Tag Archives: glen eira open space

CONCEPT (STRUCTURE) PLANNING COMMUNITY FORUMS

Council is currently releasing information on the next round of Community Forms to discuss the Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Activity Centre Concept/Structure Plans.  As per various social media sites these plans include significant changes that residents need to be concerned about – expansion of activity centre boundaries, rezoning properties from lower to higher densities, and increased height limits in activity centres Commercial and Mixed Use zones.

Information on these forums is not readily accessible on Council’s website due to an apparent change in terminology and their not being listed under the category of  “Community Engagement > Current Consultations”

Below are brief Forum details and links to the appropriate documentation

Bentleigh Concept Plan Community Forums

  • Thursday 10 August 6.30pm-8.30pm
  • Duncan Mackinnon Reserve Pavilion
  • Cnr Murrumbeena and North Roads, Murrumbeena

More details and documentation on Council’s website – Bentleigh

 Carnegie Concept Plan Community Forums

  • Monday 14 August 6.30pm-8.30pm)
  • Carnegie Library and Community Centre
  • 7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

More details and documentation on Councils website – Carnegie

Elsternwick Concept Plan Community Forums

  • Monday, 21 August 6.30pm-8.30pm
  • Caulfield RSL
  • 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick

More details and documentation on Council’s website – Elsternwick

 

We’ve getting towards the serious end of Planning Scheme Review process, major changes are being proposed and serious concerns are emerging.

There is much to read and discuss in a short time.

Become involved and be counted.

 

As always, if you have any comments or need additional information, please feel free to comment on our Facebook Page

STRUCTURE PLANNING FORUMS

UPDATE 17/5/2017

Don’t forget to attend tonight’s Structure Planning Forum for Elsternwick.  Details are

Wednesday, 17th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Caulfield RSL, 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick.

UPDATE 8/5/2017

Don’t forget to attend tonight’s Structure Planning Forum for Carnegie.  Details are

Monday 8th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm

Boyd Room of the Carnegie Library,

7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

As we have pointed out many times, this is an opportunity for residents to assess and comment upon the Structure Planning work currently being undertaken by Council.   It’s about how Council is planning for the expected future developments in the centre and Council’s proposals for ensuring that the Carnegie Centre continues as a safe, socially and economically viable Centre that is readily accessible to all.

If you want a say in what can/should be built where and what basic needs (eg. open space, safety, traffic parking, neighbourhood character) Council should plan to provide for a burgeoning population then attend the forum.

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For those not aware, commencing next week, Council is holding  Community Forums* on the preliminary results of the Structure Planning work being undertaken as a result of the 2015 Ministerial Directive for Glen Eira to review it’s planning scheme.

We urge all residents and interested parties to attend the forums – numbers count.  The Structure Planning (first recommended by an Independent Planning Panel in 2003) currently being undertaken sets the requirements/standards for future developments in Glen Eira, ie what can built where (ie. locations, building uses, heights, footprint, setbacks etc.) .   It also incorporates the myriad of related planning issues (eg. traffic, parking, open space, tree protection, heritage, drainage etc.) which fall within Council’s planning responsibilities.

Although the current focus is on the major activity centres and skyrail route, the requirements set for these centres will also have significant impact on the

  • Requirements determined, at some yet to be determined future time, for the smaller activity centres (a.k.a. Neighbourhood Centres) and
  • Flow on impacts (eg traffic & parking) for the surrounding areas (ie. the smaller activity centres and Neighbourhood Residential Zone).

Now is the appropriate time for community involvement – the planning scheme requirements are being set.  Once set, it is too late to object to planning permit applications that are in compliance with the requirements ( eg. those that have been approved for Carnegie and Bentleigh since the current zones were implemented in 2013).

Below is an email which highlights some of the issues identified by the Centre Road Bentleigh Group (the Group can be contacted via email – centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com).   GERA believes that many of the issues raised below are equally applicable to Carnegie, Elsternwick and Murrumbeena and that the residents of these areas may wish to add further concerns at the forums.

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Over the last few years, Bentleigh residents have been actively lobbying Council to put in the right controls and plans for future developments within the area.  As an outcome of this lobbying, some interim height controls have recently been introduced and Council is now also undertaking a Bentleigh shopping centre and surrounds structure planning process. This structure plan will significantly influence future development

 Our thoughts on the preliminary plan are:  

  • There is no meaningful increase in open space and this is an issue with increasing development and also the general lack of open space in Glen Eira (lowest in Melbourne).  
  • It is proposed that the existing car parks are to be consolidated into a multi-storey with the remainder to potentially be converted into more residential developments. This is not acceptable (Stonnington for example are doing one underground car park and developing open space above). 
  • There is limited if any innovation or creativity in the plan.  
  • It is proposed that the library be relocated ($20M plus cost) however this was not identified as a need by residents.  (perhaps Council wants to sell off the current library site for a major development?). 
  • There is no direction included for future development heights. 

In summary, we believe that more work needs to be done to deliver a plan that is consistent in quality with other local government areas.  

 Please attend the community forum to again ensure Council clearly understands the views of residents.  Numbers are important, please also forward this onto friends. 

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As always, if you have any comments or need additional information, please feel free to comment on our Facebook Page

 

*Details of the Forums, together with support documentation, is available on Council’s website

Bentleigh

Wednesday 3 May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Bentleigh Senior Citizens Centre, 2 Arthur Street, Bentleigh to further discuss this preliminary plan.

Carnegie

Monday 8th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Boyd Room of the Carnegie Library, 7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

Elsternwick

Wednesday, 17th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Caulfield RSL, 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick.

Murrumbeena

The previously advised 24/5 Murrumbeena Structure Planning Community Forum appears to have been cancelled and has been replaced with a Structure Planning Forum for the East Village Development.  Details of this Forum are provided below.

East Village

Wednesday, 24th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Duncan McKinnon Reserve Pavilion, Cnr. North and Murrumbeena Roads, Murrumbeena

 

CAMP MAGEE (a.k.a. Camp Caulfield) – OPEN UP THE RACECOURSE

Update 2/6/2016 – CAMP MAGEE TEMPORARILY HALTED

Camp Magee has been temporarily dismantled  – the magnitude of public and media attention generated by the “Bear” has been such, that the State Government is “more actively” progressing their review of the MRC’s occupation of the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve.

Therefore, Camp Magee and next Saturday’s wrap up session are now deferred to give the newly appointed Minister (Lily Ambrosio) time to assess the current situation and determine the best way forward.

The “Bear”, with his tent,  promises to return if required (something we hope doesn’t eventuate).

A big thank you to the “Bear”, the media and the public for their efforts in highlighting this significant issue.

For those of you who missed viewing the centre parkland while Jim was in residence,  don’t let that deter you from visiting the centre parkland.   It’s an awesome sight and a tremendous community asset that is under utilized by the community.

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Update 31/5/2016 – The Age 31/5/2016 – The Age

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GERA original posting – 28/5/2016 below

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Cr. Jim “Bear Grylls” Magee has set up a week long camp* on the 5584 sqm of neglected crown land  located near the Glen Eira Road roundabout.  This land was a major part of the infamous land swap and was to become parkland that provided visual and physical above ground pedestrian access to the public parkland in the centre of the racecourse.

