Category Archives: New Planning Zones

NEW PLANNING ZONES – WHERE AND WHAT THEY ARE

This posting will be the first in a series of posts outlining the newly implemented planning zones applied across Glen Eira. The posting is in preparation for GERA’s upcoming AGM and Community Presentation on the New Residential Planning Zones (Speaker to be Mr. Ron Torres, Glen Eira’s Manager Town Planning and Transport) – details

While the below “Before and After Maps” (ie. Map of the previous Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Policy Areas and Map of the new Residential Zones) provided on Council’s website provide an overview of the Residential Zones, they do not present details on all the zone changes and do not provide the level of detail required for residents review.

Councils Before and After Maps

For example,

  • Mixed Use Zones, Commercial Zones, Industrial Zones, Priority Development, Zone Park Zones and Public Use Zones are not differentiated (all coloured white)
  • Nor is the level of detail consistent between the two maps (eg. street identification).

For these reasons we recommend residents refer to the maps, maintained by Council, on the Department of Community Development’s website* when reviewing the new zones and assessing their implications.

Glen Eira Planning Scheme Map c

All zoning is identified on each map (Glen Eira is presented in 4 segments) and the zoom feature enables review at the property lot level.  Additionally, overlays can be included if requested.

Example: Centre Road, Bentleigh

Centre Road Bentleigh 2

GERA strongly urges residents to review these DPCD maps. There are discrepancies between what Council published as the “direct translation” in their document (New Residential Zones and Mandatory Maximum Heights – A Guide for the Community”page 14, Section 6.7) of the old Residential 1 Zone (Minimal Change) into the new residential zones and the zoning maps on the department website.  Some examples identified by G.E.R.A. are

  • The site of the former Alma Club, Caulfield North (formerly Minimal Change now classified as General Residential Zone – 3 stories, reportedly as a result of ministerial intervention)
  • The ABC site, Elsternwick (now General Residential Zone 1 – 3 stories
  • Tovak Akas Avenue, Bentleigh (Planning Scheme Amendment C98 was sought to rezone a sizeable lot from Industrial 3 to Residential 1 (Minimal Change) in July 2012.  Although, the lot’s size was recognised as being suitable for more intensive development than is usual in a Minimal Change Area it is now zoned as RGZ2 (3 storeys) on the DPCD maps yet is NRZ (2 storeys) on Council’s overview map (above).
  • Areas along the Nepean Highway, particularly in Bentleigh, are now shown as Commercial Zones.

Residents are urged to report any discrepancies they find to Council and their Ward Councillors.

ZONE ABBREVIATIONS

To aid review, the following is a brief outline of the zone abbreviations appearing in the DPCD Maps.  Subsequent postings will involve a detailed review of the various zones.

C1Z – Commercial 1 Zone (previously known as Business Zones 1, 2 & 5) – broadens the range of activities that land can be used for without the need for a planning permit (eg. supermarket, accommodation, majority of retail uses) and removes floor area restrictions.  No height limit is specified.

C2Z – Commercial 2 Zone (previously business zones 3 & 4) provides opportunities for smaller office, commercial businesses, some retail premises, trade supplies, cinemas, food and drink premises and some limited retail activity. Floor area restrictions for office and some retail uses reduced.  No height limits are specified.

INZ1 – Industrial Zone 1 – office space restrictions removed and floor area caps may be specified locally. Small scale supermarkets and associates shops and convenience shops allowed.  No height limits

GRZ  – General Residential Zone – Provides for a diversity of housing types and moderate housing growth. Mandatory height limit defined in Glen Eira – 10.5 metres (3 storeys).  Setbacks requirements differentiate GRZ1 and GRZ2.  Medical centres and places of worship allowed without a permit if conditions limiting their location (proximity to major road, activity centre) and scale (floor area) are met.

MUZ1 – Mixed Use Zone –  provides for housing at higher densities by reduced lot sizes and, although height limits may be set, Glen Eira has “None Specified”. No permit required for Food and Drink premises, Medical Centres, Offices and Shops and floor space restrictions eased.

NRZ – Neighbourhood Residential Zone – refers to areas where there are limited opportunities to increase residential development.  Mandatory height limit of 8 metres (2 storeys) and generally 2 dwellings per lot although Council may vary depending on the lot size. Medical centres and places of worship allowed without a permit if conditions limiting their location (proximity to major road, activity centre) and scale (floor area) are met.

