In a previous posting which provided an overview of the C60 / Caulfield Village (Overview Posting) raised many governance issues related to Council’s 2011 decision to approve the C60/Caulfield Village Incorporated Plan. Unfortunately this posting will add more to those governance issues.
Before proceeding, it is worthwhile providing a brief overview of the Incorporated/Development Plan planning process
• An Incorporated Plan is generally a broad outline of a large development proposal which sets the basis for the proposed future development of a site. Once approved, it defines the approved siting of buildings within the proposed site and the prescribed building envelopes (ie. the building’s footprint, height and setback requirements). In large sites, such as C60/Caulfield Village (5.5 – 7.7 ha), it can also stipulate land uses (eg. residential vs commercial vs retail) and access networks (eg. roads and pathways for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists) within the site. The Incorporated Plan is not required to include detailed plans – it is more a “conceptual or overview” that the Community Engagement Documentation (also known as 17th December, 2013 Council Meeting Minutes extract) states adds “certainty” to the proposed developments building envelopes.
• A Development Plan sits under the Incorporated Plan and provides the details not included in the Incorporated Plan. As per Council’s Community Engagement Document these details include
o Design elements (both internal and external)
o Sustainability features;
o Staging Plan;
o Car Parking Management Plan;
o Waste and Recycling Management Plan;
o Drainage Management Plan;
o Integrated Transport Plan;
o Landscape Plan; and
o Environmental Management Plan.
Development Plans are required to be approved prior to construction commencing and applications for subdivision (strata title) permits can be lodged (Glen Eira Planning Scheme Priority Development Zone – Schedule 2, Cluse 3.0
Typically, the Incorporated/Development Plan approach to obtaining planning permit approvals is the preferred approach for large development sites as it provides
• approval at a “conceptual” or “framework” level (Incorporated Plan) without requiring preparation of detailed plans (Development Plans) and
• “guidelines” for later preparation of the detailed/development plans.
Development Plans should conform to the Incorporated Plan, however, practicalities being what they are, some divergence between the two Plans (Incorporated vs Development) is permitted provided that the Development Plan is “generally in accordance” with the Incorporated Plan.
“Generally in accordance”
As previously mentioned in GERA’s recent flyers and earlier posting, GERA believes that Council’s statement (in Council’s letter re Development Plan consultation and Leader Advertisement) that
“It is important to note that submission comments regarding the building heights, building footprints and/or setbacks cannot be taken into consideration by Council. This is because these were determined during the Amendment C60 process and cannot be altered as part of the Development Plan Assessment”
is a statement of opinion rather than fact. The term “generally in accordance” is open to interpretation and residents and objectors have a right to express their views on what it means. Development Plans found to be “NOT generally in accordance” can be rejected and the planning permit approval process is required to be re-started (back to square one).
In addition to residents’ rights to make “generally in accordance” comments, the Glen Eira Planning Scheme, Section 37.06, Schedule 2, Clause 7, which specifically relates to the “Caulfield Village Mixed Use Area”, states that
“Before deciding to approve or amend a development plan, the responsible authority (Council) must
o Display the development plan for public comment ….
o Consider any comments received in response to the display of the development plan”.
(Highlighting = GERA emphasis)
While Council’s and residents’ definition of “consider” frequently differ, it is widely accepted that Development Plan consultation can and should include comments related to Incorporated vs Development Plan differences and that those differences (both individually and cumulatively) must be considered before a decision is made on what is or is not “generally in accordance” in any Development Plan consultation. This, plus the inclusion of the “before” requirement in the planning scheme schedule specifically related to the Caulfield Village Development, raises serious governance issues concerning the above mentioned content of the advertisement and letter authorised by Council and Council’s Strategic Planning Department.
Approval/Rejection of Development Plans
Resident should note that as per the Department of Planning and Community Developments (DPCD) practice note, that approval of Development Plan applications which are “generally in accordance” with the (Incorporated) plan should NOT be automatically “granted if other relevant planning policies or considerations indicate that it should be refused”.
The practice note states that
• “The plan may not identify all of the relevant planning considerations. For example, it may support residential development on a particular site and a business use on an adjacent site, while not identifying the residential amenity considerations that may result. However, the responsible authority can still take these relevant issues into account, even if they have not been specifically identified in the plan. If they give rise to valid planning concerns that cannot be remedied by a planning condition or agreement, the responsible authority can refuse a permit application, even if it is generally in accordance with the plan”
• All Development Plan “planning permits granted by the responsible authority must be ‘generally in accordance’ with the plan. To fulfil this requirement, the responsible authority must test each proposal against the use and development requirements of the plan. If it takes the view that a substantial provision of the plan has not been met, a planning permit cannot be granted . … The responsible authority should not grant a permit for use or development that is not generally in accordance’ with the plan unless the schedule provides a clear basis to do so”.
Refer Glen Eira Planning Scheme extracts – Development Plan Requirements and Development Plan Decision Guidelines for additional information on the Development Plan components that Council should take into account and test when considering the submitted Development Plan.
GERA suggests that the Development Plans do not support the vision that the development will result in a “village centre and walkable neighbourhood, where you can live, work, shop and relax”. The contentious 2008 proposal tended to support this vision by proposing a smaller scale development comprising 1,000- 1200 dwellings of diverse types (eg. townhouse, 1, 2 or 3 bdr units), and 35,000 sqm of retail and commercial space. The Development Plans provide for a substantial increase in the number of dwellings (2046 – of which 1687 are 1-2 bedroom units) and a substantial decrease in employment opportunities (15,000 sqm of retail and commercial space which includes a 4,000 sqm supermarket). In addition the Development Plans do not show an increase in publicly available open space within the site that is commensurate with the expected population increase.
This posting will resume as
PART 2 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT
Please note GERA advises that a number of our members reside in the vicinity of the C60 / Caulfield Village Development – the number of these members is less than 0.5% of the 500 local residents that Council has identified, and contacted, as those most likely to be impacted by the development. That percentage falls further when the flow on impacts to the broader community is considered.