South Caulfield*.   Before the standard preliminaries were completed, the South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) and residents requested and voted to abandon the Planning Conference  with  Council agreeing to re-start the planning permit approval process.**

The major sticking point being that just prior (hours) before the Conference commenced, SCAG learnt that amended development plans had been submitted to Council (29/6/2018) and residents had not been advised of either the amended plans or their content.  Consequently, SCAG and residents objections would be based on plans that were no longer applicable.

Cr. Hyams (the Conference Chair), after advising that the changes were not considered significant, asked the Planning Officer to outline the changes.  The changes being

  • The basement car park had previously “protruded” (no specifics provided) into the garden area due to an interpretation of the Planning Minister ‘s garden area requirements by the developer. Clarification had been sought  from the  Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and resulted in changes that removed the protrusion.
  • Since the area is subject to an SBO, Melbourne Water had requested an increase in building height of 300mm/30 cm to elevate the ground floor level for flood mitigation purposes. Despite this height increase, the building height remained below the maximum height limit (11m) for the General Residential Zone (GRZ).

Summarised residents comments are

  • that the area, originally developed for workers cottages, is typified by lot sizes of 750 sqm resulting in approx. a metre separating individual dwellings.  The proposed changes could have implications for more properties than those immediately abutting the development.
  • residents had, in a short time, undertaken a very steep planning learning curve to come to grips with both the GE’s planning scheme and the plans presented. They should be given sufficient time to review the changes and assess their implications – to ask them to do so based on the scant information presented  was to ask them to make a compromise they should not be asked to make.
  • Given that the planning permit application was lodged with Council 25/01/2018, their request for time to review and assess the implications of both changes (drainage and already significant overshadowing on adjoining properties) was in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989 (Part 1 a – Local Government Charter, Section 3c – e & g) and reasonable .

GERA congratulates SCAG and residents for their well presented arguments and maintaining an amicable meeting.   We also congratulate Council for acceding to the residents request.

As an aside, after the decision to abandon the Conference had been made, discussions continued.   SCAG members,  commented that very few of the approx. 300 local residents they had contacted were aware that in 2013 their area had been zoned GRZ1 or GRZ2 (ie. suitable for 3 storey multi-unit developments).    This discussion between the residents and Cr. Hyams will be the topic of a subsequent post.

The South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) can be contacted via email:  scag.sthcaulfield.action.group@gmail.com

 

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Footnotes:

*3 stories, comprising 5 dwellings above basement car parking and waiver of visitor car parking.  Lot size is 750 sqm and the lot is subject to a Special Building Overlay (SBO – area prone to storm water overflow and flooding)

**  Since the development is not considered to be “major”, the 60 day time Council decision time line is not applicable, hence, Council can “re-start” the approval process.

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Caulfield South Activity Centre – Community Gathering 27/06/2018

 

IMPORTANT MEETING

7 pm tomorrow, Wednesday 27/6

The South Caulfield Action Group (SCAG) have invited our State MP, Mr David Southwick, together with our Camden Ward Councillors,  Joel Silver and Dan Sztrajt, to hear our stories. They need to understand why we signed the petition.

Now is the time for our voices to be heard. We need to demonstrate that there are many people concerned about the future of Caulfield South Neighbourhood Centre.

For further information and meeting details please email:  scag.sthcaulfield.action.group@gmail.com

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GERA was recently contacted by residents opposing a 3 storey (5 dwellings above basement car parking) development proposal in Pearce Street, Caulfield South.  However, as they “dug deeper” the residents not only learnt a lot about GE’s Planning inadequacies but also became increasingly concerned about

  • the lack of residents awareness of planning issues,
  • Caulfield South’s current and future development proposals and
  • possible upgrading of the Caulfield South Activity Centre from being a Neighbourhood (“lesser”) Centre to that of an Emerging Major Activity Centre.  SCAG feedback indicates that planning officers believe the upgrade has already occurred.

The South Caulfield Action Group’s formation has been highlighted by

  • lodging of a petition with Council for the implementation of a 2 storey height limit on small lots – 293 signatories and growing. A flyer depicting potential developments is attached.
  • Organizing the above meeting, to raise residents’ awareness of proposed planning changes and give the residents the opportunity to voice their views to those they have elected.
  • a determination to see residents views are duly considered with decisions that impact the South Caulfield Activity Centre are made.

