Tag Archives: Community Participation

PART 3 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT

This posting is a continuation of our previous posting “Part 2 – C60/Caulfield Village Development Plans – Why you can & should object – Traffic”. If you haven’t already done so, GERA recommends reading this posting in conjunction with our earlier C60/ Caulfield Village Development Plans postings.

Overview
Picture and Documentation
Part 1 –Why you can & should object
Part 2 – Why you can & should object

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Traffic – continued

Infrastructure changes – The Integrated Transport Plan, under the S173 agreement*, proposes the following infrastructure changes to the existing, analysed road next work.

Overview Infrastructure works

Details of the “starred” infrastructure works are

Proposed Upgrades 1 and 2 T

Proposed Upgrades 3 and 4 T

These modifications will be undertaken as appropriate for each stage of the Development (eg. signalisation of the Kambrook Road/Station Street intersection will occur during the Stage 2 construction phase).

Parking

As previously mentioned in our Overview posting residents have consistently raised issues with inadequate parking provisions within the development. These issues have been

• Inadequate consideration given to displaced parking in Smith Street, Station Street and ‘the triangle’ on weekdays or during Racecourse events. Displaced parking arising not only from road configurations but also by the introduction of time restricted parking within the development have not been considered.
• Impact of development on surrounding limited open space (use of the Centre of the Racecourse Reserve as a car park)
• No consideration given to the parking impact of the Monash University development on the C60 development or surrounding residential areas.
• No consideration given to the “Triangle” displaced parking (shared by Monash University staff and Tabaret (“Glasshouse”) patrons.
• Inadequate on-site/off-street visitor parking provision

Council has long recognised that on street parking demand in the local area exceeds demand, particularly during weekdays and racecourse events.

• The weekday demand for parking is predominantly due to the proximity of Caulfield Station and commuters seeking on street, paid all day parking (Smith Street, Station Street, and Normanby Road) or unpaid on street all day parking in residential streets. Parking demand arising from Monash University primarily arises from students and is directed to residential streets.
• Parking demand for Racecourse events is currently provided
o Off Street – by the Centre of the Racecourse (3000 free public parking accessed by the Glen Eira/Booran Road Tunnel), Members Carparks 1 & 2 (not available post development), the Guineas Carpark (536 space – crown land) and the Kambrook Road (674 spaces – MRC free hold land). In total existing carparking will decrease 5646 spaces to 4210 spaces post development..
o On-street – along the main roads (Smith and Station Streets, Kambrook and Normanby Roads) and surrounding residential streets.

Residents should note that a review of both the Car Parking Management Plan and the Integrated Transport Plan shows

• No provision for on site/off street visitor parking
• On site/off street car parking provisions within the development are 2910 basement or podium car spaces with secured access. Analysis of provisions shows an excess of 333 spaces which, since this falls short of the required 409 visitor parking requirement imposed by Council and is located in secured access areas, residents assume is included to provide flexibility for future stages (Stages 2 & 3) of the development (eg. increased retail/commercial, decreased dwellings)

• 165 current of on-street/off site car parking spaces will be lost due to the reconfiguration of Smith and Station Streets and lower on-street/off site parking provisions in the Boulevard.
• Of the expected 18,900 vpd traffic generated by the Development, 8,500 is attributed to residents (presumably accessing or exiting the development) and 10,400 vpd is attributed to retail. Even allowing for the short term, high turnover requirements of retail parking on street parking provisions are inadequate.
• Inadequate analysis is provided for displaced car parking on major event days (e.g Caulfield Cup), eg. use of Centre of the Racecourse for Members Parking displaces public parking)
• The Caulfield Village has not been excluded from the residential parking permit scheme nor has any comment been made on the
o introduction of timed parking restrictions in local residential streets (as per the media release, cost to be paid by the MRC) or
o the implementation of enforcement procedures in the local residential streets

Open Space

Discussion on open space provisions within the provided documentation is scant and indicate that

• within the development, public open space needs are provided solely by linear, landscaped access paths (some shared with vehicle garage access) which are said to foster a “vibrant community”. However, residents have indicated that the proposed landscaping provides for small, sparse canopy trees that will have difficulty surviving in soil depths limited by basement car parking and locations between multi-storey buildings that restrict access to sunlight and rainfall. In addition residents suggest that linear parks are generally seen as serving little civic purpose or function as they are more suited to movement than congregation.

