Tag Archives: Planning Scheme Amendment C143

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

 

 

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SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – WHAT THE RESIDENTS WANT

25/7 Council Meeting results for McKinnon

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

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

More to details to follow later.

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

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

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

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

The arguments presented by the residents were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – PLANNING AND GOVERNANCE

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

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

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

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

Local Planning Authority

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

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

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

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

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

The motion passed by Council was

That Council:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open and Transparent Communication

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

Items to note are

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

Representative

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

Items to note are

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

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

  • Community consultation and engagement
  • Town planning
  • Traffic Management

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

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

HELP SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE

UPDATE

At the last Council Meeting (21/3/2017), Council voted to abandon the proposal to

  • rezone the site (88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon) to a Mixed Use Zone (Schedule 1) and
  • a Design and Development Overlay to apply a 4 storey height limit

and instead voted to

  • rezone the site to a General Residential Zone (Schedule 2), which has a mandatory 3 storey height limit and requirements for side and rear setbacks, and
  • refer the General Residential Zone (Schedule 2) and an Environmental Audit Overlay to an independent panel in accordance with Section 23 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

This change to the proposed zoning, while not acceding to residents request for input into determining the most appropriate zoning (General Residential – 3 stories vs Neighbourhood Residential – 2 astories), does show that Council has acknowledged the concerns expressed by residents.

GERA congratulates both the residents and Council on the decision to abandon the proposed Mixed Use zoning and 4 storey height limit.   In particular, GERA acknowledges Cr. Hyams for his comments on the assistance GERA gave to residents opposing the proposal and for acknowledging the validity of the planning arguments presented, by incorporating them in his reasoning for voting to abandon the original amendment.

 

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Many readers will be aware of a development proposal within the McKinnon Village (a.ka. McKinnon Neighbourhood Centre) that involves re-zoning of a large site that is currently zoned for industrial use to a Mixed Use Zone capped at a height of 4 stories (refer to our Save McKinnon Village posting).  178 residents lodged formal objections to the proposal and 30+ of those objectors attended the recently held planning conference (refer Proposed McKinnon Mixed Use Zone – Planning Conference Report.  Overwhelmingly, the residents found that

  • Council (the Local Planning Authority) had accepted a developer’s proposal without undertaking an detailed analysis of available re-zoning, height options and site limitations* to ensure that proposed rezoning was the most appropriate for the future development of the Village.  The arguments presented to justify the selection of the MUZ and 4 storey height limit were considered weak as they were equally applicable to the selection of site’s surrounding zones (GRZ – General Residential Zone with a height limit of 3 stories or NRZ – Neighbourhood Residential Zone with a 2 storey height limit)

* Site Limitations = on the village’s boundary, surrounding zonings, local road network limitations, significant drainage issues, limited parking and lack of compatible/complementary businesses

  • the presented proposal was both inappropriate and unacceptable and that Council should  abandon/reject the current proposal pending completion of a detailed analysis and the presentation of that analysis to the community via consultation.

The Officer’s Report arising from this planning conference is included the Agenda  for this coming Tuesday’s (21/3/17) Council Meeting (insert link).  Unfortunately, as per the Save McKinnon Village website,

 “The planning officer’s report overlooked many of the objections raised including the most basic, ie.  that Council has yet to undertake an objective analysis to determine and justify the most appropriate zoning or height limit  …  the planning officer is recommending that council vote to send this amendment to an independent panel for their recommendation”

 The Save McKinnon Group and GERA believe Council, as the elected representatives of the community and the Local Planning Authority, should act in accordance with the residents clearly expressed wishes, as afterall it is frequently claimed that “it is your Planning Scheme”, by

  • abandoning/rejecting the proposed amendment
  • undertaking and presenting the analysis then,
  • if necessary, considering a third party assessment.

We accept that committing to above will add a further delay to the lengthy planning scheme amendment approval process (which, incidentally, is not subject to the 60 day time limit applicable to large planning permit applications), however, we contend that compared to lasting impact of unacceptable and inappropriate development such delay is minimal.

The Save McKinnon Village folks are appealing for your assistance in lobbing Councillor’s to vote to abandon/reject the proposal before Tuesday’s (21/3/2017) Council Meeting.  A sample email to Councillors and Councillor contact details are available on their website

 

PROPOSED McKINNON MIXED USE ZONE – PLANNING CONFERENCE REPORT

Proposal: 

Planning Scheme Amendment (C143) to re-zone a 3671sqm site currently zoned for Industrial Use  to a Mixed Use Zone – Schedule 1 and implement a Design and Development Overlay – Schedule 6 (DDO6) to apply a 4 storey height limit and rear setbacks requirements for the site.  The site is located on the south and western edge of McKinnon Village Neighbourhood Centre on the corner of Wheatley and McKinnon Roads

For those interested, background on this Amendment and proposed DDO is available in our previous posting Save McKinnon Village.

