Tag Archives: Elsternwick

ELSTERNWICK – RESIDENTIAL DRUG REHABILITATION CENTRE

We’ve been asked by a group of concerned Elsternwick residents to draw the community’s attention to a retrospective planning permit application to operate a residential* Drug Rehabilitation Centre on the former Daily Planet Brothel site – 7-12 Horne Street, Elsternwick.

The site, recently acquired by a developer, has been let and is currently  operating as a residential drug rehabilitation centre.  Residents have advised that initially Council Officers felt (mistakenly in GERA’s view) that the site’s zoning of Commercial 1 did not require a planning permit for use as a residential drug rehabilitation centre.  However, the below significant issues, raised by residents since the centre commenced operating many months ago, has resulted in a Council “re-think”.  Hence the permit (Application No. GE/CP-32039/2018) now being sought for the already operating centre.

The residents, who are currently lobbying Councillors and seeking residents support, have clearly indicated to GERA that they are not objecting to an accredited drug rehabilitation centre operating at this location.  Rather they are

  • questioning and objecting to the adequacy of the centre’s current facilities and security provisions given the nature of the services offered
  • asking that the current permit application be rejected and current operations cease.
  • seeking assurances that, should a future similar permit application be received,  appropriate facilities and security provisions are provided and the due planning approval process is followed, prior to the commencement of operations.

For those interested in supporting the residents, please note that

  • a Planning Conference will be held on 22/10/2018 at 6.30 pm in the Town Hall Theatrette. Objections may be submitted at any time prior to the Conference
  • Council is scheduled to discuss and decide the application at the 7/11/2018 Ordinary Council Meeting.

*************************

RESIDENT’S COMMENTS

  • There was no letterbox drop. Supposedly this meets planning regulations. We are disappointed by this and we believe the community is not fully aware of what is going on around them, but are not questioning this part of the Act.
  • Council are letting them operate without a permit and were allowed to continue to do so whilst they undertook the application process. Rules for some, different for others.
  • Some of our neighbours have been given a ‘tour’ of the facility when it opened its doors WITHOUT a permit many months ago, the general consensus was that residents who attended were greatly concerned with the lack of information provided on who the operators were, what credentials they had to run a facility like this, and what safety measures would be put in place for both surrounding and internal residents. Amongst the many aspects of the venues operations, we were informed:
    • The centre is an operational drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic.
    • Patients have moved in will live on site for up to 3 months (24/7).
    • The centre appears as a brothel and we question whether it is actually ‘habitable’.
    • They will accept anyone from heavy drug addicts (ice, heroine, MDMA, cocaine, etc) alcoholics, physiological problems to relationship issues. Such a range of conditions would require a very broad range of expert care.
    • Their application proposes 1-2 staff for every 6 patients.
    • Patients would be prescribed drugs whilst they are living on the premises and would be walking the local streets to collect these drugs themselves from the chemist.
    • Patients would be accessing the building from all possible entrances/exits (including the alley ways which access residential properties). They are free to come and go as they please.
    • No renovation work had happened inside as of June 2018, and we suspect this is still the case (directors mentioned lack of funds and no construction vehicles have been seen in the area since). It sill presents as the brothel once did (I am told and assume having never been in a brothel before). Soft furnishings still remain ( I understand they have acquired much of the furniture off the brothel), images of naked women adorned the walls, the bedrooms were kitted out with multiple beds and fully operational spa baths, mirrors etc. Not the type of environment we would have assumed would be conducive to rehabilitating patients?!
    • They have signed a 5 year lease. They implied the business had been set up by 3-4 individuals. They would not provide any clarity around who they were, what experience or qualifications (if any) they had. The ‘deal’ was proposed by one of the brothel staffers who ‘knew’ all the relevant parties and ‘set up the deal’ in his words. He still works there as of June 2018.  
    • Patients will pay $10k per month.
    • They could not clarify what security would be put in place. They said there were operational camera’s already installed however the only camera down the alleyway that accesses residential property has been seen disconnected and is facing a roof.
    • Residents and business owners have already noted windows have been smashed since the business opened and the number of ‘questionable characters’ hovering and walking the local streets and laneways has markedly increased with some residents experiencing disputes erupting from the premises that made them feel incredibly unsafe.
    • We understand that this type of establishment has very few rules/regulations around its operations.
    • Certain residents have been informed that this specific organisation is recruiting its patients from the outside the courts – offenders waiting for trial and wanting to seek bail must be enrolled into a centre like this one which will keep them out of jail.     