• In general little mention has been made of parks within the surrounding area (Centre of the Racecourse, Caulfield Park, East Caulfield Reserve), while that mentioned focuses on “already at capacity” Caulfield Park. Yet, the Centre of the Racecourse closer to the development and is within easy walking distance of any point within the development. Additionally, improved pedestrian connectivity to East Caulfield Reserve has been overlooked.

Drainage

Several of our members with knowledge of drainage (GERA does not profess to be drainage experts) have expressed concerns on the storm water drainage provisions outlined in Development Plan documentation. Their concerns arise from a 90% impermeable site coverage (previously 100% permeable), the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and a natural land slope that will direct surface run off towards Caulfield Park. While Council is currently undertaking drainage works in the nearby residential streets (presumably to service the drainage requirements of the C60/Caulfield Village Development), our members are also concerned that, as in the last extreme weather event, increased storm water flows where Council drains connect with Melbourne/South East Water drains may result is flooding in areas removed for the actual development site.

Public Transport Infrastructure

GERA, like most residents, is not anti-development, we recognise

• that population growth requires additional housing (of diverse types, in various locations with access to public transport), and
• that there is considerable intrinsic value in encouraging use of sustainable transport options (walking, cycling and public transport) vs. use of private motor vehicles, and
• that the above two points places a responsibility on all levels of government to adequately provide those sustainable transport options.

Unfortunately, the development of, or improvements to the most expensive (and perhaps most effective) sustainable transport options – public transport – are lacking. Without service and capacity improvements to the current inadequate, stretched to capacity public transport network, developments of the magnitude of C60/Caulfield Village do more to encourage the use of private vehicle transport than it does to encourage the use of public transport. For this reason GERA believes that C60/Caulfield Village proposal should be delayed until public transport infrastructure improvements are at least in the pipeline.

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Since the submission deadline is 26th February, 2014 (the date of this posting), those readers who have yet to make a submission to do so a.s.a.p. as the Planning Conference is to be held on

Monday, 3rd March, 2014 at 6.30 p.m. at the Caulfield Park Pavilion

Council MAY accept late submissions and if so, given the limited time frame, we encourage sending submissions via email.  A submission does not have to lengthy and it does not require your attendance at the Planning Conference. However, it does place your submission on record and ensures that Council will inform you of it’s decision.

Residents who have not made a submission may still attend the Planning Conference.

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* Section 173 Agreement
Broadly, a Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement (under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) between the Local Authority (Council) and the owners of the land (the MRC in this instance). S173 agreements are generally used to reinforce planning controls and impose restrictions and conditions on titles.

Declaration
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 0.5% of the 500 local residents that Council has identified, and contacted, as those most likely to be impacted by the development. This percentage falls further when the development’s flow on impacts to the broader community are considered.

PART 2 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT

This posting is a continuation of our previous posting “Part 1 – C60/Caulfield Village Development Plans – Why you can & should object”

Planning Scheme Amendment C111- Ministerial Amendment Request

With regards setbacks, residents/readers should be aware that above Planning Scheme Amendment C111 was presented to Council for review at the 15th October, 2013 meeting. The Minister was seeking Councils view on a proposed Ministerial Amendment requested by the developer. As described in the officer’s report (Council Minutes 15/10/2013) the amendment sought “to make some changes to provide increased clarification to the documentation associated with the Caulfield Village Development”.

Included in the list of changes proposed were the following that should be particularly noted

Point 2 – “An ability to allow minor building works such as verandahs, balconies, eaves, downpipes, street furniture and art works to intrude into stipulated setback requirements”. While perhaps of limited relevance to the current Stage 1 Residential Development Plan consultation will presumably be significant (access to natural light) in the later Stage 2 (Mixed Use Precinct) and Stage 3 (Smith Street Precinct) consultations.
Point 3 – Clarification that Council can approve a Development Plan with building heights exceeding heights stipulated in the Incorporated Plan. Although argued that requirement for the town planning permit and an appeal/objection process, it does raise questions related to

o the elements of “certainty” said to be included in the Incorporated Plan.
o the “generally in accordance” approve or reject criteria discussed above
o the DPCD practice note discussion above – “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”.