Planning Conference Details

  • Date:     23/02/2017
  • Chair:    Cr. Jamie Hyams, with Jacqui Brasher, Principal Strategic Planner, in attendance.
  • Properties Notified:   90
  • Submissions Rec’d:  182, 5 in support and 177 objecting

Officer’s Recommendation:   To be presented to Council 21/3/2017

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The planning conference proved to be a marathon event lasting almost 4 hours with the approx. 30 attendees raising strong objections to the proposal itself and equally strong criticisms of Council for  presenting residents with the developer’s proposed zoning, heights and setbacks,  without Council (the responsible Local Planning Authority) presenting to residents any analysis of available options.  Their overwhelming opinion was that the presented proposal was unacceptable and should be rejected by Council.  Council should consult with community to obtain their input on the most appropriate zoning, height and setbacks for the site.

Before outlining the major objections raised at the Planning Conference readers should note the following “supplementary” issues raised and discussed

  • Attendance Requirements – Council advised that the change in attendance requirements (i.e. pre-registration) and the police presence at the Conference, were precautionary measures undertaken in response to the developer (a well known local resident) receiving threatening and intimidating letters re the development proposal. Fortunately, nothing untoward occurred and many of the objectors, prefaced their opposition to the proposal, with well wishes for the developer as he embarked on his next endeavour.
  • Generally, when it comes to planning matters, there are two types of community consultations. These being amendments to the planning scheme and an application for a planning permit.
  • Amendments – basically the Planning Scheme defines what (ie. physical parameters) can be built where and the nature of the uses (ie. businesses) that are allowed in the various locations. The current proposal  fits into this category and, it is at this stage that community involvement is emphasized – it’s when the parameters are set for building heights, footprints and setbacks etc.  Although Ministerial approval is required before an amendment is effected (formal term = gazetted), Council as the Local Planning Authority is responsible for preparing and substantiating the proposed amendment – provided appropriate documentation is presented, Ministerial Approval is generally given.  VCAT has no involvement in this approval process.
  • Planning Permit Applications are the next level down from the Planning Scheme Amendments – these are applications (which include detailed building plans) to develop a site in accordance with the parameters/clauses incorporated in the Planning Scheme (ie. predefined maximum heights, building footprints and set backs etc). VCAT is the arbiter in this approval process.  With regards this current proposal, as the proposed Amendment and DDO is yet to be defined, detailed development plans are yet to be prepared.
  • Roadworks – Residents requested information on the proposed roadworks on the Cnr. Wheatley and McKinnon Roads (the tender notice appeared in the Age 21/1/2017). Since such roadworks would impact the traffic and parking conditions around the site, residents had sought (6/2/2017 & 20/2/2017), but had yet to receive information on the proposed roadworks.  The details of the roadworks provided by Cr. Hyams were that they involved raising the height of the current roundabout (to ensure motorists drove around, rather than across, the roundabout) and for associated road re-surfacing and kerb replacement.   No comment was made on the delay in passing this information on to residents.
  • Conference – As previously mentioned the Planning Conference was well conducted/facilitated. All attendees were given adequate opportunity to express their views (some more than once) on the proposal and their dissatisfaction with Council’s poor planning performance and the quality of information re the proposal that had presented to residents.

 OBJECTION ISSUES

 Mixed Use Zone (MUZ1)

  • Cr. Hyams confirmed that the proposed Mixed Use Zone, building heights and setback requirements originated with the developer, as is his right.
  • Residents argued that the creation of new Mixed Use Zone (MUZ) at this location is inappropriate due to:
    • Council’s Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) which includes the following
      • Clause 21:07Encourage the conversion of isolated pockets of industrially zoned land to residential where residential land use surrounds such sites”
      • Clause 21:07 – Zones & Overlays: zoning non-conforming industrial uses to match the predominant surrounding zone

Due to some planning quirk the Mixed Use Zone is classified as a residential zone even though the zones higher densities, various features and allowed uses are not aligned with the sites “predominant surrounding zone” (ie. GRZ1 and NRZ1).  Attendees were extremely critical of the level of analysis undertaken in selecting the MUZ for this location and commented that all justifications presented in support the creation of a new MUZ for this location either

. equally justified rezoning to one of the alternate “predominant” surrounding zones (GRZ or NRZ) or

. were unsubstantiated (eg. increased employment opportunities) or

.  did not consider the negative amenity impacts (significant noise, traffic volumes and parking demand) the MUZ’s allowed uses (shops, food and liquor premises that favoured businesses operating with trading hours) would have on the predominant surrounding residential zones

Please note that the maximum leasable floor area for MUZ allowed uses (ie. no planning permit required) is capped at 150 sqm.  However, Council advised that area can accommodate sit in/take out stores, cafes and restaurants.  Additionally, although not specifically mentioned, planning permit applications can be lodged to expand areas beyond the 150 sqm cap.