Additional information prepared by SCAG

Comparative graphical presentation of ABS 2017-2018 Building Approvals – Glen Eira and other Metro Melbourne Councils.

GERA encourages residents to support this group and to attend the meeting.

 

Bethlehem Hospital – VCAT Final Determination

Below is an email received from the BHCA group, who mounted an extremely effective, community based campaign against the proposed re-development of the Calvary Healthcare Bethlehem Hospital site located in Kooyong Road,  South Caulfield.  During the course of their campaign, the original proposal for inclusion of a 19 storey tower was modified  to 10-11 stories.

As per the email, the just published VCAT decision has approved the modified proposal (ie. 10-11 stories) on the basis that “retirement villages are exempt from height limits”.   In this case, the surrounding residential areas is zoned  Neighbourhood Residential and has a 2 storey height limit.

As this VCAT decision  can be expected to have significant implications for future similar developments in Glen Eira and across Metro Melbourne,  it is disturbing to note the comment

“that had we relied solely on the promises of our elected councillors and allowed the Glen Eira City Council to prosecute our objections alone, it would have been a major folly”

 

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Hi All,

I am not usually in the habit of looking back, but as we have learned of VCAT’s decision, I remember that horrible sinking feeling that we all experienced when we learnt of Calvary’s proposed 19/20-storey tower.  While everyone recognised that the Bethlehem hospital site was ripe to be updated and improved, we all understood the deep impact that development on the scale proposed would have on the neighbourhood character and the direct effect on surrounding properties.

The community knew that this proposed development needed to be resisted.  It was with your support – moral, practical and financial, that we, as a community, forcefully expressed our objection in this administrative VCAT process against the high-powered team of barristers and experts engaged by Calvary.

The decision issued by VCAT has not stopped the redevelopment of the Bethlehem Hospital by Calvary.  It has, however, fundamentally reshaped it.  

VCAT has directed the Glen Eira City Council to issue a permit for the redevelopment of Bethlehem Hospital that is now 10/11 storeys.  The appearance of the buildings is more articulated with a finer grain exterior.  The retirement village, aged care and ancillary uses are now more evenly spread over the site.  The 90 place childcare centre has been abandoned.  The inadequacy of the car parking arrangements were acknowledged and the at-grade car park on the corner of Saturn Street and Kooyong Road reserved, as a condition of the permit, as a permanent carpark, serving to somewhat alleviate the pressure on the surrounding streets.

I hate to think what might have been the outcome of the VCAT process without the local community’s engagement of strong legal representation and expert witnesses.  Attending each day of the hearing demonstrated to me that this was the right approach and that our well-argued objection contributed to a revised development that is substantially reduced in scale.  It also confirmed to me that had we relied solely on the promises of our elected councillors and allowed the Glen Eira City Council to prosecute our objections alone, it would have been a major folly.

Significantly, and notwithstanding our expertly constructed legal arguments about the application of height limits on retirement villages, VCAT determined that retirement villages are exempt from height limits, setting a new legal precedent that I am sure will be adopted by other developers throughout the suburbs of Melbourne.  (Incidentally, it appears that VCAT’s decision has introduced an even bigger loophole to the planning regulations for applications made prior to the current act – time will tell what impact this has).

For those that wish to read the VCAT decision, it is attached.

As the spokesperson for the BHCA Group and the local community, and in what will be the last communication to the group, I would like to thank everyone for the energy, financial contributions and support to defend the character of our local streets and the amenity of our own properties.  I am firmly of the view that without it, we could not have achieved any amendment to the original scheme. 

Kind regards

on behalf of BHCAGroup Steering Group

Calvary Final VCAT Determination

REQUEST TO DEFER THE PROPOSED 27/2/2018 STRUCTURE PLAN (Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick) DECISION

Since Council’s early (ie. 1 day) release of the above Structure Plans to be submitted, for approval, to the 27/02/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting, GERA and residents have struggled with reviewing the volume of information released (approx. 500 pages of Agenda Items and 14 support documents) within an extremely tight timeframe. (5.5 days  vs. a planned 4.5 days).

Clearly, despite the magnitude of the proposed changes and claiming a real improvement to past substandard consultative practices, Council’s message is that residents’ complaints to the contrary,

  • that Officer’s have taken residents’ concerns into account in the Final Version of the Structure Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick and Quality Design Guidelines and
  • that sufficient information has been presented to residents in a timely, readily accessible and understandable manner.