The purpose of “Bear” Magee’s camp out is to highlight the inequitable racing vs public use of the Crown Land known as the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve and the need for Government action.  The camp out will end next Saturday (4/6/2016) at 1.00 p.m. with  a wrap up session attended by the  Minister responsible for the Reserve’s management (the newly appointed Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change – Lily D’Ambrosio), the Minister for Sport (John Eren) and various media representatives.   Residents are also urged to attend to show their support for the “opening up” of the Racecourse for public parkland usage.

* You can follow “Bear” Magee’s progress on Twitter

For those of you who don’t know, we re-iterate – the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve was created by a Crown Grant in 1858 with the grant being formally enacted in 1876.  Under that Grant and all subsequent legislation, the primely located Reserve has 3 separate yet equal purposes of racecourse, public park and public recreation ground (ie. 33% racing and 67% public usage).

As per the scathing Auditor General’s Report (September, 2014), since the late 1990s mismanagement by the Board of Trustees and lack of Governmental oversight, has resulted in the Reserve’s current 54 hectares (valued at $2 bn) having the following usages*

  • 11 hectares (20%), is leased by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) for a flat rate of approx. $170,000 p.a.   The lease revenue is paid to the Trustees who generally return it to the MRC to fund racing related projects (as opposed to parkland related projects).  All revenue derived from the commercial activities (including the Glasshouse Tabaret) held on the Reserve land is retained by the MRC.
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used by MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement.
  • 6 hectares (11%) is open space for potential use by the community 328 days p.a. (ie. excluding racing – 27 days p.a. and major MRC commercial event days – 10 days p.a.) and during prescribed hours (ie. 10 am. to dusk).   The 6 ha is not visible from the surrounding streets, is difficult to physically access and comprises limited facilities that don’t meet park users’ needs.

* ie. 89% racing and 11% public usage

In short, the Auditor General’s Report (which concurred with the findings of the earlier 2008 Legislative Council Select Committee Report on Crown Land Management) found that the current Crown land management arrangements over the reserve are untenable from a public interest perspective  …. attention urgently required”.

21 months after the tabling of the AG’s report there’s been talk but little action on the part of the Government.  Meanwhile

  • the above usages and leasing arrangements remain in place, to the advantage of the MRC and the detriment of the public.
  • the centre of the racecourse, which is the area originally set aside for public usage, sits empty most days (except for the 27 race days and 10 major event days p.a. when it is used as a car park) and every evening after dusk
  • innumerable children and adults are unable to play sport or train within their own Municipality because demand far exceeds supply.

“Bear” Magee is asking, on behalf of residents, for the Reserve’s current inequitable usages to be aligned with the three separate yet equal purposes.  Undertaking a week long camp out (without any facilities) in Melbourne, in June, is no mean feat.     GERA thanks him for his efforts and is a strong supporter of the cause.  GERA also urges residents to show their support by

  • going to view what they are missing out on (by accessing the racecourse centre via the Glen Eira Road Tunnel), then stopping for a chat with “Bear” Magee afterwards, and
  • attending the camp out wrap up session next Saturday.

Finally, words of wisdom from the past

The Argus, 16th August, 1884 (8 years after Grown Grant was enacted).

Extract of a meeting between the  Minister of Lands (Mr. Tucker) and VATC (Victorian Amateur Turf Club, later became the MRC) re management of the reserve being vested in the VATC

 “It seemed to him (Mr. Tucker) that to agree to the proposals of the club would be to limit to some extent the right of the public to use the ground for the purposes for which it was originally reserved – namely, for recreation and a public park. … The vicinity of the Caulfield racecourse would no doubt soon be thickly populated, and the value of the reserve to the public would then be widely enhanced.   …  Mr. Tucker said he thought the public ought not to have to ask for permission to go on a public reserve. ”

28/5/2016 – Residents wanting to play sport at the Glen Eira Road Tunnel Entrance Gates

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2016 PLANNING SCHEME REVIEW – WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE

Council’s 2016 Planning Scheme Review offers residents the first opportunity to formally express their views on Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme since 2010.   GERA urges all residents to attend one of the 3 remaining Planning Review Sessions and/or lodge a written submission with Council (preferably both).  If you don’t take advantage of this current opportunity to comment on the “relevance and applicability of all Glen Eira’s town planning policies and controls”, your next opportunity will probably be in 2020 (ie. as prescribed by the 1987 Planning and Environment Act, reviews are required every 4 years unless granted an exemption).

GERA supports the concept of focusing the demands made by an increasing population towards areas which are best suited to meet those demands (ie. the provision of  housing, transport, employment, retail and commercial services and recreation).  In supporting that concept, we also recognize that local Councils, being the local planning authority, play a key role in identifying appropriate areas capable of accommodating those demands and ensuring, via implementing planning policies and controls, the long term viability and liveability of those areas.

Since the 2003 Housing Diversity/High Density and Minimal Change Area policy was implemented, residents (ourselves included) have consistently criticized Glen Eira’s town planning for allowing development to occur without implementing appropriate planning policies and controls that give consideration to the cumulative (ie. in total) social and environmental impacts that arise from intensive development within targeted areas.

The 2013 Zone Implementation, as documented in the media, resulted in a dramatic increase in that criticism.  As residents’  knowledge of the GE Planning Scheme grows (the result of the objection process), so too does criticism of Council’s planning performance and the absence of appropriate planning policies and controls.  Such criticism, combined with that of developers and VCAT, resulted in the Planning Minister’s decision (December 2015) to require Glen Eira to undertake a planning scheme review in consultation with the community.

The significance/importance of your participation in this Review is highlighted, not only by the Minister’s assessment of the need for the review but also by the all encompassing scope of the review.  Council’s Review Discussion Paper outlines the topics to be reviewed under “Themes”  as follows

  • Municipal Strategic Statement and Local Planning Policies
  • Activity Centres
  • Environmentally Sustainable Development
  • Car Parking and Transport (both private and public)
  • Neighbourhood Character
  • Heritage

Below is a bullet point summary* of the issues raised by residents attending the first  two sessions which readers may wish to consider – no doubt additional issues will be raised in the 3 remaining sessions.   All issues currently raised fall within Council’s ambit of responsibility and all directly impact all residents (regardless of which zone they live in)  – they are also all integral to how you envisage Glen Eira developing.

* Subsequent GERA postings will discuss the most significant issues.  GERA accepts that, although presented under one Theme,  many of the issues are related to more than one theme

DISCUSSION THEMES AND RESIDENTS INPUT

THEME 1 Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) and Local Planning Policies (LPPs)

  • MSS – Despite providing the strategic (overarching) direction for urban/town planning within Glen Eira the current MSS is outdated (i.e. pre 2006) and is based on 1996 Census data.
  • Local Planning Policies reflect the outdated nature of the MSS, while some MMS policies/objectives are yet to be developed eg.   Structure Planning, Parking Precinct Plans.

THEME 2 – Urban Design in Activity Centres

  • Structure Planning and Urban Design Frameworks to be implemented for all high density areas.
  • Review of all high density area boundaries
  • Development Contribution Levy (drainage) to be re-instated and advocating for higher levy rate
  • Overlays required to ensure or provide
    • Application of height controls for all Commercial and Mixed Use zones
    • Provision of diverse dwelling types (eg. apartments and townhouse) and sizes (eg. 1,2,3+ bedrooms) and density parameters
    • Reduced site coverage and basement car park dimensions not to exceed above ground building footprint (ensures increased site permeability and landscaping opportunities)
    • Neighbourhood/Preferred Character Statements
    • Balconies not permitted to exceed property boundaries or overshadow lower balconies.
  • Advocating for minimum apartment sizes and internal amenity standards
  • No waivers on parking or loading bay requirements and the implementation of parking acquisition overlays
  • Private open space provisions (eg. balconies) to be applicable to Commercial and Mixed Use Zones.
  • Enforcement of time restricted parking provisions and a review undertaken on the applicability of those provisions.