  • Contrary to information contained in the Explanatory Note, the site is not “surrounded by residential and commercial uses” . It is a stand alone site on the boundary of McKinnon Village that is surrounded by residential zones only.
  • As previously mentioned the MUZ features lower requirements for permeability, landscaping, private open space and setback requirements than those of surrounding GRZ and NRZ zones.  Setback requirements and landscaping being “hot” issues as the location is prone to storm water flooding and providing the transition  from growth areas to the NRZ areas.
  • Located away from the Village core, the site lacks
    • Facilities (eg. parking, train station) and complementary businesses
    • The Commercial Zones “buffering” impact on noise levels impacting residential areas
    • Is not readily accessible to the majority of the centres residents
  • McKinnon Village currently has many vacant shops. The recently completed grade separation works had added more vacant shops and more will be added as already approved multi-unit developments are completed.  McKinnon doesn’t need additional shops, particularly shops located away from the village core.

Design and Development Overlay – DDO6

  • As the Mixed Use Zone has no height limits or set back requirements DDO6 defines a 4 storey (13.5-14.5m depending on land slope) height limit and rear setbacks for the site.
  • Height limits

The proposed height limit of 4 storey/14.5m

    •  is contrary to the designation of McKinnon Village as a Neighbourhood Centre and the 2013 Zone Implementation that implemented a 10.5m/3 storey height limit on residential zones within this neighbourhood centre and other such centres
    • Is inconsistent with the concept of scaling down building heights from the Village centre towards the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.
    • The site is subject to a special building overlay (SBO).  An SBO is related to requirements for storm water flooding treatments, it is not and should not be a justification for a height increase of an additional storey.
    • Like wise, describing a proposed building as a “Gateway” is not a justification for increased height that is inconsistent with the surrounding zones.
      • A “Gateway” is not specifically related to height, its a description that can also be applied to a building with architectural merit that fits within or enhances the character of the surrounding area
      • A Gateway building is more appropriately located on the Jasper Road (a main road) entrance to the village rather than that village’s boundary with the NRZ.
    • Will result in visual bulk, dominance and overshadowing. With regards visual bulk, residents highlighted the dominance of the only 4 storey building within Village (diagonally opposite the new train station) .  The dominance of this building when viewed from across the road or when approaching along McKinnon Road  indicates how dominant a 4 storey building, surrounded by 3 and 2 storey buildings, will be.
  • Inadequate Setback Provisions

The absence of above and below ground street-front, side and rear setbacks

    • restricts ground absorption of storm water runoff (a Special Building Overlay applies to the site).  Surrounding topography and  inadequate Council maintenance of drains within the Village frequently resulted in storm water flooding of the immediate and surrounding areas.
    • restricts on-site landscaping opportunities (eg mature vegetation) that would mitigate visual bulk and provide a positive amenity  impact for future residents.
  • In response to questioning on above ground side and street front setbacks the Developer’s Representative indicated that diagrams of proposed setbacks had been forwarded to Council. The diagrams, distributed to objectors the next day, are flagged as being indicative only – this combined with the absence of such setback requirements in DDO6 raises serious questions re the inclusion of side and street-front setbacks if the current proposal is accepted by Council.
  • Additionally, the Developer’s Representative was unable advise if side and street-front setbacks would be included at ground level or commence at a higher level.

 Traffic and Parking

 In addition to criticisms of Council’s failure to address the cumulative traffic and parking issues arising from increased development within McKinnon Village and flow on impacts arising from the Villages close proximity to the Ormond and Bentleigh centres, the following issues were raised

  • Already congested McKinnon Road is becoming even more congested (despite removal of the level crossing). The intersection with Wheatley Road (the only local road that links North and Centre Roads) is becoming increasingly dangerous.  The proposal would increase traffic volumes on both roads.
  • Wheatley Road services schools and significant redevelopments within the Ormond, McKinnong and Bentleigh centres.  The road is narrow and experiences high parking demand that requires regular “crossover pullovers” by current traffic.
  • On Street parking (on both McKinnon and Wheatley Roads) within the vicinity of the proposal is minimal (due to the roundabout slipways, bus stops and crossovers) and is simply incapable of providing for the extra demand that will generated by a Mixed Use Zone.
  • Proposed development vehicle access via a one-car width laneway accessed from Wheatley Road is inadequate.

Precedence

Following on from the above questioning of the proposed new MUZ and DDO height limit and setbacks, the issue of precedence was raised.   The approval of this proposal would set a significant and far reaching precedence for the whole of Glen Eira.  This precedent would be far more significant than the current of precedence used  justify incremental building heights (ie from 8 stories to 10 stories) within the various centres.  This precedent would justify

  • the creation of new MUZ higher density zones
    • on the edges of any neighbourhood centre rather than in the centres core and
    • in locations not accessed by main or arterial roads
  • negate the concept of scaling down building heights from the village core to NRZ

This precedent doesn’t currently exist,  don’t let it be created.