Additionally, feedback received by residents and GERA indicates that these is little point in residents undertaking or presenting any analysis as the Councillors are going to approve.

Given the recent granting of 12 month time extension for the completion for the development of Structure Plans for Glen Eira’s 3 major activity centres we believe that Council should defer making any decision on these plans at this stage.  Hence GERA has emailed to Council (all Councillors and Key Administrators) the following:

GERA believes that

  • Council should defer voting on the Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Structure Plans and Quality Design Guidelines included as Agenda Items 9.1 – 9.5 for the 27/2/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting.
  • The “Deferral Time Period” should that deemed sufficient to enable residents to provide informed feedback on the Structure Plans and for Council Officers to review and assess that feedback before a Council decision is made.

This would be in line with the Minister’s direction that states “Council needs to exercise it’s responsibilities under the Act and review and strengthen it’s scheme in consultation with the community”.

  • Council should remove from Officer’s Report Recommendation – Point 3 the wording “in accordance with Section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987”. This removal is to apply to all Structure Plans and Quality Design Guidelines presented to Council – currently or in the future.

As you should be aware, Planning Amendments are the mechanisms for changing the Planning Scheme.  As such, Planning Amendments are the planning tools that will ensure future developments comply with the desired outcomes of both the Structure Plans and Quality Design Guidelines.  To invoke Section 20(4)

– Is to deny residents input into the decisions making processes related to the preparation of the planning amendments and restrict community comments to the “end product” i.e. a planning amendment that has already received “Exhibit” ministerial approval. Council has a well established track record of refusing residents requests for changes to amendments approved for Exhibition (ie. community consultation)

– Does not align with the principles of good consultation or Council’s proclaimed goal of improving community consultation practices.

A question asked at all community consultations related to the Structure Plans residents have asked “what are planning tools (eg. overlays, zones etc.) are you proposing to incorporate into the planning scheme to ensure that these desired outcomes are achieved” and the answer has always been “we don’t know”.    Residents understand the significance of Section 20(4) and find it’s application totally unacceptable – a hard lesson learnt from the 2013 Zone Implementation

Feel free forward  a copy (or an amended copy) of this email to Councillors  – just made sure you include your name, street address and telephone/mobile contact details.

Councillor and Key Planning Officers email addresses are

MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JSilver@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

DSztrajt@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

NTaylor@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JMagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

Deputy Mayor – JHyams@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

Mayor – TAthanasopoulos@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

MEsakoff@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

CDavey@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RMcKenzie@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RTorres@gleneira.vic.gov.au

 

 

HOT PRESS –

Just received from the Elsternwick residents

Glen Eira Council will vote on the Elsternwick, Bentleigh & Carnegie structure plans on Tuesday night from 7.30pm at the Glen Eira Town Hall.

Elsternwick residents will be WEARING BLACK to signify the massive overshadowing of the proposed 12 storey highrise city in Elsternwick.

If you are opposed to the highrise elements in any of these plans, you may like to join the Elsternwick residents and wear BLACK on the night to show your support.

ELSTERNWICK URBAN RENEWAL AREA – Option 3 Revisited

Following our recent (20/2/18) posting “Where is Option 3 for the Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area?”, GERA was contacted by Council.   Councillors had been advised by the Planning Officers that Option 3 did not exist and that Council was receiving numerous emails, asking for Option 3, which Council was unable to respond to as there was nothing to provide.

It appears semantics have entered the picture – various alternate terms (eg. Iteration 3, Version 3, Agenda Item, not one or the other) have been used by Council when communicating with residents requesting updated EURA information.   On the other hand, the residents have retained the terminology (ie. option) included in the Draft Structure Plan for Elsternwick.

The Officers Report, related to Agenda Item 9.3 – Elsternwick Structure Plan, discusses the Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area (p. 6-8)

  • Officers have undertaken a significant review of the urban renewal area in order to address the various issues raised by the community….”
  • “Officers have therefore undertaken a comprehensive update to the urban renewal section …..”
  • “Officers consider that the new plans ….”

We leave it up to readers to decide

  • If what looks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck is in fact a duck, and
  • How the Duck Test results align with the concepts of good community engagement and open, transparent, accountable and representative government, and
  • If Council should defer making a decision on Tuesday to give residents time to review and provide feedback (for all three centres) on the deluge of information provided.

Below are the schematics of Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area which, if available, would have appeared in our previous posting as Option 3.