We appreciate the history of this site has been an interesting one but are seriously concerned with the type of clientele this facility is attracting and the lack of transparency and professionalism shown by the staff/operators.

 We would like the community to be aware of what is occurring at the ‘Daily Wellness Centre’

 ***************************

UPDATE – 15/10/2018

One of our facebook readers has added the below link to our page.  It’s a 2016 Four Corners program on the private rehabilitation industry in Australia – the reader comments that very little has changed since the program aired.

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/rehab-inc.-promo/7827128

****************************

 

Footnote:

Residential = estimated duration of stays 2 – 12 weeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

GERA believes that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Councillor and Key Planning Officers email addresses are

MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JSilver@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

DSztrajt@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

NTaylor@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JMagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

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

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

MEsakoff@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

CDavey@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RMcKenzie@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RTorres@gleneira.vic.gov.au

 

 

HOT PRESS –

Just received from the Elsternwick residents

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

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

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

ELSTERNWICK URBAN RENEWAL AREA – Option 3 Revisited

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

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

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

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

We leave it up to readers to decide

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

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

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

 

 

Updated Structure Plans for Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Published

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

WHERE IS OPTION 3 FOR THE ELSTERNWICK URBAN RENEWAL AREA?

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

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

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

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

Options source:  Elsternwick Draft Structure Plan

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***********************

Councillor and Key Planning Officers email addresses

MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JSilver@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

DSztrajt@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

NTaylor@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

JMagee@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

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

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

MEsakoff@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

CDavey@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RMcKenzie@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au;

RTorres@gleneira.vic.gov.au

DEVELOPMENT INROADS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTIAL ZONE (NRZ1) – PART 2

The Officer’s Reports for the Rigby and Newman Avenue proposed developments  (19/12/2017 Agenda – Items 9.2 and 9.3) recommend approval at the next Tuesday’s Council Meeting subject to conditions.  The conditions listed are basically those agreed to by the developer at the belated Planning Conference or the stock standard conditions.

We can expect a lot more of these applications for the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (a reported 80% of Glen Eira’s residents areas) as

  • any lot size over 700 sqm now is considered larger than conventional lots for the NRZ (as per the Officer’s Report) which
  • combined with VC110’s
    • removal of the mandatory 2 lot subdivision cap and the zone’s purpose of ”To limit opportunities for increased residential development” and
    • introduction of the 35% garden rule and
  • the use of basement car parking to increase dwelling yields and investment returns.

All open up huge development potential within the NRZ.  The NRZ  will now provide the diverse housing options the General Residential Zone (GRZ – 3 storey height limit) promised but failed to deliver.

If these two lots  (1,100 and 976.3 sqm to comprise 5 townhouses each with new lot sizes approx. 200 sqm)

  • that are distant from the services and facilities offered by (and used to justify the creation and proposed expansion of) activity centres.
  • can result in can result in a density increase that exceeds that originally predicted for the GRZ

then rocket science is not required to foresee the future of the many NRZ lots that exceed 700 sqm (or the 650 sqm as per VC110’s schedule for determining garden space requirements).   Adverse impacts expected will be reduced amenity, livability and sustainability in the zone previously identified as the “more sensitive residential areas”.

To support this we refer to an  article commenting on Amendment VC110 impacts (published by Maddocks  – legal planning law specialists,  frequently consulted by GE Council).

 “The change creates the potential for greater densities in the NRZ, while noting that development will be subject to the minimum garden area requirements in conjunction with maximum building heights and existing local controls.  Presumably, if the aim is to increase the number of new dwellings within the NRZ areas, those developers who have pleaded for greater intensity of development in the other residential zones and in activity centres to ‘compensate’ for the constraints of the NRZ, will now temper those pleas.”

GERA has is unable to predict how quickly development will occur in NRZ.  We do, however, note that

  • the “compensation” has started
  • Glen Elira’s current rate of building approvals is 2,000 pa. and
  • Glen Eira’s 2016/17 Annual Report now expects a 50:50 split between development in Activity Centres (high density areas) and the NRZ (formerly minimal change areas).

With regards the above article’s reference to “existing local controls”,  GERA has a major concern re Neighbourhood Character.  While it has huge significance in the assessing of, and the objecting to, planning permits, unlike Heritage it’s planning provisions are not well known to residents.