Although the report states that the first of the development plans was “expected to be submitted to Council shortly” and that  Council was “not in a position to abandon the amendment” it could “provide a view”,  it is surprising that the possibility of including the amendment details in the Development Plan consultation or of proposing modifications to the proposed amended were not discussed as options in the Officer’s Report or raised by Councillors in the ensuing discussion.

The recommendation included in the officer’s report was passed unanimously. Amendment C111 was enacted on 14/1/2014 (Development Plan consultation commenced 5/2/2014) and has been included in Caulfield Village Mixed Use Area Incorporated Plan dated December, 2013.

Aside from residents expressing concerns re “constantly changing the goal posts” and an apparent approach of changing the Planning Scheme and Incorporated Plans for the development rather than changing the development to comply with the Planning Scheme and Incorporated Plans, there are two other changes than have not been publicly highlighted. These changes are

• The December, 2013 Incorporated Plan is now referenced in the Planning Scheme and hence will be the Incorporated Plan applicable to all current and future “generally in accordance” discussions. The change is identified as being related to Amendment C111 on 14/1/2014.

• Both the November and December, 2013 Incorporated Plans shows no height restrictions on the “Triangle” building site currently used for Tabaret and Monash University car parking. The height restrictions are defined as “Height and form to be assessed on design merit” (previous height limits were 2008 = 15 storeys, 2011 = 20 storeys).  Without a defined height limit there is no way to determine if the height limit has been exceeded – it removes the “trigger” that identifies when a planning permit is required and thereby the reinstatement of third party objection rights.

Since no details have been provided on the removal of these height restrictions (this particular building was a highly contentious issue at all C60/Caulfield Village consultations due to its proximity to the heritage listed Caulfield Station), GERA is unable to confirm when the height restrictions were removed and whether their removal was a ministerial decision (with or without review by Council).

Traffic

As previously mentioned in our earlier “Overview” posting (insert link) residents have consistently raised issues with the inadequate traffic analysis. All previous and current Development Plan traffic analyses focussed on traffic within the development itself and on the sections of the main roads that were “in the vicinity of the site”. No analysis was undertaken on the impact on surrounding residential streets or Neerim Road or Queens Avenue or the Normanby Road underpass and potential flow on impacts from the Monash University development were not considered.

The main roads “in the vicinity” are heavily congested in peak periods and all carry significant volumes during off peak periods. The Integrated Transport Plan (insert link) records current vehicle per day (vpd) volumes as being

• Balaclava Road – 8,000
• Station Street – 13,000
• Normanby Road – 10,500
• Kambrook Road – 7,500
• Smith Street – 7,000

The estimated post construction traffic generation from Caulfield Village is 18,900 vpd. Information on the dispersement the Caulfield Village generated traffic is scant as are traffic volumes for the Boulevard (which will be greatly impacted by the reconfiguration works in Smith and Station Street).

Local residents’ empirical evidence indicates that the current volume of traffic is primarily due to through traffic skirting railway level crossings via the Normanby Road, Smith Street and Queens Avenue underpasses. The current absence of retail or commercial services/employment opportunities in the defined area adds considerable weight to the residents evidence. Since traffic is highly fluid, residents believe that increased congestion arising from the development (construction and post construction periods) will flow on to other areas of the municipality.

With regards traffic, there are some other points residents should be aware of

• Included in the Community Engagement Document (a.k.a. extract of 17/12/2013 Council Meeting Minutes) is a motion that states Council has undertaken the following traffic studies

  • “That the recent traffic study conducted on Queens Avenue, Caulfield East including the area around the Neerim Road intersection and the Sir John Monash Drive intersection”,
  • “That the recent traffic study conducted on Eskdale Road Caulfield East showing the impact, if any on the local street of the changed traffic conditions on nearby Kambrook Road;
  • That any studies of pedestrian movement along Queens Avenue be examined for potential improvements to safety and accessibility”

Details of these studies, although relevant to the Development Plan Consultation and in part addressing the inadequacies of previous traffic analyses, have not been made available as part of the Development Plan Consultation.