THEME 3 Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD)

  • Implement tree protection  (private and public land) – planning scheme provisions are inadequate
  • Energy efficiency ratings and Water Conservation strategies to be applicable to all new construction.
  • Mandatory access to natural light and ventilation for all habitable rooms in multi-unit, multi-storey dwellings.
  • Increased permeable surface requirements in all zones
  • Acquisition of open space
  • Increased open space levy and higher levy rates applicable to Commercial, Mixed Use, Residential Growth and General Residential zones
  • Improved public safety
  • Focus on Sustainable Transport – public transport, pedestrian and cyclist safety.
  • Advocating for an improved public transport system.

THEME 4 Car Parking and Transport

  • Reinstatement of Road Safety Strategy (lapsed in 2012) – focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety and traffic management treatments
  • Reinstatement of Local Area Traffic Management  (LATM)
  • No. of budgeted traffic management treatments to be increased from 3 p.a. to at least 10 p.a.
  • Implementation of Parking Precinct Plans and Parking Acquisition Overlays
  • Application of residential parking permit system and time restricted parking provisions required to be reviewed

THEME 5  Neighbourhood Character

  • Regular assessment of Neighbourhood Character required. Reassessment required to be undertaken in 2016.
  • Neighbourhood Character (NCO) and Design Development Overlays (DDO) to be applied to Neighbourhood Residential Zones
  • NCO and DDO to be applied to “large lots” (> 2000 sqm) in Neighbourhood Residential Zones

THEME 6 Heritage

  • Regular assessment of Heritage required. Glen Eira’s 1996 Heritage Management Plan is overdue for reassessment.
  • MSS and LPPs should include provision for Heritage classification as per Heritage Advisors recommendations both on an ad hoc basis and as part of the regular review process.
  • Significance of recognized heritage areas diminished by allowing unsympathetic redevelopment of sites deemed “non contributory”.
  • Councillors and Council Officers to take into account Independent Heritage Advisors recommendations  and residents expressed views as heritage issues arise.

 CLOSING SESSION

  • Performance measures included in MSS and LPPs to be included in current and all future Planning Scheme Reviews.
  • Planning Scheme Review should take into account recent VCAT judgement justifications which contain criticisms of Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme.

As mentioned previously we urge residents to take advantage of this overdue community consultation opportunity by

  • Attending one of the 3 remaining Planning Review Sessions and the Key Issues Meeting on 15th June, 2016.
  • Making a formal submission to Council – numbers count

Only your participation ensures that your opinions are considered.

Racecourse and Recreation Reserve – Opportunity for Change ???

Wednesday, 16th September, 2015, saw the conclusion of the two Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve Trust consultations (presented by Trust Chairman Greg Sword and Landscape Architect, John Patrick) which sought community input into the initial stages of Trust’s preparation of a “Strategic Land Management Plan” (SLMP) for the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve”. 

BACKGROUND of the RACECOURSE and RECREATION RESERVE

The Reserve (which comprises 54 ha of primly located crown land currently valued at $2bn) was created (by a Crown Grant in 1858 and formally enacted in 1875) to provide for three separate yet equal purposes of race course, public park and public recreation ground. Yet, as per the Auditor General’s (9/2014) findings, under the dysfunctional and archaic structure of the Trust, management of the reserve has focused on the racing purpose to the exclusion of the public park and recreation ground purposes.

In short, as per the AG’s report, the resulting inequitable imbalance in the reserves usage, facilities and accessibility is as follows

  • 11 ha (20%) is leased for racing uses for a peppercorn rental of $170,000 pa.
  • 37ha (69%) is used for racing purposes without any clear legal entitlement or payment. The majority of this area is located in the centre of the racecourse proper (a.k.a. the “Flats”) and is that area originally set aside for public usage.
  • 6ha (11%) that is “potentially” available for public park usage. The area is difficult to access and comprises limited facilities – both presenters agreed with this assessment.

 Since inception, the Trust’s management and Racing’s* dominance of the reserve has been a contentious issue, but never more so than in the last 18 years.   In 1997, the Victorian Racing Club, for financial reasons, decided to sell for development their state of the art training facility located on their freehold land in Mordialloc (a.k.a. the former Epsom Racecourse) and to focus training facilities at the Caulfield Racecourse (ie. choosing subsidised Crown Land rather than their own freehold land within Metro Melbourne or in a regional centre).

* While the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) is the current public face of the Reserve, the public face has varied between various Racing entities over the years.   To simplify this posting, GERA uses the generic term of “Racing” to represent these entities.

 In the past 18 years, increased Racing dominance has resulted in a dramatic decline in the area/s available for public usage (via the encroachment of training facilities and commercial activities) and the public’s ability to access the public usage area/s (eg. 4 only access points, restricted daily hours of usage, inner fencing and training track barriers, public exclusion during non-racing related commercial activities) – thus the Auditor General’s description of the remaining 6 ha of public park being “potentially” available.    

Centre’s Public Use Areas – from Glen Eira’s 1998 and 2013 Open Space Strategy

CONSULTATION

 The second (16/9) consultation was not as controversial or “firey” as the first (9/9) consultation. Although, the consultations were promoted as being “to ascertain how the Reserve could be utilised by the public, what facilities could be incorporated into the Reserve for both passive and active recreation and to identify community demands and expectations of the Reserve”, during the context setting presentation of the first (9/9) consultation

  • various exclusions were applied (eg. all leased areas and all stabling and training facilities located within the reserve would remain as a “given”). These exclusions whittled the area of the Reserve open for discussion down to an area akin to the 6 ha referred to in the Auditor General’s report. Additionally, although presenting a map of the reserve, the presenters were unable to identify either the location or size of the public area to be discussed.
  • out of scope rulings were applied to a number of highly contentious issues that had major impacts on public accessibility (eg. no. and location of access points, times of use and removal of inner and perimeter fencing)
  • the limited extent of the consultation advertising was discussed. That advertising being restricted to a
    • notification on the recently revived Trustee website  and
    • mailout to Glen Eira sporting clubs, retirement villages and schools within a 3 km radius of the Reserve.
    • brief comments in the Glen Eira Leader

All in all, not a good start.   Those attending (approx. 35) the first consultation, quickly began seriously questioning the Trust’s ability to develop an “overall vision and rationale for the Masterplan”, when the starting point (for a unique site with huge potential for a wide area) was based on maintaining the status quo – a status quo that was the subject of a scathing Auditor General’s Report in 2014 and an equally critical 2008 Legislative Council Select Committee Report.

Basically, the attendees argued that

  • while acknowledging that this consultation represented a shift in the Trustee management philosophy, that shift was still accompanied by a philosophy that clearly considered the 2 public purposes as subordinate to the Racing purpose rather than as outweighing or being at least equal to the  racing purpose.
  • the Trust needed to take a much broader view that recognised the huge potential of this land and the opportunity it presents to a dramatically increasing population with an ever increasing need for parkland and open space.
    • first establish a future vision for the optimum 3 separate yet equal purposes
    • then establish both the time frame and steps required to move from the current untenable position to achieve the future vision.