Briefly, the GE Planning Scheme Neighbourhood Character Provisions are

  • Overlays – widely accepted as being the most effective planning tool for defining and preserving neighbourhood character for specific areas. Relevant overlays are
    • Clause 43.5 Neighbourhood Character Overlays (NCO) – Glen Eira has 6 overlays .
    • Clause 43.02 Design and Development Overlays (DDO ) – Although, other Council often use DDO’s in conjunction with NCO’s, Glen Eira rarely does.
  • Policies – widely accepted as carrying less weight than Overlays. These policies include character statements for areas not covered by an NCOs.
    • Clause 22.7 Housing Diversity Policy
    • Clause 22.8 Minimal Change Area Policy

GERA strongly encourages readers to research and assess the character statement applicable for their location.  VC110 also removes the purpose of “To implement neighbourhood character policy and adopted neighbourhood character guidelines” presumably because they are now to be included in the zone schedule.  Contact Council with any proposed changes and request they be included/excluded.   Applications for a Planning Permit are assessed against the Planning Scheme that exists at the time permit was lodged – subsequent changes to the scheme receive little consideration.

 Following the release of the Officers Report, residents objecting to these development applications have forwarded a response to all Councillors.   This response challenges many matters raised in the Officer’s Report.  Again, the objectors intention in publishing the report is to assist residents objecting to similar inappropriate developments in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone – Residents Response to Officers Report

DEVELOPMENT INROADS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTIAL ZONE (NRZ1) – former Minimal Change Areas

At next Tuesday’s (19/12) Ordinary Council Meeting, two unrelated planning permit applications are scheduled to be presented to Council.  These applications relate to properties in the Carnegie Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ1)  which feature maximized townhouse dwelling yield (density)  via the combination of basement car parking (vehicle access and garaging below ground increases ground level development space) and the Ministerial removal of the 2 lot subdivision limit (Amendment VC110).  Given that the NRZ1 ( a.k.a. “the most protected residential zone”) covers a reported 70-80%  Glen Eira, approval of these applications sets a precedent for future “more intensive development” that is incompatible with the intent of the NRZ  and is more compatible with the activity centre growth zones (without providing proximity to services and transport).

The zones intent being

  • Neighbourhood Residential Zone – maintenance of the existing character of predominantly single and double storey residential in  garden settings on tree lined streets. A GERA comment – Garden settings includes mature vegetation.  Mature trees and basement car parking are not a good mix.
  • Growth Zones (Residential Growth Zone – RGZ, 4 stories and General Residential Zone – GRZ, 3 stories) – moderate to medium density developments offering good access to services and transport and diversity of housing types.

GERA believes these developments are the “thin edge of the wedge” for future development of Glen Eira’s Neighbourhood Residential Zone.  We note in that, in the Planning Section of Glen Eira’s Annual Report 2016-2017 Council’s performance measure for evaluating the success of the strategy for providing diverse housing types has become 50% of new dwellings in the activity centres (and ipso facto 50% NRZ).  This contrasts with previous years when the split was 70:30.  Given the proposed expansion of activity centres and proposed housing mix within the centres, we call upon Council to  provide the justification for this change.

Planning Scheme Amendment VC110 – March, 2017

For the Neighbourhood Residential Zone 1 (prior to the 2013 Zone Implementation, known as the Minimal Change Area) Amendment VC110 makes the following significant changes

  • Maximum building height increase from 8 to 9 metres with a new 2 storey height limit. Provisions allowing for slight height increases due to land slope or flooding remain.
  • Removal of the maximum 2 dwellings per lot subdivision rule
  • Implementation of a mandatory “garden” area requirement that varies according size of the lot to be subdivided. In terms of the above Carnegie applications (with lot sizes of  1103 and 973.6 sqm.), the “garden” requirement is 35%  and is being met by the strip of land between the lot boundary and the underground basement car park.  The northern side, front and rear “strips” will be divided up as private open space for the town houses while the southern side strip will be common ground providing garden areas and pedestrian access to townhouses.

Example – Rigby Avenue Basement and Garden Space (click to enlarge)

 Carnegie Planning Permit Applications

 Details and Plans available ex Councils Website – Advertised Planning Permits

 Location 

The sites proximity to amenities are typical of most of the NRZ

  • Bus – 150 m
  • Carnegie Activity Centre and Train – 1.6km
  • Ormond Activity Centre and Train – 1.6km
  • McKinnon Primary School – 1.6 km

Both Rigby and Newman Avenue are narrow congested streets and already experience high on street parking demand (due to older townhouse  developments and waiving of parking requirements (14) within the Koornang/Leila Roads convenience store area.)