• The Integrated Transport Plan references a Section 173 Agreement* between Council and the MRC.  A copy of this agreement is included in the 28/4/2011 Special Council Meeting Minutes which also record Council’s approval of Caulfield Village Development (

Clause 7.1.1 is as follows

“the plans and specifications required for the Required Infrastructure Projects are intended to facilitate works to a standard required only by the development of the Subject Land within the parameters of the Incorporated Plan and not to a standard required to compensate for any inadequacy in the infrastructure that currently services existing developments or as a result of development on any other land”

The intent of this clause is slightly ameliorated by Section 7.1.4. (c) which is as follows

“with the approval and commencement of development it may be necessary for further agreements to be entered into to address the provision of infrastructure, works in lieu and contributions for works performed and they will negotiate the terms of such further agreements in good faith”

A number of residents have interpreted these clauses as “the MRC’s design of access networks within the development is only required to only consider those roads in the existing road network that the traffic analyses identify as providing access to and from the development.  The responsibility for determining and funding any infrastructure works required on those identified roads is the responsibility of the MRC.  The MRC is not required to consider any other roads or the impacts on the amenity of the local community (zoned Neighbourhood Residential or Minimal Change). Infrastructure works required to offset the impact of development on these other roads will be determined and undertaken by Council with the responsibility for the funding of these works being decided later.”

Since the roads identified in the above recently undertaken Council traffic studies (ie. Queens Avenue, Eskdale Road, Neerim Road) are those that residents have consistently argued should have been included in all traffic studies undertaken for the development, residents are now left questioning why they were not included and to what extent the costs of the currently unknown infrastructure works will be funded by the Glen Eira ratepayers.  GERA agrees with the residents questioning.

 This posting will resume as

PART 3 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT – Traffic

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* Section 173 Agreement

Broadly, a Section 173 Agreement is a legal agreement (under Section 173 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987) between the Local Authority (Council) and the owners of the land (the MRC in this instance). S173 agreements are generally used to reinforce planning controls and impose restrictions and conditions on titles.

Declaration
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 1% of our members and 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. These percentage falls further when the development’s flow on impacts to the broader community are considered.

PART 1 – C60 / CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLANS – WHY YOU CAN & SHOULD OBJECT

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.

OVERVIEW

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.

DISCUSSION POINTS

“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

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Declaration

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.

C60/CAULFIELD VILLAGE PICTURES AND DOCUMENTATION

To help understand the scale of C60/Caulfield Village Development, a number of readers have requested some visual representation of the proposed development and some assistance with wading through the documentation provided.

ARTISTIC IMPRESSIONS OF C60/CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT

Precinct Map

Caulfield Mixed Use Area Precinct Plan

Residential Precinct –  2 storeys on Kambrook Road, rising to 4-5 set back stories towards the higher density Mixed Use Precinct. To comprise 442 dwellings.

Residential Precinct

Mixed Use Precinct – 4-5 storeys, rising to 8 set back storeys towards the higher density Smith Street Precinct. To comprise 732 dwellings, 4000 sqm. Supermarket and 3658 sqm retail space.

Mixed Use Precinct

Smith Street Precinct –   comprising 872 dwellings and 5838 sqm retail space.

  • from Boulevard to Smith Street – 4 storeys at street front, rising to 12 set back storeys
  • from Smith Street to Caulfield Station  – 4 storeys at street front, now rising to an undefined height (was 120m, 20 storeys)
  • Smith Street Precinct

Smith Street Precinct “Triangle”  – no height limit defined – view from Caulfield Station

20 Stories Triangle0001

C60/CAULFIELD VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT PLAN DOCUMENTATION

The following is a listing of all Development Plan Documentation available on Council’s website under the heading links shown below. All documents are PDF files – Council’s website indicates the size of each file.

The documents highlighted in red related to the entire (whole) development, while the black documents specifically relate to the Residential Precinct.