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Apologies for the length of this posting folks – it’s a challenge to summarize 4 hours – thanks for hanging in there.

As always, if you would like to make any comments or seek some clarification of issues raised, feel free to access GERA’s Facebook page

 

SAVE McKINNON VILLAGE – PLANNING SCHEME AMENDMENT C143

GERA has recently been asked by some McKinnon Residents to assist them in reviewing a proposed Planning Scheme Amendment (C143) and Design and Development Overlay – Schedule 6 (DDO6) for a large development site located on the south and western edge of McKinnon Village Neighbourhood Centre.  While the residents accept that their Village area will change, they do not believe that the currently proposed Mix Use Zoning is appropriate for the stand alone site.

The residents are seeking community support in objecting to the proposed Amendment and DDO. – the objection due date is 23/12/2016Check out their website – Save McKinnon Village.

The residents are requesting that, in the New Year and after January’s Planning Conference, Council re-assesses the Development Proposal with a view to abandoning Amendment C143 and DDO6 and enabling resident input into decisions related to

  • Appropriate Re-zoning
  • Appropriate height and setback (below and above ground) provisions

SITE DETAILS

  • 88-100 McKinnon Road, McKinnon. Located on the corner of Wheatley and McKinnon Roads.
  • Area = 3671 sqm
  • 430 metres to the McKinnon train station
  • A Special Building Overlay (ie. area prone storm water run-off and flooding) is applicable to site.
  • Current site zoning is Industrial (INZ3), which prohibits residential development.
  • Adjoining Zones are GRZ3 (General Residential Zone –  10.5m, 3 stories) & NRZ1 (Neighbourhood Residential – 8m, 2 stories)
  • A narrow right of way (laneway) exists at the rear of the site.

McKinnon Village Current Planning Zones & Heightsvillage-zones-v4b

PROPOSED CHANGES – Planning Scheme Amendment C143 and Design Development Overlay Schedule 6

  • Proposed Mixed Use Zone (MUZ) which allows commercial, retail, industrial and residential usage as a right (ie. no planning permit required, therefore, no third party objection rights). “Allowed as a right usages” include businesses with extended trading hours (eg.  Convenience Mini-Marts and Takeouts, Food and Drink services).
  • A maximum building height of (14.5 metres – 4 stories)
  • Setbacks
    • Rear Set back only – 4 metres from property boundary, applicable set backs increase as building height increases
    • No side or street front setbacks at ground level or as building height increases.

 RESIDENTS GROUNDS FOR OBJECTION

  • MUZ is not an appropriate zoning for a village or neighbourhood centre due to the adverse amenity impacts generated by
    • Noise arising from the allowed uses and extended trading hours
    • increased traffic volumes
    • increased parking demand
  • In addition to the above adverse amenity impacts, the site’s location within the McKinnon Village makes the proposed MUZ zoning inappropriate, as it is located
    • on edge of the designated neighbourhood centre rather than in the village centre. It is a stand- alone location separated from the village hub by residential zones
    • well away from the Village’s Commercial Zones and their
      • facilities (eg. parking, train station)
      • complementary businesses
      • “buffering” effect on noise impacting the residential zones
    • surrounded by residential zones (GRZ and NRZ) with limited on street parking surrounding the site due to road configuration.
    • is not readily accessible to the majority of village residents
  • The proposed height limit of 14.5m/4 stories is
    • contrary to the designation of McKinnon Village as a Neighbourhood Centre and the 2013 Zone Implementation that implemented a 10.5m/3storey height limit on residential zones within Neighbourhood Centres
    • inconsistent with the concept of scaling down building heights from the Village centre towards the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. In this case, from the Village’s Commercial Zone  (no height limit) there is a height limit of 3 stories which then rises to 4 stories on the southern and western boundary of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone
  • The absence of above and below ground street front and side setbacks
    • restricts ground absorption of storm water runoff (a Special Building Overlay applies to the site)
    • restricts landscaping opportunities
    • will result in visual bulk and dominance and overshadowing
  • There are no Neighbourhood Character requirements specified in the Amendment or DDO or Glen Eira’s Housing Diversity Policy. There should be as McKinnon Village has a distinct and unique character.

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Council has advised that a Planning Conference will be scheduled in the New Year and that Council will decide on the proposed Amendment and DDO  at it’s February Council Meeting.  In the intervening period the objection due date is 23/12/2016  and there’s the busy Christmas/New Year holiday period to consider – timing doesn’t favour the residents.

GERA encourages our members and readers to submit an objection to the proposal – numbers count!!!.    A sample objection letter is available on the   Save McKinnon Village website.