 Encouragingly, although still unable to identify the size and location of the public area included in the SLMP, the context setting presentation for the second consultation (16/9) acknowledged a number of issues raised at first consultation (9/9). Hence, our earlier comment that the second consultation was less controversial than the first. These issues included

  • that development of the SLMP, would be a long, reiterative process and would involve the broader community, not just Glen Eira’s sporting clubs, retirement villages and schools located within 3 km of the Racecourse.
  • retention of all stabling and training facilities located on Reserve land was not a “given” and that initially, consideration would be given to “tweeking” the current training track configuration to increase the public park area.  Later consideration would be given to the removal of training and stabling facilities located on reserve land.
  • that public accessibility and fencing (inner and perimeter) issues would be included in the SLMP.

However, the positive nature of the above was subsequently dampened by Greg Sword’s outline of the deficiencies/dysfunctionalities inherent in the Trust’s structure and the severe impact these have on the Trust’s ability to effectively manage the Reserve.

  • There are 15 Trustees comprising
    • 6 Trustees representing the racing industry. These Trustees are senior executives of the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and in regular contact.
    • 6 Trustees appointed by the State Government, theoretically representing the broader community who may or may not be in regular contact with other trustees. GERA comment – as per the 2008 Select Committee Report these Trustees have a predominantly racing (vs. parkland management) background and know little of the public park purposes.
    • 3 Trustees representing the local community, appointed by the State Government. These trustees are Glen Eira Councillors (Crs. Lipshutz, Hyans and Esakoff) who may not be in regular contact with other trustees.
  • This structure makes it difficult for the Trust to pass any resolution that is not supported by the Melbourne Racing Club Trustees.
  • Therefore, it is unlikely that any SLMP that is “seen” to adversely impact Racing’s use of the Reserve (for racing, training or stabling or non-racing related commercial events) will the approved by the Trust.
  • Revenue received from MRC’s Reserve leases will provide the funding for works included in the Trust’s SLMP.   Even if the currently proposed, highly questionable, annual rental of $1 million, is approved, it will be some time before works will commence.
  • The Trustees have not met since prior to the publication of the Auditor General’s Report and are not scheduled to meet until November.   Trust approval to undertake this current round of consultations was obtained through email contact.
  • The Trust could not comment on Racing’s future plans for the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve (Australian Financial Review, 11/9/2015)  as Racing had not submitted those plans to the Trust.

 While attendees (at both consultations) were left wondering why, one year after the Auditor General’s Report, the State Government has yet to address the Caulfield Racecourse and Recreation Reserve Trust issues, they nevertheless put forward their views on the public facilities required, in the hope that some improvement may eventuate.

Not in any particular order, these views were

  • Facilities to be provided must
    • have broad appeal, providing for all ages, all abilities, both genders and be family friendly.
    • provide for both active and passive park usage
    • have multiple and flexible use surfaces to provide for various sports
    • provide for both organised and informal sporting activities
  • Must be available for night/evening usage. Currently public usage is not permitted after dusk.
  • Ball Sports should be allowed. For example – football, soccer, cricket, hockey, baseball, tennis.
  • Flying of model areoplanes
  • The racecourse proper and training tracks should not be restricted from other uses, eg. joggers, athletics, school athletics.
  • Use of the centre as for commercial/corporate events or as a carpark is not supported.
  • Removal of inner and perimeter fencing.
  • Provision of farm and community gardens
  • Improved access (increased access points and existing access points improved)
  • Provide above ground pedestrian access through “new” Glen Eira Road parkland
  • Reserve’s public park and recreation area and usage to be actively promoted (rather than racecourse usage).

In addition, two further points were emphasised at both consultations

  • The impact of Glen Eira’s limited open space and sporting facilities has on all residents and in particular, the inability of the Glen Eira’s sporting clubs, located within 3 km of the Reserve, to meet membership demand.  So dire is their current need (not to mention the future need from the Caulfield Village, the Monash University expansion and the potential redevelopment of the MRC Freehold land along Kambrook and Booran Roads) for additional facilities that, initially, they were willing “bend” their match and training schedules to accommodate the 27 race meetings per annum and various commercial activities.
  • Do something now!!   With minimal effort and cost,
    • at least 2-3 sporting grounds can be accommodated within the current public usage area
    • improved public access and park promotion could be provided via the replacement of the solid perimeter fencing with open palisade fencing (with additional gates) along Glen Huntly Park and Queens Avenue.

Caulfield Racecourse Reserve – Opportunity for Change

For those of you not aware, the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trustees are preparing a “Strategic Land Management Plan for the racetrack and inner landscape portion of the Caulfield Racecourse” and are holding two community consultations which “will be an important part of “developing an overall vision and rationale for the Masterplan”

The notice appears on their recently revived website

Consultation details provided are

Glen Huntly Road Park Function Room (Corner Neerim and Booran Roads, Glen Huntly)

Wednesday 9th September 2015    7.00-9.00pm
Wednesday 16th September 2015  7.00-9.00pm

We urge residents to attend the community consultation sessions to express their views to the Trustees and to lodge written submissions with the Landscape Architects assisting the Trust’s development of the Strategic Land Management Plan.  Submissions should be lodged by Friday, 2nd October, 2015.  Download Trustee provided Submission lodgement details and sample questions

This is a unique opportunity that could bring about significant change.

The consultation arises from the September, 2015 Auditor General’s Performance Audit Report that was extremely critical of Trustee’s management of the reserve that had allowed racing to dominate the Reserve, exclude the public and become the public face of the Reserve. A reserve that was set aside by an 1858 Crown Grant, enacted in 1875, for three separate yet equal purposes, i.e. racecourse, public park and public recreation ground.

The end result of this mismanagement (both by the Trustees and State Government) is graphically and simply illustrated in the AG’s Report via an analysis of the usage areas with the Reserve.  Of the Reserve’s 54ha (valued at $2bn)

  • 11 hectares (20%) is under lease, from the Trust, for racing purposes (with Trust leasing income being at a “peppercorn rate” (ie. $170K pa) which is generally returned to the racing industry for racing related projects and
  • 37 hectares (69%) is used for racing purposes without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement*, and
  • only 6 hectares (11%) is available as open space for the potential use of the community.   Such a basic inequity in reserve usage is further exacerbated by the AG’s comments that the 6 ha comprises facilities, which although recently upgraded (in 2011 as a Ministerial condition of the ”Triangle Landswap”), that do not adequately meet the needs of community, are not easy to physically access and are subject to restricted usage times (not available on race or major event days, other days 9.45 a.m. to dusk).  On the other hand, such accessibility issues and time restrictions are not applicable to racing’s usage.

* In 1876, at the first Trustee’s meeting, the centre of the racecourse (also known as the “Flats”) was set aside for public usage. Within the context of the current racecourse, that area is estimated to be 25ha (since specific measurements are not publicly available, this “guesstimate” was provided by a surveyor) and comprises approximately half of the 37 ha (25ha – 6 ha = 19ha) used by racing without any legal entitlement or payment.   In terms of the “Flats” it has been consumed by training tracks (a clearly commercial activity, that is not essential to a racecourse) or in the case of 1.1 ha “Car Boot Village” which the 2011 landscaping plan identified as unrestricted public access area, has since been designated a restricted public access area.  While no rationale for re-designation is publicly available, a recent planning permit application noted that the “Car Boot Village” area has permits for future commercial activities.  These permits provide for the temporary installation of  private function facilities (ie. marquees, liquor service and toilet facilities) until 1 a.m.  365 days p.a. in the “Car Boot Village” area.