The documents related to the entire (whole) development are a reasonable starting point for submission preparation (due date 26th February, 2014). Information contained in these documents may be clarified or supplemented by information provided in the related Residential Precinct Documents.

GERA recommends that residents review all the below documents (a big task we know) prior to attending the scheduled Planning Conference – 6.30 pm, 3rd March, 2014 at the Caulfield Park Pavilion.

Related Content

• Council Report – Caulfield Village Development Community Engagement and Future Planning (also referred to as an extract from the 17th December, 2013, Council Meeting Minutes)
Caulfield Mixed Use Area Incorporated Plan

Information for the Public

• Development Plan Information Sheet
• Notice of Development Plan
• Submission Form

Development Plan Documentation

• Architectural Plans
• Landscape Plan for Development Proposal
• Landscape Plan Attachments
• Landscape Concept Plan
• Transport Impact Assessment for the Development Proposal
• Drainage Plan for Development Proposal
• Town Planning Assessment Report
• Urban Analysis and Design Response Report
Whole of Land Staging
• Precinct Plans
Car Parking Management Plan
• Waste and Recycling Management Plan
Drainage Management Plan
Integrated Transport Plan
• Transport Infrastructure Stagging Plan
• Environmental Management Plan
Environmental Site Assessment Report
Infrastructure Report

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Posting updated 25/2/2014 to include precinct heights and composition.

THE “REAL” 2013 INCREASE IN OPEN SPACE

Those of you who have been following our previous posts on the 2013 Draft Open Space Strategy will be aware that GERA has been requesting details of the strategy’s reported 11.9 ha (119,000 sqm) increase in Glen Eira’s Open Space from that reported in the 1998 Strategy.  GERA’s initial (3/12/2014) and follow-up requests do not stem from a desire to  “nitpick” but rather a belief that the practice of “good governance” (and its principles of openness, transparency and accountability) requires advising the community when a change of definitions has occurred and providing an analysis of the impact of the definitional changes when presenting documents to the community.  The significance of Glen Eira’s well documented lack of open space* and the community’s long held and well expressed governance concerns adds emphasis to this requirement in this instance.

GERA received the requested details (ie. the 1998 Open Space Strategy’s Working Paper C – Public Open Space Inventory and Inventory of Buildings within Open Space Areas last Friday (7/2/2014) and has undertaken Council’s recommended D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) comparison/reconciliation.

The comparison/reconciliation results are very disconcerting due to the disparity of the results;  area differences are recorded for most parks (whatever the size) and those differences are often contrary to expectations.  The statement that “From these definitions it can be deduced that the 1998 strategy did not include Council leased facilities such as tennis courts, bowls clubs and croquet, etc.”  indicates a reasonable expectation of area increases in those parks with such facilities and a zero area change to  those parks without such facilities.  Yet surprisingly, and inexplicably, this is not necessarily the case.  For example, Bailey Reserve records an area decrease of 1.37 ha or 13,700 sqm, Duncan McKinnon Reserve records an area decrease of 0.27 ha or 2,700 sqm, and the Glen Rigney Memorial Reserve has doubled in area – 1998 0.03 ha or 300 sqm to 0.06 or 600 sqm in 2013.  There are numerous other such discrepancies. 

Such unexplained anomalies raise many questions re the detailed knowledge and management of Glen Eira’s extremely valuable open space assets and the validity of the data presented in both strategies.  While doubts may be readily cast on of the 1998 Strategy,  doing so legitimately raises additional questions related to the time elapsed (16 years) to identify the 1998 “errors” and the validity of park master plans (all based on the 1998 strategy and which Council indicates are strictly adhered to, eg. the recent controversial Caulfield Park tree removal).

With reference to our earlier posting querying the 11.9 ha (119,000 sqm) increase, please note the following results recorded in GERA’s comparative analysis of the 1998 and 2013 surveys

  • Mallanbool Reserve (2.21 ha or 22,100 sqm) was not included in the 1998 survey and is a valid addition to Glen Eira’s open space in the 2013 Strategy.
  • Even without detailed data,  a rough calculation that factors into the 11.9 ha (119,000 sqm) increase
    • the unexplained reduction in the Bailey (1.37 ha) and Duncan McKinnon Reserves (0.27) and East Boundary Road Reserve (2.46 ha), and
    • the addition of Mallanbool Reserve (2.21 ha), Booran Road Reservoir (1.7 ha) and Packer Park (1.99 ha**).

indicates that most of the net 11.9 ha increase is attributable to “definitional change” and  highlights the governance aspect raised above.