Specific Issues

GERA agrees with, and supports, the residents objecting to these developments.  Not only do the developments substantially adversely impact their amenity (traffic, parking, overshadowing and, overlooking – internal living areas and private open space), they are also at odds with Council’s Planning Scheme and Policies, Quality Design Guidelines and the intention of the NRZ.

A comprehensive summary of the grounds for the objection, tailored to the 3 Rigby Avenue application and pertinent to the Newman Avenue application, has been prepared and provided by the objectors.  Their intention is to assist residents objecting to similar inappropriate developments in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

As previously mentioned, these 2 permit applications will be discussed at next Tuesday’s Council Meeting (19/12).  This Meeting’s Agenda, which will include the Officer’s Recommendation on these applications, will be published late tomorrow (Friday, 15/12).    Although what the recommendation will be is not currently known (hopefully, it will be in line with residents objections and the intent of  the NRZ), the Council discussion on these 2 application will be interesting and provide insight into Council’s intentions for the future development of the NRZ.   NRZ resident attendance at the meeting should be worthwhile.

BTW – For those unable to attend, this meeting is currently scheduled to be the first Council Meeting to be live streamed. Look for a Council announcement providing the necessary details to access the live streaming.

As usual, please feel free to add your comments on the Glen Eira Residents Association Facebook page.

ELSTERNWICK STRUCTURE PLAN SUBMISSION – Due Monday, 11th December, 2017

We have received the below email from the Elsternwick Group opposing the Draft Structure Plans for that Activity Centre.  It reminds residents that submissions are due tomorrow (11/12) and includes a sample submission that residents may use when preparing their submission.

Please note

  • Submissions for the Bentleigh and Carnegie Draft Structure Plans are also due tomorrow.
  • Residents preparing submissions for any activity centre, should also review our earlier posting re an Open Letter to the Mayor . You may wish to include some of the issues raised in your submission.

*******************

A reminder to respond to the Glen Eira council using ALL feedback channels available – please help us make this final push to be heard!

Due to resident pressure, Bentleigh had its plan reduced as follows (and we must put as much pressure on as possible so we get the same concessions):

  • Commercial zoning areas reduced from 8 to 5 stories
  • Residential areas reduced from 4 to 3 stories (and further reduction of apartment block zoning to townhouses).

For Action by Monday 11 December:

  1.  Send your objection to Glen Eira Council planning department by MONDAY 11 DECEMBER at:  cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au . (See end of key for dot points on key issues you might want to consider in your response)
  2. Sign our online petition (and share on Facebook, send to family/friends/neighbours): https://www.change.org/p/glen-eira-council-no-high-rise-city-on-elsternwick-fringe-02dd0d1f-25c3-4ddd-b83b-b1712e2faf71
  3. Have your say on the Glen Eira discussion forum.  Register first at: https://www.haveyoursaygleneira.com.au/register then use the next link to have your say (and ‘Like’ all other relevant entries) at https://www.haveyoursaygleneira.com.au/Elsternwick/forum_topics/tell-us-what-you-think-of-the-elsternwick-draft-structure-plan   (Note: Council has done a great job at hiding key links!)
  4. If you do not believe the council has properly consulted with you,  please make a formal complaint: http://www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/Contact-us/Make-a-complaint .  If you have previously made a formal complaint and the council has not properly investigated your concerns or provided you with an appropriate outcome to your complaint within 28 working days, you can demand an internal review: http://www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/Contact-us/Internal-review
  5. Forward to other Elsternwick residents you know!!


Points you may wish to raise:

  • Clearly state you reject both options in the Elsternwick Concept Plan.
  • Plan is excessive and completely out of character with the suburb and the reason people (choose to live here).
  • Council has provided no detail (or addressed community concerns) around how properties next to or near 12 storey developments will be protected by MASSIVE overshadowing and privacy concerns in a residential area with many young families that have children.
  • City Futures and Mary Delahunty said a traffic impact assessment was being done during Stage 5 of consultation.  Council has not released the outcome of this impact assessment or been able to answer simple questions around how a significant increase in traffic (given the 20%+ increase in residents in this small area) will be managed and how traffic will be managed in the small residential streets leading up to the Elsternwick shopping strip with likely traffic chaos in St James Pde (which has a school), Denver Ave, Collage St, Horne St/Glen Huntly Road intersections.
  • Additional impacts to our already over-crowded train, tram and bus facilities – plans have NO detail on how this is being managed.
  • Both options destroy heritage/character properties in one of the oldest parts of Elsternwick (many of which are circa 1880 and turn of the century Edwardian properties).  It is letting developers destroy Elsternwick history.
  • Council has provided NO detail (or addressed community concerns) around car parking in the urban development zone and in the shopping strip to cater for a significant increase in residents many of whom will still need to drive to local shops.
  • High rise development is at direct odds with the objective of creating and protecting Elsternwick’s character and “village feel” changing the social fabric of our suburb.
  • New public space in urban development zone is only being ‘advocated’ for – there is no detail around how the council will secure this park space.