2011 Landscaping

Clearly, this inequitable distribution should be addressed, particularly in the light of the size of the land and it’s potential to meet the open space demands (especially for active sports) of the intensive developments in the surrounding area, ie.

  • Within Glen Eira (the least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne)
    • Caulfield Village Development – 2000+ dwellings
    • Monash University – currently 10,000 EFS (effective full-time students) to increase to 25,000 EFS and increased provision of student housing.
  • Within Stonnington (the second least per capita open space in Metro Melbourne)
    • 18 storey residential tower – Cnr. Tooronga and Dandenong Roads
    • 4-6 storey developments along Dandenong Road between Tooronga and Grange Roads

While GERA welcomes this initiative of the Trustees which, we have been advised will review usage of the entire (54 ha) reserve, we also have serious concerns re reports that racing is proposing night races which,

  • as per racing media reports will generate significant live broadcasting rights revenue from Asia and the Middle East but
  • does little for evening public park and recreation ground usage and also begs the question of why current public access to the reserve is not permitted after dusk whereas paid patrons are.

This is a unique opportunity that could bring about significant change and residents are urged to attend and views to the Trustees.

As, included in some of our previous posts, the following provides “food for thought”

In 1884, 9 years after the Restricted Crown Grant was formally enacted, a deputation from the Victorian Amateur Turf Club (VATC) was made to the Minister of Lands (Mr. Tucker) requesting Reserve management be transferred to the Club.

Mr. Tucker       “… to agree to the proposal of the club would be to limit to some extent the right of the public to use the ground for the purposes for which it was originally reserved – namely, for recreation and a public park. … The vicinity of the Caulfield Racecourse would no doubt soon be thickly populated, and the value of the reserve to the public would then be widely enhanced”.

 VATC                         “… permission might be granted to the public to go on the reserve”

 Mr. Tucker       “… thought the public ought not to have to ask for permission to go on a public reserve”.

Source: The Argus, 16/8/1884

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EXTENDED LIQUOR LICENCE AND OUTDOOR CINEMA – CAULFIELD RACECOURSE RESERVE

UPDATE

PLANNING CONFERENCE – 5/2/2015

The following is a summary of the Planning Conference, chaired by Cr. Delahunty, for the Outdoor Cinema Planning Permit Application

  • The Extended Liquor Licence, attached as supporting documentation, is a copy of the MRC’s existing Liquor Licence.   The area for the Outdoor Cinema (Area 1 in the below posting) was stated (by the MRC representative) as being within MRC’s existing lease agreements, however, no statement was made on the leasing agreement status of the Car Boot Village Precinct (Area 2 in the below posting).
  • Council was requested to confirm that the Outdoor Cinema Area is within the existing lease agreements and that Trustee Approval for the Cinema has been obtained.
  • All facilities (ie screen, toilets, food and beverage services) associated with the Outdoor Cinema will be temporary in nature.
  • The permit closing time of 1 a.m. provides for cleaning and clearing of the Outdoor Cinema area to occur immediately after the departure of Cinema patrons.
  • Despite resident attendees raising the issues outlined in the below posting, immediately after formally closing the planning conference, Cr. Delahunty informally commented that the permit application would be granted for the full 365 days.

27/1/2015 – The DPC Hearing scheduled for this Thursday (29/1/2015) has been cancelled and is to be replaced with a more appropriate decision making process that involves Councillors and a Council Meeting decision. The  Hearing is to be replaced with a Planning Conference (5/2/2015 @ 6.30 p.m. – Glen Eira Town Hall, Caulfield Cup Room).  As per our previous advice – Council’s policy is to accept and consider all objections received up until the Committee Hearing or Planning Conference (now 5/2/2015), hence residents wishing to object can still do so.

22/1/015 – Delegated Planning Committee (DPC) Hearing to be held on 29/1/2015 at 1.30 p.m.    Council’s policy is to accept all objections received up until the Committee Hearing or Planning Conference, hence residents wishing to object can still do so.

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Residents should be extremely concerned about the recent planning permit application signs placed around the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve (CRR) prior to the Christmas/New Year break. Despite the strong criticism, of both the Trustees’ management of the Reserve and the oversight of the Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI), contained in the September, 2014 Auditor General’s Performance Audit of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve, it appears that the racing industry is seeking to expand its use of the reserve for commercial activities.

The Planning Permit Application (GE/PP-27172/2014) is for “Use of land for a Place of Assembly (Outdoor Cinema)”.

 

  • The Outdoor Cinema does not, as many may have assumed, use the recently approved “$4m Electronic Screen”  permanently located in front of the Grandstand (S). It is a separate mobile facility which will be located between the course proper and the Administration Building (Area 1).
  • Includes an application for an extended liquor license applicable to both the outdoor cinema (Area 1) and the Car Boot Village area within the centre of the Racecourse (Area 2).

As per the information outlined below, both the Outdoor Cinema and liquor license will/may operate 365 days per year until 1 a.m. and will involve permanent or temporary installation of service facilities.

 AUDITOR GENERAL PERFORMANCE AUDIT SUMMARY

  • The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve comprises some 54 hectares of Crown Land created by a Crown Grant in 1858 for three separate yet equal purposes – racecourse, public park (passive usage) and public recreation ground (active usage). Over the years, various subsequent Acts of Parliament have re-iterated and re-enforced these three purposes and their equality.
  • Management of the reserve in accordance with the above three purposes has been provided by a Board of Trustees comprising 6 representatives nominated by the DEPI, 6 representatives nominated by the MRC and 3 nominated incumbent Councillors. The DEPI is entrusted with overseeing the Trustees management of the reserve in accordance with the three separate yet equal purposes.
  • “Historically, the trust’s decisions have disproportionately favoured racing interests with insufficient attention paid to fulfilling the community-related purposes of the reserve.

Of the approximate 54 hectares of land at the reserve:

  • 11 hectares – approximately 20 per cent – is under lease to MRC—the grandstand, Neerim Road Stables and Western Stables
  • 37 hectares – approximately 69 per cent – is used by MRC without any clear legal entitlement or payment arrangement
  • the remaining 6 hectares – approximately 11 per cent – is open space for the potential use by the community during prescribed hours.

As a result, the amount of space available for the community is limited and does not equitably meet the community-related purposes in the Crown grant.”

 ie public park purpose is 67% vs. public access area of 11% (6 ha) whereas the racecourse purpose is 33% vs. racing usage area of 89% (48ha of which 11 ha is leased and 37 ha without apparent entitlement or  payment or publicly available justification)

 “Despite a reported $1.8 million upgrade to the centre of the reserve, public space within the reserve is limited, unwelcoming,  not easy to reach and the recreational facilities are limited.”

 PLANNING PERMIT APPLICATION DETAILS

Extended Liquor Licence ApplicationApplicant: Victorian Amateur Turf Club (VATC) for the “supply of liquor in the course of catering for events, social receptions or social functions in premises other than the licensed premises during trading hours”.

  • “Premises other than licensed premises” being the referenced lawn areas numbered above
    • Between the Racecourse proper and the Administration Building and the Black Caviar Pavilion (Area 1)
    • The Car Boot Village Area (Area 2 – estimated to be 1.1 ha) which although designated a public access area during the 2011 landscaping has, without any publicly available justification, since been designated a restricted area.
  • “Licensed Premises” being as per existing liquor license/s
    • Grandstand/Function Centre Complex – lease under review
    • Glasshouse Restaurant, Café, Bar and Tabaret – lease under review
    • Black Caviar Pavilion – no lease agreement                       
  • Temporary and/or permanent bar facilities will be located in both areas 1 & 2.
  • Trading Hours will be
    • Good Friday and Anzac Days – between 12 noon and 1 a.m.
    • On any other day – between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m.