It also highlights GERA’s comment, included in our  submission to the 2013 Draft Open Space Strategy  that Council’s exclusion of the Centre of the Caulfield Racecourse on the grounds of “restricted public access” is fundamentally flawed when the “definitional change” allows for the inclusion of leased facilities that cumulatively approach the Centre in size yet have more restrictions to public access than does the Centre.

**  the reported increase in Packer Park (1.99 ha, 19,900 sqm) includes the purchase of two house lots and the previously leased bowls club that Council proposed to sell to raise funding for the purchase and rehabilitation of the 2 house lots.  Generously assuming that the house lots comprised 0.4 ha (4,000 sqm), the remaining 1.5 ha (10,500 sqm) of the 1.99 ha increase constituted Council owned and leased land and as such is considered to be a definitional change.  Under the revised definition of open space, had the  Bowls Club remained it would have been included in the 2013 Strategy.  Council’s rehabilitation works changed public accessibility rather than the area’s definition status.

Packer Park labelled picture T

GERA believes that, as mentioned in our previous posting, in the 16 years since 1998 little has been achieved with regards to increasing Glen Eira open space and that which has been achieved has been primarily the result of government grants and which have not been augmented by Council actively seeking purchasing opportunities.  In the past 16 years, open space acquisitions (ie. “real” rather than definitional) have been limited to the

  • Mallanbool Reserve (2.21 ha, 22,100 sqm) – Crown land (State), management rights granted to Council
  • Booran Road Reservoir (1.73 ha, 17,300 sqm) – Crown land (State), management rights granted to Council in 2010 – rehabilitation works scheduled to commence in 2015/2016.
  • 2 Packer Park house lots of unknown area (assumed to be 0.4 ha or 4000 sqm – refer above) purchased in 2011 ($1.911m).

This limited achievement comes despite residents continually expressed open space long term goals, a rapidly rising population and Council statements recognising Glen Eira’s need for increased open space and promises of active acquisition (via purchase and government grants).  The 1998 strategy’s “suggested” expenditure of the developers open space contributions as 50% split between acquisition and existing park improvements has been ignored.  Aside from the Packer Park house lots, open space contribution ($12.8m for the period 2003/4 to 2011/12) has been spent on capital works in, or maintenance of, existing parkland.  This is an imbalance that needs to be rectified.

GERA re-iterates the points made in our 2013 Open Space Strategy Submission (insert link)

  • Increased frequency of Open Space Strategy reviews
  • Open Space Contributions to be held in reserve for the purchase and rehabilitation of the purchased additional parkland.
  • Regular reporting of open space contributions – revenue received and expenditures
  • Ensure that the current maximum open space contribution rate of 5% of unimproved land value to applied to all multi unit developments within Glen Eira as a priority.
  • Council should join with other Councils currently advocating to the State Government for higher open space contribution rates to apply to Commercial and Mixed Use Zones (currently exempt from open space contributions)

In addition GERA also advocates that, in line with good governance practices, Council advises the community when definitions change and provides an analysis of the impact the changes.

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Footnote:

* Glen Eira has the least per capita open space ratio in Metropolitan Melbourne which, at 1.4 ha per 1000 population, is approximately half of the average ratio for Metro Melbourne.

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.

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

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COMMUNITY PLAN – THEY DIDN’T LISTEN

The Community Plan represents the community’s views and aspirations for Glen Eira’s future growth and development over the next 4 years.   As such, it provides the framework for the Council Plan/Strategic Resources plan which outlines how Council will allocate resources to meet the community’s aspirations expressed in the Community Plan.  The Budget is a detailed allocation of resources for the first year of the Council Plan/Strategic Resources Plan.