Alternative plans

  • Council has stated it is taking a whole of municipality approach to meeting Victorian government housing targets – why is it not providing a consolidated list of all housing development sites/opportunities across the municipality?
  • Across the municipality, council has enough opportunities to meet these targets (and is already meeting and exceeding its targets) without creating such excessive highrise building zones in Elsternwick.  This includes 24 hectares in the new East Village; significant opportunities in Bentleigh and Carnegie (including the Bentleigh car yard area which has THREE railway stations close by) and a recent petition from residents to develop the area on Glen Huntley Road near Hawthorn road.
  • Glen Eira council already has highest number of apartment applications (according to ABS data) https://gleneira.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/outrageous-stats/comment-page-1/#comment-35760
  • In addition, there is already a clear precedent for higher rise developments in the Glen Huntly Road shopping strip -which is actually in the Activity Centre zone.

 

We EXPECT our elected representatives to come up with a more appropriate and balanced option that protects Elsternwick’s heritage, character and village feel (across the entire suburb).Don’t turn our municipality into another Port Melbourne / Docklands disaster!

 

Open Letter Sent to the Mayor

The following is an open letter sent to the Mayor by a Glen Eira resident re Council’s current structure planning exercise.  It challenges the proposed significant expansion of activity centre boundaries and increased heights given the

  • Government targets (9000 new dwellings over the next 15 years)
  • currently proposed large projects (i.e. East Village, Caulfield Village and ABC site)
  • current pace of development being experienced (1500-2000 dwellings pa)

GERA agrees with the views expressed in the letter.

******************************

8th December 2017

Dear Mr Mayor (Tony),

Congratulations on your appointment as the Mayor, an exciting year ahead. An independent and new perspective should be invaluable for confronting our key challenges. And yes, Glen Eira has some significant challenges as further highlighted by the latest ABS building permit approval numbers which show 1,324 building approvals in Glen Eira from July to end of October with 1,233 apartments and only 91 houses (This compares to an average of 541 building approvals and 443 apartments for neighbouring local government areas). These figures again reiterate the reasonable community concern that Glen Eira is growing at a very disturbing and unsustainable rate.

I understand that you have inherited this excessive and unplanned growth however unless it is more effectively controlled it will totally destroy the municipality that we have grown to love. We already have exceptionally high population density, rapid development rates and very low open space provision and hence have been very strongly pulling our weight in terms of Melbourne’s overall population growth. I have attached the relevant graphs (following) which highlight these points while also comparing the Glen Eira situation to other local government areas. I am not in any way anti-development (I have several children that will want to live in a home somewhere) but am seeking a balance to ensure liveability, long term sustainability and the right legacy.

Respectfully, what’s required is a counter-balance to address the weaknesses of the past.

Firstly, a genuine acknowledgement of the current situation is fundamental to the move forward situation. Unfortunately, the most recent ABS building approvals, which are tracking to be significantly higher than last years, have not been highlighted in any of the research and reporting undertaken as part of the structure planning process. The projection of 9,000 new dwellings over 15 years is well and truly understated (unless controlled) and this is further confirmed by the ABS building approval figures. I have requested on numerous occasions that Council project new dwellings numbers forward, including East Village, Caulfield Village, VC110 etc. but this has not been done. The Housing ID analysis, which is a research basis for Glen Eira planning, didn’t undertake this fundamental assessment.  In summary, we need some real honesty, transparency and analysis, a good fair dinkum look in the mirror.  Let the community know that you know this is a serious issue, this is a message that hasn’t been delivered previously.