Place of Assembly (Outdoor Cinema) ApplicationApplicant: Melbourne Racing Club (MRC)

  • Cinema use will be primarily between November – March with an option to extend this usage throughout the year. No indication is given of expected weekly or daily usage (eg. weekends only, 7 days per week).
  • Sessions will run from dusk to 1 a.m.
  • Expected average attendance is 500 patrons per session with car parking being provided via the Guineas Carpark (500 spaces) which is greater than the car parking requirements for Places of Assembly (0.3 car spaces per patron = 150 car parking spaces). Since the Guineas Car Park is also expected to provide parking for the patrons and visitors of the Caulfield Village Development, any overflow car parking requirements are to be serviced by the MRC’s numerous other car parks.
  • The 7m high x 11m long Movie Screen will be mobile (ie. located on flat bed truck)
  • Cinema activities will be fully contained between Racecourse Proper and the Administration Building (Area 1). Food and beverages will be available from the Black Caviar Pavilion and may also be brought in by patrons.
  • Toilet and other facilities are available nearby on the course and will prominently signed.
  • A localised audio system will be used within EPA guidelines.
  • Lighting of the area will be necessary for safety requirements, however, the screen will be the primary light source.

 Justification for the Cinema Proposal – Prepared by Beveridge Williams on behalf of the MRC.

  • “The proposed use offers a unique entertainment experience in proximity to complementary enterprises such as dining and food outlets within the Phoenix Precinct Area
  • “Access to parking at the Racecourse is available with minimal impact to the Community”
  • “The proposed outdoor cinema makes use of an entertainment facility that would otherwise lie idle during the proposed hours of operation”
  • The proposed outdoor cinema is to be located in the northern part of the Racecourse. This location has been chosen for various reasons including
    • Proximity to the Guineas Car Park
    • Ability to locate the screen in an optimal viewing area
    • Ability to locate temporary food selling facilities nearby
    • View of the racecourse afforded to visitors.
  • The MRC has received the approval of the public land manager of the Reserve.

GERA’s CONCERNS

  • The statement that the public land manager has approved the proposed outdoor cinema is not supported by documentation attached to the application.TheDEPI letter, dated 1/9/2014, rather than giving approval, outlines the conditions required for approval. These conditions being
    • A lease agreement being in place
    • That the outdoor cinema is within the lease area
    • That the approval of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust (CRRT) has been obtained.

No documentation re a lease agreement or approval of the CRRT has been provided.

  • Details of the application for the Extended Liquor License are presented “in support” of the Outdoor Cinema application yet is not specifically mentioned in that application. Surely, it should be part of the application and be supported by explicit approvals of the DEPI and Trustees. No documentation re a lease agreement or CRRT approval has been provided.
  • Provision of Car Parking – It is proposed that cinema (and presumably Car Boot Village Functions) car parking will be provided by the Guineas Car Park (500 spaces) which exceeds the specified requirement of 3 car spaces per patron = 150 car parking spaces. The report mentions the Guineas Car Park will also be used by Caulfield Village residents, visitors and patrons. However, it does not mention that the Guineas Car Park will also be used for events held in the Grandstand/Function Complex and the Car Boot Village Area and by Glass House Tabaret patrons. No analysis of car parking demand has been presented in support of the comments that any overflow car parking requirements are to be serviced by the MRC’s numerous other car parks” and that there will be “minimal impact to the Community”.
  • The comment that “The proposed outdoor cinema makes use of an entertainment facility that would otherwise lie idle during the proposed hours of operation” does not address the issue of inequitable parkland usage. Unlike other public parks, public access to both the Outdoor Cinema area and the Car Boot Village areas are currently permitted between 9.45 a.m. and dusk – ergo those facilities are idle because the public is denied access. It also begs the question of why public park usage is not permitted between 7.00 a.m. and 1 a.m. yet commercial activities, accompanied by liquor service, is permitted.
  • Insufficient information provided on the installation of “temporary and/or permanent facilities” bar service facilities to be located within Outdoor Cinema and the Car Boot Village area.   No other information is provided and without additional information it is impossible to make an assessment – any decision made will provide full discretionary authority or a carte blanche to the MRC and VATC which will be extremely difficult to modify.

Given our above comments on the application itself, GERA believes that the application as presented should not be approved as

  • the application (Outdoor Cinema and Liquor License) disproportionately favours racing usage of the reserve (for commercial activities) at the expense of the public park usage.
  • does not include appropriate land manager approvals
  • lacks details on what is being requested and
  • does not provide adequate assessments on parking issues or amenity impacts (park users, current and future residents)

In addition when viewed in the context of the

  • Unresolved issues on the CRRT management of the Reserve raised by the Auditor General
  • The current unresolved leasing issues between the MRC and the Trustees
  • The newly elected governments decision to review the management structure of the reserve

GERA believes it is inappropriate for Council to make a decision on the application and the application should be held in abeyance until formal unconditional approval is provided by the DEPI and CRRT.

NEIGHBOURHOOD RESIDENTIAL ZONES – CERTAINTY?

Readers may or may not be aware of the spike in multi-unit, 3 & 4 storey planning applications in the areas designated as growth zones* (ie. former Housing Diversity Areas).   GERA’s previous postings (“Enough is Enough” Part 1 and Part 2) highlighted residents’ concerns re developments in Mavho and Loranne Streets in Bentleigh.   GERA is now receiving requests for objection preparation assistance from growth zone residents in all suburbs within the municipality. In all cases the development is seeking the maximum building envelope allowable (i.e. height, site coverage) with little regard for neighbourhood character.   Growth zone residents are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticisms of Council’s zone implementation (lack of consultation and information) and Councillors’ responses to their concerns related to specific planning permit applications.

Compared to the outcry occurring in the growth zones, the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (ie. NRZ1 – the former Minimal Change Areas or Residential 1 zone) has remained relatively quiet. However, that may change as NRZ residents begin to question the “certainty” and “protection” included in the Media Releases issued by the State Government’s Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) and Glen Eira Council

  • Minister for Planning – 5/8/2013

“The Neighborhood Residential Zone will apply to nearly 80% of residential zoned land in the City of Glen Eira. These areas will be protected from apartment and unit style development with a maximum of only two homes permitted per lot with a two storey (eight metre) height limit.”

  • Glen Eira Council – 5/8/2013

“In the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, in addition to the new maximum 2 storey height limit, neighbourhood character will be further protected by a limit of not more than two dwellings per lot, site coverage limited to 50%, porous area to be at least 25%, private open space to be at least 60 square metres and a rear set back of at least 4 metres. This will allow more room for canopy trees and less run off into storm water.”

 Both media releases omitted to mention the impact of subdivision although that impact was known to both parties prior to zone implementation. As per the following notes of meetings between the DPCD and Council

  • April, 2013 (Glen Eira Council Director of Planning Akehurst named, other GEC attendees names redacted) – “subdivision may be a work around in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to allow more than 2 dwellings on a lot”
  • July 2013 – (Glen Eira Council Attendees – CEO Newton, Director of Planning Akehurst and then Mayor Jamie Hyams) – “Council believe that subdivision prior to unit development is the way around the maximum 2 dwelling within the NRZ”.