PDZ1 – Priority Development Zone – Zone, to be replaced in July 2014, applicable to Major Activity Centres. In the Glen Eira context it refers to Phoenix Precinct, Caulfield North, which includes the major Monash University expansion and the Melbourne Racing Club’s major residential/commercial/retail development known as Caulfield Village and frequently referred to as C60.

PPRZ – Public Park and Recreation Zone – open space for public recreation

PUZ   – Public Use Zone – public land used for  public utility, community services and facilities.

RDZ1 – Road Zone 1 – Identifies major roads within Glen Eira.  Proximity to RDZ1 in NRZ and GRZ residential zones are a determinant of permit requirements for Medical Centres and Places of Worship

RGZ – Residential Growth Zone – increased densities up to and including four storeys (13.5 metres).The zone is seen as a transition zone between areas of more (Mixed Use and Commercial Zones) and less intensive (General Residential and Neighbourhood Residential Zones) development.  No permit required for shop, food and drink premises, Medical centre and Place of worship if conditions limiting their location and scale are met.

SUZ1 – Special Use Zone.   Applicable to MRC owned land around the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.  Only applicable for use when a site  adjoins more than one zone and the strategic intent of the site, if it was to be redeveloped, is not known and it is therefore not possible to determine which zone is appropriate.

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Footnote:

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

Map 1

Map 2

Map 3

Map 4

L.A.R.G.E. Forum

FORUM UPDATE – 15/9/2013

GERA attended the Planning Zones Forum held earlier today (refer below) and congratulates L.A.R.G.E. for presenting an informative and well attended forum.  Details of the presentations and question/answer session will be published on L.A.R.G.E.’s website later this week.

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GERA has been in contact with a new residents group, L.A.R.G.E. (Lobbying and Advocating for Residents of Glen Eira) advising a Community Forum to be held this coming Sunday (15th September, 2013).

In line with GERA’s mission of “encouraging resident participation in the consultation and decision making processes of the City of Glen Eira”, we welcome and support this new group.

We encourage residents to attend the forum to learn of the implications of the new zones.

Zones Flyer Picture0001

L.A.R.G.E. contact details are

Facebook

Internet

NEW PLANNING ZONES – THE “FAIT ACCOMPLI” CONSULTATION APPROACH

Since the 5th August, 2013, announcement of Glen Eira’s  introduction of the new planning zone (the first Council to do so) much has been said/written in the State and Local Media and on various social networking sites – commentaries on the zones have been both  positive and negative.

When the new planning zones were first announced  in September, 2012,  GERA made a submission to the Minister and website comments (GERA website “New Planning Zones”).  Since then Glen Eira Council’s continued silence (despite repeated requests from residents and in contrast the majority of other Councils) on the implementation of the zones has made meaningful comment impossible.  The information released by Council since 5th August is scant and includes “before and after maps” which are difficult to compare (street identification) and inadequately identified commercial zones (same colour as parks and schools).

BEFORE (download full page map)

Minimal Change Picture

AFTER ( download full page map)

New Zones Picture

The 5th August announcement makes it apparent that the assumption that Council was working on the zoning changes and would present them for community consultation prior to seeking the customary Ministerial Approval was flawed.  Residents will not be given the opportunity to have input into the zones (boundaries or content) that they deserve and have a right to expect – Council is presenting residents with a fait accompli. 

Full details of the planning zones are scheduled for release tomorrow (23/8/2013) – after gazettal ( ie. legal enactment).  Shortly thereafter GERA will comment on the zones (boundaries and content).  This current posting will therefore concentrate on Council’s implementation of the zones interspersed with some background details.  Please note that, in line with our September 2012 posting, GERA expects that there will be both positive and negative aspects within the zones.  Residents in the former minimal change areas that are now designated as Neighbourhood Residential Zone are likely to be grateful while residents in the formerly designated Housing Diversity areas that are now designated General Residential or Residential Growth Zones are less likely to be grateful.

To revert to Glen Eira’s zone consultations – the new zones were first proposed in September, 2012, and were formally enacted in July, 2013.  On enactment, Councils were provided with a 12 month window (i.e. until June, 2014) for community consultation and formal drafting their zone designations and schedules.   Unlike previous zoning (ie. Minimal Change/Housing Diversity/Activity Centres etc.) which related to areas, the new zones and schedules enable Councils to plan for the development of their municipality in much greater detail (eg. street by street, lot by lot).  The content of the zones was prescribed by the Minister and the Schedules, attached to the zone, provided Council with discretionary control options (eg. set backs – hence the Glen Eira’s two divisions of the General Residential Zone).