Secondly, Glen Eira needs to implement appropriate controls and quickly. I understand and greatly respect that Council officers are working very hard on the structure planning process but it is counter-productive if Activity Centres are expanded, heights are discretionary, heights are excessive, public land is sold (or used) for further development and interim controls are weak.  We are at a critical juncture where a counter-balance is required to offset the legacy. We need to get our planners to seriously assess the controls that are required to achieve fair and reasonable outcomes. Develop a clear and public action plan that demonstrates a strong commitment to this objective.

Thirdly the community needs strong advocacy and representation on this issue. All too often the justification has been about state government policy. I understand state government policy but the beauty (?) of Australia is that we have three tiers of government all of which has the power to play a role. I am not interested in the politics of this situation, as has been introduced by others, but a pragmatic and evidenced based approach. The evidence is clear that strong advocacy is justifiable and required and now is the last opportunity. In talking and listening to fellow residents, I believe that this situation is a very major issue in Glen Eira that is effecting people’s lives on a daily basis. It is also an opportunity to actively address the issues that we confront.

I have been fortunate to meet you on several occasions and believe that you are a person of exceptional integrity with a focus on community representation and advocacy. I appreciate that Rome wasn’t built in a day but implore you, in your role as a custodian, to actively address the culture and practices associated with development in Glen Eira and to do this with resolve, dedication and strong leadership. If you need any assistance to achieve the outcomes you can call on the people to support you. It is through the third space – the people (a term used by William Ury in Getting to Yes) that substantial and meaningful change can occur.

With great respect and kind regards,

Warren Green.

Attachments:

 

 

ORMOND SKY TOWER – BACK TO SQUARE ONE

Congratulations to the No Ormond Sky Tower folks who mounted the residents campaign.

The Age, 15/11/2017

A controversial plan for a high-rise tower on top of Ormond train station has been dramatically blocked at the 11th hour after a motion to reject the project was passed in Parliament.

The highly unusual move has been slammed by the property industry and planning experts, who warn it will undermine proper planning process and increase red tape.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne had approved the 13-storey tower despite a long-running campaign against it by local residents and Glen Eira Council, which pushed for eight storeys to match the low-rise area.

Mr Wynne backed the mixed-use development in the politically sensitive south-east with retail, offices and 233 apartments after a planning panel endorsed the project.

But it was blocked at the final planning approval stage in the Victorian Upper House on Wednesday by the opposition, Greens and Australian Conservatives’ Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins.

The project will now go back to square one, undoing a costly and extensive six-month planning panel process. It is an exceptionally rare move, with the last revocation occurring eight years ago.

Glen Eira mayor Mary Delahunty has already indicated that the council will now have to fork out tens of thousands of dollars to re-engage legal representation and experts for another round of planning panel hearings.

Shadow Minister for Public Transport and Planning David Davis, who first moved to revoke the project, said he was not opposed to the “value capture” model at level crossing removal sites.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy approved thousands of high-rise apartments in Melbourne’s CBD when he was planning minister, yet Mr Davis claims he chose to intervene in the Ormond station project because the building was too high for the local area.

“Even though the Ormond level crossing removal was fully funded by the previous Coalition government, the prospect of a quick buck led to Labor’s outrageous approval of a 13-storey development in Ormond.”

It comes as the opposition and Greens unsuccessfully sought to block another development on Wednesday – the controversial Markham Estate – which is 1.4 hectares of prime Ashburton land the Andrews government wants to develop for both private and public housing.

Greens MP Sue Pennicuik​ and Mr Davis have suggested that they will use the revocation tool to block projects they disagree with, which could create a headache for the government with minority status in the Upper House, as it pushes through development and transport projects across the state.

The Ormond station tower falls in the safe Liberal seat of Caulfield, but borders on the marginal seat of Bentleigh, currently held by Labor.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan accused Mr Davis of pulling a “political stunt”.

Ms Allan said those losing out were “young families wanting to rent a house or get into the property market in Melbourne close to public transport”.

The Property Council of Australia’s Victorian executive director Sally Kapp​ said revoking projects in Parliament opens up a “new avenue” for properly vetted projects to be pulled at the last minute, driving up cost, delays and creating uncertainty.

She warned that this would threaten investment and development in the state.

“We have just made it harder to do business in Victoria. We have made it harder to build worthwhile projects in Victoria.

Associate Professor in Urban Planning Alan March said if the opposition continues to successfully revoke planning amendments, this would “change the face of the planning system”.

“It would mean more and more political influence and less and less professional influence over the planning scheme,” said Dr March.

Land value capture, which involves selling public land to developers, is the strategy used by the Andrews government to help recuperate funds for the $6.9 billion level crossing removal project.