We also advise that a change.org petition, opposing high-rise development in Elsternwick, has been initiated by the residents.  Feel free to read and sign if you wish.

 

 

Updated Structure Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Published

Council has just published the Agenda for Tuesday’s (27/02) Council Meeting.

Included in the Agenda Items are Updated Structure Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick and also the Quality Design Guidelines which apply to these and future activity centre Structure Plans.

Although we have yet to review these documents in detail (look for subsequent posts), their publication represents a major milestone towards completion of the Structure Planning exercise ordered by the Planning Minister.

Based on GERA’s involvement in this exercise, we urge all residents to review and assess these documents as we believe the planning outcomes (eg. expanded boundaries, height increase, rezonings, urban renewal areas and strategic sites etc.) for these 3 centres are likely to flow down to the Glen Eira’s emerging major activity centres and lesser activity centers.

Source: Quality Design Guidelines – Documentation:  City of Glen Eira Analysis of housing consumption and opportunities 2017 (p 101)

 

We also encourage residents to attend the Council Meeting (if unable to attend,  view the meeting via Live Streaming).

 

 

WHERE IS OPTION 3 FOR THE ELSTERNWICK URBAN RENEWAL AREA?

GERA has been advised that Glen Eira Council has now developed and completed a third plan (Option 3) for the Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area.

For those not aware,  the  Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area is bounded by the Nepean Highway and the Sandringham railway line.   The proposal involves rezoning much of the area from 2 storey residential to 8-12 storey commercial/residential that

  • is serviced by a convoluted street network that is ill-equipped (limited through access, dead ends etc.) to service anticipated traffic movements  (vehicle, cyclist and pedestrian) or parking demand, and
  • is located away from the retail core of the Elsternwick Activity Centre,
  • lacks accessible open space
  • lacks any response to basic questions re retention of neighbourhood character or heritage, overshadowing, privacy, traffic management and parking provisions etc.

Options 1 (the original proposal) and 2 (prepared to address the concerns raised re Option 1) have been resoundingly criticised by residents (see above), hence option 3 was prepared.

Options source:  Elsternwick Draft Structure Plan

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 3 has yet to be released for residents review, residents requests for its early release have been denied.   Option 3 details are scheduled for release at noon on Friday (23/2/2018), as part of the Agenda papers for Tuesday’s (27/2/2018) Council Meeting where it will be voted on by Council.  Apparently Council has decided that, if Council’s Planning Officers are unable to achieve community consensus after two consultations (with limited Councillor attendance),  it is considered acceptable not to present a 3rd option (or any 3rd option details) to the community any earlier than Council’s self mandated ruling of 4.5 days prior to a scheduled Council decision (which in this case is Option 3).

 In our view, releasing Option 3 with only 4.5 day window (which includes Saturday and Sunday) in which

  • Residents can assess, question and pass on comments (individually to each Councillor and key Admin. Staff) re a proposal that will significantly adversely impact their amenity, and
  • Councillors and Council Planning Officers can duly assess residents’ feedback for possible inclusion in the final Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area Structure Plan

is not only inadequate but also contrary to the principles of open, transparent and representative government.  Principles which Council statements acknowledge and actively promote.
Given Council’s acknowledged poor consultative performance on the Elsternwick Urban Renewal Area, residents are simply not “buying” into comments that adequate consultation has occurred or that Option 3 addresses the residents’ concerns.  As they are the ones who have to live with the outcome of Council’s decision, they are demanding the opportunity to review and have their say.  It is their right.

The Elsternwick residents and GERA urges residents to email all Councillors and key Council Officers A.S.A.P.  Don’t forget to add your name, street address and telephone contact no.

“I ask that Council defer it’s decision on Elsternwick’s Urban Renewal Zone Option 3 until community consultation has occurred”.

We know it’s a royal pain in the proverbial to be constantly emailing Councillors and Officers (if you can only send one email – send it to the Mayor).  However, it is important and is necessary to ensure due consideration is given to resident input into Council’s current and future decision making processes.

Both GERA and Council encourage resident attendance at the Council Meeting (7.30 p.m. Tuesday, 20th February, 2018 at the Glen Eira Town Hall).

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

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Councillor and Key Planning Officers email addresses

MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JSilver@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

DSztrajt@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

NTaylor@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JMagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

Deputy Mayor – JHyams@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

Mayor – TAthanasopoulos@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

MEsakoff@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

CDavey@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RMcKenzie@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RTorres@gleneira.vic.gov.au