Use of subdivision is a legitimate and accepted means of dividing a one lot into 2 or more smaller lots for purposes of sale or development. While residents of middle ring suburbs may be accustomed to subdivision occurring post construction (ie. creation of strata tiles for multi-unit, multi-storey developments), it may also occur prior to construction (eg. for financing or other purposes) to increase a lots dwelling yield.

To achieve the levels of “certainty” and “protection” outlined in the Media Releases, Glen Eira’s zone implementation should have not only included height limits and the maximum no. of dwellings per lot in the mandatory zone definition but also minimum lot size.   Many other Councils have specified a minimum lot size or a minimum lot size range (eg. 250 – 400 sqm).   However, rather than specifying a minimum lot size Glen Eira has retained the previously existing criteria – if a lot size is larger than average (average determined as being the average lot size of the immediate surrounding properties). While this may have been effective in past, is expected to become much less effective in the future as more and more “immediate surrounding properties” are subdivided.   The Financial Review recently (5/9/2014) published an article entitled “Property Strategy: Subdivide and Conquer” on this issue.

In addition, to the known subdivision issue, Council’s implementation of the zones overlooked the implications for large lots (a.k.a “super lots”, lots equal to or greater than 2000 sqm).   To overcome this oversight, in December, 2013, Councillors unanimously approved preparation of Planning Scheme Amendment C115  for large lots within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. This amendment would have introduced a minimum lot size of 400 sqm for the 104 properties** within the NRZ that are greater than 2000 sqm. (Some of these lots are 8000 sqm). As stated in the report recommending preparation of the C115 Amendment, the amendment was proposed in response to pressures from developers and the realization that rather than subdivide, the developers preferred to seek spot Ministerial intervention to re-zone the super lots to General Residential Zone (3 storey, multi-unit developments). Such an intervention having been achieved by the developer of the Alma Club (7,100 sqm) which Council acknowledges as not noticed prior to the zone implementation.

To avoid spot interventions (ie. retain a level of “certainty” and “protection”) and thus ensure large lot developments in keeping with the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, GERA supported preparation of Amendment C115.   GERA believed the introduction of minimum lots sizes

  • was a reasonable solution to Council failing to recognise the 2 dwelling per lot issue for large lots prior to zone implementation. GERA doubts any resident would agree that “super lots” should be constrained to the 2 dwelling ruling.
  • may set a minimum lot size precedent for the NRZ which would be applied to all subdivisions in that zone. Within the NRZ there are many, many existing lots in the 800 – 1999 sqm range that are may be subdivided to increase their dwelling yield.

Since Amendment C115 has not been submitted for community consultation, a public question on it’s progress was asked at the 12/08/2013 Council Meeting

  • Question

In December last year, Council resolved to seek Ministerial approval to exhibit Amendment C115. Why has there been no reference to this in Council’s Quarterly Reports and what is the current position of this Amendment?”

  • Response

Amendment C115 concerns large lots (greater than 2,000m2) located within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. The aim of the amendment is to increase the number of dwellings beyond 2 which would be the maximum number for a large lot zoned Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ). Council cannot exhibit the amendment until authorisation is obtained from the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (Minister).

 Authorisation has to date not been forthcoming on the basis that each large lot should have a stipulation as to how many dwellings will be allowed. This approach is not supported by Council officers as it would prejudge a dwelling yield in the absence of a specific development plan.”

 The above response, indicates that

  • The authorisation to prepare Amendment C115 for ministerial approval to submit for consultation was undertaken without advice from the Minister. Council officers and the Minister disagree on the solution and the Amendment has stalled. No advice was given on the pro’s and con’s of either solution.
  • Council’s preferred approach is for the developer to prepare a subdivision plan for each of the “super lots” as and when development is imminent.
  • Subdivision prior to development remains a “way around the maximum 2 dwelling within the NRZ” regardless of the size of the lot.

At the last Council Meeting (02/09/2014)  a subdivision plan, combined with building envelopes, was approved for the “super lot” located at 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena (3,142 sqm).

Readers may remember that GERA lobbied Council,  in December, 2012, to acquire this a cleared lot, adjacent to the existing the Riley Reserve, which would have substantially increased (60%) Riley Reserve and increased Glen Eira’s very limited parkland.

487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeenaa

Unfortunately, although a unique opportunity, Council did not acquire the property either in 2012 when it was sold to a developer ($2.7m) or in 2013, when it was on-sold for development (amount unknown). A previously VCAT issued planning permit for the site (“three (3) storey apartment building containing 28 dwellings above basement parking”) had lapsed prior to the 2012 sale and a “new” planning permit application had not been submitted prior the 2013 sale.

As previously mentioned, at it’s last meeting (02/09/2014) Council approved a planning permit application (No. GE/PP-26552/2014) for 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena. The permit comprised

  • A 7 lot subdivision of the site and
  • Planning approval of “building envelopes” (i.e. high level plans) for 7 two storey residences (one per subdivided lot).

The Officer’s Report reports the application “yields a density of approximately 1 dwelling per 448 square metres of site area”. However, residents should not confuse density yield with lot sizes. The density yield of 448 sqm is the result of a dividing the total lot size (given in the Report as 3138 sqm) with the number of dwellings. The actual lot sizes are much smaller than the density yield.

The lot sizes are

  • Lot 1 is 304 square metres
  • Lots 2-7 (inclusive) range in size from 199 square metres to 238 square metres

 487 Neerim Road Subdivision Plan Boundaries0001

The lots design (their location around the site perimeters abutting residential properties and the railway line) and their sizes being in line with the “constraints presented by the site”.  The constraints being the provision of pedestrian and vehicular access to the lots (to and from Neerim Road) and “significant trees located on the site”. Both the access to/from Neerim Road and the significant trees will be considered as located on “common property”

The Officers Report states that “The application is not a development application for multi-dwellings. The subdivision includes building envelopes for seven (7) future double storey dwellings”.   However, GERA is struggling to see why a subdivision plan for 7 lots and 7 building envelopes (which define building heights, foot prints and setbacks) should not be considered as a development application for multi-unit dwellings.  Residents future rights to lodge objections as more detailed plans become available may be curtailed (as with the Caulfield Village Development) because building heights, footprints and setbacks have already been approved.

As previously mentioned GERA believes NRZ residents will soon be questioning

  • the levels of “certainty” and “protection” the zoning provides, particularly with regards the known subdivision issue,
  • a potential minimum lot size precedent being set by the 497 Neerim Road permit approval.   With a 200 sqm lot size, it is possible to design a 2 storey single residence that satisfies the NRZ1 requirements for private open space, set backs, permeable surfaces etc.   In terms of a “super lot”, vehicle and pedestrian access  provisions will primarily determine how many 200 sqm lots with 2 storey residences can be accommodated on the site.  In terms of a medium lot of, say, 1000 sqm, subdivision (even allowing for provision of vehicle and pedestrian access) may will yield 4 individual strata title 2 storey dwellings where one previously existed.+
  • their rights to object to developments when building heights, footprints and setbacks have previously been approved.   Regardless of what it is called (eg “Incorporated Plan” or a “Building Envelope”), if followed by a more detailed plans (eg. ”Development Plan”) as the objectors to the Caulfield Village/C60 Development Plans were informed

“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”++

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Footnotes

* Growth Zones and Heights – refer are earlier post for brief details on permissible uses and detailed zone maps

RGZ                Residential Growth Zone – Height Limit 13.5m (4 stories)

GRZ                General Residential Zone – Height Limit 10.5m (3 stories)

 

** “Super lots” – The Officers Report did not include any details (eg. ownership, location, size) of the 104 “super lots”, nor did the Report indicate if Council was considering lodging a Parkland Acquisition Overlay on any or each of the properties.