Glen Eira, like all Councils is required, under the Planning and Environment Act 1987,  to review their Planning Scheme every 4 years.  Glen Eira’s last review of the planning scheme involved community consultation end of 2009/beginning 2010, with review results being formally published and submitted to the Minister in August, 2010.

Please note that

  • Since the last planning scheme consultation, significant developmental and demographic changes that have occurred in Glen Eira
  • The zones provide much greater level of detail than previously allowed
  • Council was legally bound to review the Planning Scheme in 2014
  • Zone implementation provides Councils with a 12 month drafting and consultation opportunity

The above indicates that Council had a unique, timely opportunity to consult the community at a detailed level by either delaying zone implementation or bringing the review forward.  Yet, despite the Mayor describing the zone implementation as being the “biggest planning change in Glen Eira’s history” and other Councils actively informing and involving residents, rather than consulting Glen Eira Council opted, under Section 20 of the Planning and Act, to apply for a community consultation exemption and a Ministerial Amendment (C110) to the Glen Eira Planning Scheme.    The next opportunity for residents to comment on the planning scheme will be 2017/18.

The Local Law requires Council decisions, unless those decisions are covered by Councillor approved delegations of authority to Administrative staff, to be made at open Council Meetings.  (Delegations of Authority being intended to provide the Administration with the necessary authority to conduct the day to day activities of the municipality).   The decision to apply for a Section 20 exemption was not made at an open Council Meeting, nor is any discussion on the Section 20 exemption recorded in the Councillor Assembly Records.  This raises serious governance issues re Council decision making (who made the decision – it is hard to argue that such a major change to the planning scheme fits within delegations of authority) and how Councillors can request a Section 20 exemption to consult the community (those most impacted) without it being discussed at an open Council Meeting.

At the 13th August, 2013 Council Meeting (the first open discussion of the zones since September, 2012), no mention was made of the Council’s Section 20 Application.   As for the lack of community consultation, only Councillors Okotel and Delahunty expressed concern, all other Councillors who spoke indicated it wasn’t a significant issue as

  • The Minimal Change/Housing Diversity policy has been in place for over 10 years and is well understood by residents.  The new zones are a direct translation.
  • Council undertook extensive community consultation during the 2009/2010 Planning Scheme Review and is aware of what resident aspirations.
  • Undertaking community consultation would not have resulted in any significant difference in zone application outcomes.

While it is possible to dispute all above points in detail on many grounds (eg. current level of detail, residents understanding, number of participants, exclusion of post 2009 residents and existing residents who didn’t participate etc.) , suffice it to say that residents can form their own views as to the quality of the above arguments, Councillor performance of their legal and moral obligations and how re-assuring residents find Council’s claims of openness, transparency, responsiveness and “working together to achieve the best possible outcome”  

To re-iterate a point made earlier residents have advised GERA of many requests made to Council, and individual Councillors, regarding zone implementation and community consultation.  While we cannot repeat all of them, attached is a dated extract of public questions  asked by residents (which Council is legally bound to answer, not merely respond to). While being fully aware of how slowly that the wheels of government move, GERA again leaves it to residents for form their own views on the timing/quality/semantics of the responses and to note references to Ministerial Direction without mention of Council’s Section 20 application for that direction.  For those interested in verifying the public questions a link to the relevant full Council Minutes is provided in the foot notes.

GERA’s position on the new zones is that, in line with our initial objection lodged with the Minister, while there are some aspects of the new zones (eg. mandatory height limits, greater detail) that are welcomed there are also some adverse offsets (eg. creep of commercial activities into  Neighbourhood Residential Zones, restricted third party rights of appeal) which will be the subject of a later post.  GERA believes the community should not only have been informed of the zones, schedules and their implications, they should also have been given the opportunity to review and provide input into Council’s introduction of the zones.  Council denied residents that opportunity by lodging a Section 20 exemption from consultation and request for a Ministerial Amendment.  Council has also delayed making full zoning details available to residents until after the zones are enacted.  It is a  fait accompli approach to consultation.

Please note:  All residents should pay careful attention to the information provided tomorrow.  The new zones are not a direct translation of the previous Minimal Change/Housing Diversity Areas, nor have the “transitional” General Residential Zone 2 (GRZ2) been “carved” out of Housing Diversity Areas rather than Minimal Change Areas.   An example is Ercildoune Street, Caulfield North, in close proximity to the Alma Village Local Centre – previously the street was designated minimal change.  Under the new zones, the Alma Village Centre has been expaned to include Ercildoune’s western side (now zoned GRZ2) while the eastern side is designated NRZ1 (ie. minimal change).