GERA has, therefore, focussed on the Community Plan, since it is the cornerstone for the subsequent Council Plan/Strategic Resources Plan and the Budget.  Obviously, shortcomings in the cornerstone will flow on to the subsequent plans.  In making this submission GERA has concentrated efforts on the four major interrelated issues raised by residents at the community forums.

The GERA submission follows.

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Introduction

Our submission focuses on the four major areas which are of concern to residents:

  1. Traffic management & Parking
  2. Inappropriate development & general planning
  3. Open space, and
  4. Governance & community participation

1.      Traffic Management/Parking 

1(a) Traffic

The stated strategic objective is “to promote the safe movement of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic by effectively managing and improving roads, footpath and bicycle lanes together with balancing car parking opportunities”.  The first strategy is “improve safety and movement of road users and provide a fair and equitable balance of parking”.   This is not a strategy and does not provide any meaningful information on what mechanism will be used to achieve the objective or how it can be monitored.   What is missing in this strategy is the clear enunciation of the mechanisms that will be used to achieve the objective and which clearly establishes how the outcomes of the objective can be measured.

Council proclaims that ‘safety’ of all road users is a priority. Yet, the Actions proposed do not address safety clearly enough. Far more is needed than the placing of a ‘speed trailer’ in a few streets or even 40 ‘community consultations’. What is required is the total integration of the Bicycle Plan, the Transport Plan and expenditure. The Action Plan does not achieve this integration and the suggested measures provide no quantifiable means of assessing whether ‘safety’ per se has been achieved. Thus it is impossible to determine how rates have been expended.

Sadly, Glen Eira does not possess a separate ‘walking/pedestrian’ policy, even though its statements place pedestrians first. If our suburbs are to be made ‘safe’ for pedestrians, then there is nothing in the community plan which is geared towards ensuring this. Current international best practice is to manage roads via what is called a Road User Hierarchy. Basically, this ranks the most vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists) as the number 1 priority with the last priority being a single occupant vehicle.   Given Council’s long standing focus on main roads, rather than local streets, one can’t assume that Glen Eira, unlike other Councils eg. Stonnington and Port Phillip, has adopted this philosophy.  Further these councils have implemented various road treatments which fully support such a strategy – ie. creating speed humps which are incorporated into footpaths to ensure safer pedestrian transition across roads. These councils also erect barriers on corners to protect pedestrians. Hence the vision of these councils is matched via practical strategies and funding. This is lacking in Glen Eira.

1(b) Parking

 Council makes the statement that “parking demand outstripped parking supply within Glen Eira many years ago”. Council introduced a Residential Parking Permit Scheme to address these issues, yet Council’s application of this scheme is ad hoc and random at best. Residents are continually faced with both medium and high rise developments on major roads which have been granted parking permits in the nearest adjacent local residential streets. These streets are already ill equipped to cater for the existing parking demand much less the increased burden imposed by developments. If Council is serious about addressing this problem then it must ensure that the Residential Parking Permit Scheme is applied rigorously across the entire municipality and that any development that will increase the number of dwellings per lot is excluded from this scheme.

 2.      Inappropriate Development & General Planning

 This is the most disappointing aspect of both the Community Plan and the budget. Residents have long made it clear that their concerns cover the entire municipality rather than only select neighbourhoods. They have also made it clear that they expect council to hold to its MSS to protect the social and environmental amenity of the entire municipality. The proposed strategies and measures do not come close to achieving any of this.

Even the recent Planisphere report consistently refers to ‘over-development’ that is not sympathetic to the neighbourhood character. Council’s approach to this entire area is piecemeal and unco-ordinated. Further, residents have never been told why Glen Eira does not possess, or has NOT even attempted to introduce and develop many of the following:

    • Glen Eira does not have structure plans
    • Glen Eira does not have interim or permanent height controls
    • Glen Eira does not have any development contributions levies
    • Glen Eira does not have a transitions ZONE for dwellings bordering Housing Diversity Areas
    • Glen Eira does not have clearly defined Housing Diversity Areas that are mapped and publically available/accessible
    • Glen Eira does not have a Commercial Centres Policy
    • Glen Eira does not have a Parking Precinct Plan
    • Glen Eira does not have a Public Realm strategy
    • Glen Eira’s public open space policy dates back to 1996
    • Glen Eira’s Neighbourhood centre policy relies on data from the early 90’s
    • Glen Eira’s policies are inequitable where it is claimed that 20% of the municipality should bear the burden of the majority of developments
    • Glen Eira’s delegatory powers largely exclude councillors and cede all control to unelected officials when it comes to planning decisions
    • Glen Eira rarely uses ‘experts’ to support residents at VCAT ( in contrast to other councils)

As per the previous strategies and measures for the Traffic and Parking section, the proposals for the strategies in the Planning section are also deficient in that they fail to provide clear, measurable outcomes which will assist in achieving the strategic objectives.

3.      Open Space

Primarily, the introduction to this “theme” relates to the significant benefits of open space (both for a community and individuals) and how little Glen Eira has (i.e. lowest amount of open space per capita of any Melbourne Municipality).  This is in line with the issues residents have raised for many, many years and are issues which will continue to remain for many years as the number of high density developments explodes and subdivisions decrease the amount of private open space in minimal change areas.

Glen Eira’s record in the acquisition of public open space is not commensurate with residents’ aspirations. In fact, over the years Glen Eira has probably sold more than it has acquired. What little open space remains is being further eroded via the ‘redevelopments’ of pavilion after pavilion which increases the buildings’ footprints, often necessitates expansions of car parks and access roads, and in the end, are probably under-utilised. Again, residents are never provided with data that would support the contention that such ‘developments’ are valuable ‘community hubs’ rather than a drain on limited resources.

It it also worth making the point that Council includes such buildings as part of its capital assets (as are roads) but they remain non-realisable assets. Millions upon millions has been expended on such projects at the expense of basic infrastructure such as roads, traffic calming, drainage, and other essentials (which are also capital assets). Expenditure on most of these ‘essentials’ has in fact declined in recent years.

Council claims to collect over $1 million dollars in open space levies. Yet this money is not employed in the purchase of further open space. Rather it is skewed towards more and more sporting grounds and facilities, instead of passive recreational use. The prime example of this is the failure to introduce community gardens which residents have raised for years and years. Even  this budget  and the potential use of the Booran Rd Reservoir ignores this possibility and offers designs which in large part are geared to more sporting ventures.

The centre of the Racecourse ‘development’ is another case in point where Council has successfully minimised publicly available open space for Racecourse usage.

It is indicative perhaps of Council’s attitude to the importance of open space as the foundation of planning, that its extant policy dates back to 1996. Nor does council have a public realm strategy which places the issues of open space as central to all planning activities and which was brought out clearly in the recent community consultations.

In all of the strategies and measures included in the Community/Council Plan, open space is inextricably linked to ‘sporting facility upgrades’. This is a limited and deficient interpretation of what open space should entail and its importance to the community.

4.  Governance & Community Participation 

The Good Governance Guide  defines good governance as

    • Participatory
    • Consensus oriented
    • Accountable
    • Transparent
    • Responsive
    • Effect and efficient
    • Equitable and inclusive
    • Law abiding

How well are any of these standards incorporated into the community plan? And how well are the strategies that will achieve these outcomes enunciated? We believe that very few of these standards have been addressed in the draft Plan. For example, informing the community is not a substitute for real participation, consultation, or even transparency. Nor does it guarantee ‘efficiency’ and ‘inclusiveness’ – all of which are a continual source of frustration to residents.

Most of the measures cited are either legal requirements, or simply confirm actions which are already in place. There is nothing innovative, or which addresses the issues of real consultation and participation. For example: agendas and minutes have been available on council’s website for years; as has the reporting function of Council’s quarterly reports. It would be far more useful if such reports were clear, accurate, comprehensive and informative.

GERA would also like to make the comment that whilst the Community Plan notes many council policies such as the Asset Management Strategy, Open Space etc, many of these policies are not featured on council’s website. Many that do, are remain hopelessly out of date. It is most unfortunate that when council proclaims its adherence to various policies and how well they are working, that residents are denied access to these vital documents. All policies should be available and easily accessible.