Errata – 24/9/2014

+ and ++ = clarification added to initial posting as requested by residents

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.

OPEN SPACE INCREASE ???

GERA had hoped that our first posting for 2014 would include the details of 11.9 ha (119,000 sqm) increase in Glen Eira’s open space provisions between the 2013 Draft Open Space Strategy (172.9 ha) and the 1998 Open Space Strategy (161 ha) as mentioned in our previous posting.  Unfortunately we are unable to do so.   Although Council confirmed (emailed 23rd December, 2013) that most of the 11.9 ha (119,000sqm) was attributable to “definitional changes”, Council’s response did not include the details of the “definitional differences” and Council has yet to respond to GERA’s follow-up emails  (9/1/2014, 23/1/2014 and 3/2/2014).

Council’s response indicates, that aside from the 2011 purchase of 2 lots abutting Packer Park ($1.9m – no sqm provided) Council has not actively pursued purchasing additional open space as suggested in the 1998 Strategy. Instead the most significant and “real” additional open space increase over the past 15 years has come from grants of land management from the State Government.  As per the 2013 Strategy these land management grants comprise 3.94 ha (39,400 sqm) and consist of the Mallanbool Reserve (2.21 ha – an excellent park but a questionable inclusion in the 2013 Strategy, refer below) and the Booran Road Reservoir (1.73 ha).

Council’s response (download full extract – 23rd December, 2013) includes the following

GERA is “correct in identifying ‘definitional differences’ between the current draft Strategy and the Open Space Long Term Strategy 1998. … there are clear differences in the definition of open space between the two documents. From these definitions is can be deduced that the 1998 strategy did not include Council leased facilities such as tennis courts, bowls clubs and croquet, etc.”

While GERA is awaiting Council’s definition of “leased facilities”,  the exclusion of “allow public access for outdoor recreational use” from the 2013 Open Space definition enables the inclusion of facilities with restricted access to be counted as Open Space. Please note that GERA is not questioning the significant contribution “tennis courts, bowls clubs and croquet, etc.” make to the health and wellbeing of the community nor do we question Council’s role in providing these facilities per se. What we do question, however, is their inclusion without identification or quantification (hectares/sqm) while Council’s justifies the exclusion of the centre of the Caulfield Racecourse from the strategy due to restricted access.

Similarly, GERA is also questioning 2013 Open Space definition including “larger urban and civic spaces and forecourts” and the extent to which this provides for the inclusion of pavilions and car parking.

• “The list of open space sites presented in the 1998 Open Space Long Term Strategy does not include Mallanbool Reserve, Daly Street Mall or Booran Road Reservoir, nor were some minor locations included, however, they are just as legitimate and valued”

The Mallanbool Reserve, Glen Eira’s “newest” reserve, was  originally part of the Murrumbeena Secondary School that was also part of Melbourne’s storm water drain overflow network. A condition of the mid 1990s sale of the school for residential development was that this land would be retained as a stormwater overflow facility and be managed by Council. GERA’s earlier questioning of the Reserve’s inclusion as additional parkland in 2013 strategy arises from the following 1998 Open Space Strategy action item:

“Continue to pursue the “decontamination” of the northern section of the former Murrumbeena Secondary School site to create a recreational link between Packer Reserve and Duncan MacKinnon Reserve. Develop this link with native vegetation and a sealed path with exercise equipment”

Such an action item and the 1998 open space definition suggests that the site was, or should have been, included in the 1998 Strategy even though landscaping and rehabilitation works were not yet completed (circa 2006 – making the “newest” reserve/park approx. 8 years old).

The Booran Road Reservoir (also known as the Glen Huntly Reservoir), as per our earlier post was first proposed to be given to Council late 1990s.   Although Council held it’s first community consultation in 2008 (at which the residents overwhelmingly voted for retain and convert the site to passive parkland rather than sell the site for development), the wheels of government move slowly and the reservoir was not officially placed under Council’s management until 2010. At the second community consultation in June, 2012 (residents again overwhelmingly voted for conversion to passive parkland rather than active or mixed use parkland), Council stated that “Council has budgeted for work to commence on the park in 2016/17 and would be completed in 2018/19”. The 2013 Strategic Resources Plan decision to “From July, 2013, 100% of Public Open Space contributions (a.k.a Open Space Levy or Revenue) will be allocated to acquisition or improvement of additional open space (including the Reservoir), not pre-existing open space” and resulted in the reservoir’s rehabilitation works commencement and completion dates being brought forward by 1-2 years (ie. commencement 2015/16 – $5m, completion 2016/17 – $4.5m).

While GERA welcomes bringing the park conversion forward, we are concerned that rather than funding the already budgeted rehabilitation works from Council revenue, the Open Space Contribution revenue will reserved to fund the reservoir rehabilitation works, rather than being held in reserve to take advantage of unplanned opportunities to purchase additional open space (eg. 2012 Alma Club, Caulfield North – 0.71 ha, 7,100 sqm; or in 2012 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena 0.3 ha, 3,142 sqm) which would have doubled the size of the existing Riley Reserve).  Not actively pursuing additional open space opportunities via purchase (as well as government land grants) will be to the detriment of current and future residents as increased development intensity results in reduced private open space and a significantly increased demand on Glen Eira’s well documented, currently inadequate open space.

Minor locations …. just as legitimate and valued

Small Park Composite T

While GERA accepts that these legitimate and valued minor locations have the potential to become “pocket parks” it is unfortunate that Council appears to have down little increase their appeal to residents.

   “A detailed inventory of the existing open space is included in section 6 of the current draft strategy.  A comparison of this information with the 1998 Strategy … will provide the information sought”

 GERA is aware that Section 6 of the 2013 Draft Open Space Strategy includes a locality based listing of open space included in the strategy and is willing to follow the Director of Community Relations suggestion of undertaking a D.I.Y. reconciliation of the 1998 vs. the 2013 strategy.  However, we are unable to do so.    Although the 1998 strategy references “Working Paper C – Public Open Space Inventory” and “Inventory of Buildings within Open Space Areas” these documents were/are not included in the documentation made available to residents.

 As mentioned above, GERA has previously requested this information on 3/12/2014 ( with follow up 9/1/2014, 23/1/2014 and 3/2/2014) Council’s analysis or the details that would enable us to undertake our own analysis.

At the time of posting GERA is awaiting Council’s Response.

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Open Space Definitions

The 1998 strategy (page 6) states Glen Eira has “over 60 individual parks and gardens comprising 161 ha of open space, 4.2% of the total municipal area” with the term “open space” being defined as including “ ‘public’ open space, which includes all areas owned by Council and other Government agencies that allow public access for outdoor recreational use.  This includes all parks, reserves, gardens and structured outdoor areas such as sports fields that provide outdoor leisure use for the community”.

 where as

The 2013 Draft Open Space Strategy (page 3) states Glen Eira has “70 open space reserves, 172.9 hectares of open space, 4.5 per cent of the total municipal area is open space (excluding Caulfield Racecourse Reserve) with the term open space being defined as “the publicly owned land that is currently set aside, or has the potential in the future to be set aside primarily for recreation, nature conservation and passive outdoor enjoyment. This includes parks, reserves, gardens, larger urban and civic spaces and forecourts”.