FOOTNOTES

Full Council Meeting Minutes – July 02 2013 – Public Questions Item 11.4

Full Council Meeting Minutes – July 23 2013 – Public Questions Item 11.4

Full Council Meeting Minutes – August 13 2013 – Public Questions Item 11.4

GERA SUBMISSION – NEW PLANNING ZONES FOR VICTORIA

In July, 2012, the Minister of the Department of Planning and Community Development announced a reform of the Victorian planning zones and has posted the details of the DPCD website.  Interested parties (eg Councils, industry groups, community groups and individuals) were requested to review the proposed zones and make submissions by 21st September, 2012.  Late submissions may be lodged up to 5.00 p.m. Friday 28th September, 2012.

The reform proposals have been criticised in the media coverage (The Age – Planning Reform Blocks AppealsThe Age – The Planning Guy) and by many councils, residents groups and prominent citizens.  Many Councils have held extensive community consultations to

  • Inform residents of the proposed changes and their impact
  • To ensure that the Council’s submission to the DPCD accurately reflects the community’s opinions and interests
  • Encourage residents to forward individual submissions if they wished to

Unlike many other Councils, Glen Eira adopted an alternate approach to advising residents of the proposed zoning changes.  The Council Meeting Minutes of 4th September, 2012 – Section 9.6, includes a report prepared by Jeff Akehurst, Director City Development which outlines the proposed changes and provides some comments and discussion on the some of the “possible unintended consequences”.  The Council resolution at this meeting includes the following

  • “Section 5 of this report which includes comments as well as possible unintended consequences will form the basis of Council’s submission to the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD)”.
  • “that Council publish this submission as a discussion paper on Council’s website including providing and promoting a link to the DPCD contact details for the lodgement of submissions by residents. …. That this be on the alerts and be sent out as an alert as part of our electronic consultation trail”.  The link to the submission  (Glen Eira Submission Outline) is on the website and the alert was sent out on the 7th September, 2012.

GERA has reviewed the proposed reform of planning zones. In general GERA supports the long overdue review of the zones, however, this support is not unqualified as GERA believes the current proposed residential zones (scheduled to be implemented in 12 months) and commercial zones (scheduled for implementation October, 2012) will have far reaching adverse impacts on the residents of Glen Eira.

Full details of GERA’s concerns are provided in the GERA submission to the DPCD (GERA Submission) and the following is a brief summary of some of our concern’s

  • fewer rights of appeal
    • Grounds of appeal restricted by reclassification of previously not permitted or permit required land uses as right of use.  (Places of Worship and Medical Centres in Residential Zones and being declared exempt from the planning controls applicable to the residential zone).
    • Commercial/retail uses permitted in Residential Zones if the Residential Zone abuts an activity centre (within 100m).  No limit on hours of operation and declared exempt from the planning controls applicable to the residential zone.
    • Third party notice, objection and review rights can be exempted by Council in the Mixed Use Zone

While some of our more cynical members have suggested that loss of appeal rights would relieve them of the frustration experienced when their objections are ignored, GERA would argue that every resident has a right to express and have their opinions listened to.  This right should not be able to be restricted because of a zone change.

  • Reduction on lot sizes in zones will result in boundary to boundary double storey dwellings being built and have a negative impact on the character of the area (visual bulk, absence of landscaping) and residential amenity (overshadowing, overlooking).
  • Encourages high density housing in centres without taking into consideration the future demands on aging and currently inadequate infrastructure (roads, public transport, sewers, utilities, police, hospitals and schools) of these centres.
  • The current review relates to the zone proposals and the allowed uses within the zones only.  The implementation process (i.e. how to) has yet to be defined and many details regarding overlays (Heritage, Neighbourhood Character) are yet to be defined.  This restricts meaningful analysis of the new zones.
  • The lack of information on the implementation of the zones also extends to the community participation/involvement in the implementation process.  Height controls vary across the new zones (there are no height controls in the new Commercial Zone 1) and also vary in being mandatory or at the discretion of the local authority (Council).  Therefore, the inclusion of extensive community participation (which zones were, defining the schedules/requirements) is imperative.

GERA encourages residents to review both the Akehurst and GERA submissions, and if considered appropriate, make a submission to the DPCD.