Dear DADA Folk,
We met last week and discussed all manner of things. The notes are attached.
Also attached is a the Practice Note 63 that details how council and VCAT Members should consider the number of objectors. Bottom of page one indicates a loophole for council and VCAT. It is up to us to urge, on each case, that it is appropriate to consider the numbers of objectors and detail the significant social effect.
The third attachment is a new study that reinforces what we have been saying at DADA forever; a warning that we will not have enough separate family housing by 2022 if we do not something to redress the shortfall now.
Our Protect Plenty Road Petition reached 101 signatures this week. If you have not yet signed to help the folk who live on Plenty Road and who suffer less protection from over-development than does anybody else in Darebin, please do so via the DADA website; https://www.darebinada.org/campaigns/petition-protect-plenty-road
Darebin Appropriate Development Association
Present: Marion Coffey, Keith Coffey, Chris Erlandsen, Sally Mendes, Maria Poletti, Meryl Waugh, Mara Marfin, Mandy Baird Apologies: Craig Walters, Stewart Midgley
1. Business Arising:
a. Council flooded with planning applications; Action: Nola sending a further letter asking for some clarification of money collected and spent. Action: Maria to seek out FOI process.
b. Discussed other city councils plan for buying up houses to eventually convert into public open space. Action: Maria to do more research to bring back to the meeting. Stonnington Council
c. 748 to 750 Plenty Road, 4 stories, 22 apartments with some at 40 square metres. Action: Mandy to keep an eye on it.
d. Community Consultation in the development process – are there any precedents for making this compulsory? Kelly suggested a community consultation process where developers have to meet with the community in consultation before the planning application is submitted. Action: Kelly and Maria to work on basics of a community consultation process to bring back to meeting and to go to council.
e. What to do about the 470 High Street development – while it’s still going through the approvals process, workmen have been on-site undertaking preliminary works (are any developments fully stopped?) on an assessment of compaction. In mediation, last month, Action: Kelly to follow up with council planner on the mediation outcome.
f. 672 Plenty Road, revised plans adding a story making it 4 at front, 5 at back, Action: Mandy and neighbours will send new objections on the amended plans.
g. Reply from the Minister’s office to Mandy’s emailed letter circulated and discussed Action: Mandy to reply in disgust to how condescending and deflective it is.
h. Discussed standing orders. Action: Craig to talk to Trent about the best way to get something like standing orders on all decisions so we can have more transparency on how councilors vote.
i. 13 Brown Street, demolished house, worried about asbestos. Also concern that work has started without planning permission. Action: Craig to ask council if they have a planning application and do they know the development has begun.
j. C136 and C137 and Plenty Road Petition. Action: DADA folk will be emailed link and asked to support. Done
k. Follow-up with Robin Scott’s office. Maria called back and spoke to Robin’s assistant but there was nothing new. Action: Maria to call and ask to speak to Robin or for him to call back.
l. Data collection on voting at Planning Meetings Action: Maria can flag on the blog that we are collecting data and will publish before election time. Done. Well done Mandy and thank you. Please continue to collect data until June next year and crunch the figures on councilor voting.
m. Room Rental: In Darebin when looking for a rental it has become very hard to find anything other than a room in a house rather than the whole house. Not as big as rooming house so different legislation and protection. Action: Sally to find more details so that we can develop strategies. Sally went to a housing think tank who doa lot of research on housing but who had nothing on room rental as opossed to house rental. We know that real estate agents are renting seperate rooms in houses. Sallyis going to follow up with questions to council and to the think tank for research. The impact for development may be that bigger numbers of bedrooms may be built with this in mind but not for families. She will keep giving us updates
n. 584 Plenty Road, Taken away ‘for sale’ signs and replaced with ‘for lease’ signs. Chris made a complaint to the enforcement team about the solar hot water services added on the roof because they were not included in the approved plans. Poor on updates promised but eventually there was the following reply. At this stage the objection will be sent to the developer who will probably apply for a variation. Discussed asking for a report on what variations have been granted by council officers in the last 12 months. Action: Question to council: How many variations to approved plans have been granted in the last 12 months? How can planning officers approve variations without the application going back to objectors? Chris to ask question at next council meeting and will ask specifically about his example. Maria and Sally to attend. Done: At the council meeting Chris asked a question and had a very unsatisfactory response from the mayor. The enforcement officer said that the developer will apply for a retrospective variation. 510 variations have been approved in the last 12 months. It equates to a loop hole for developers how can build what they like and then seek approval. Follow up Action: Chris will follow up checking the mandatory height and ask questions of the new mayor.
o. Discussion of lot consolidated sites over 1000 square metres or 1200 square metres. Also the interface is a concern that it isn’t integrated.
Action: Craig to ask D Rudd about footprint on consolidated blocks and the status of garage
2. New Business:
a. Fiona Richardson meeting report and letter to the Minister which was circulated to DADA Folk on 29th October. Met with Fiona who said she would write to Minister. Copy of letter forwarded to the DADA network. Discussed responding to Fiona and asking if she knew that council already had a letter that Wynne had rejected C152 when we met and reinforce that we are very disappointed with the Minister’s rejection. Makes the meeting a bit of a joke of our meeting. Thank her for the letter to Wynne, encourage her to support our call for the rejection of C137.
b. From SOS; see attached document. Action: Maria
c. Planning and Environment Amendment (Recognising Objectors) Act 2015
Follow the link; http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/284841/AN63-Planning-and-Environment-Amendment-Recognising-Objectors-Act-2015_Oct-2015.pdf (also attached) Action: Maria to talk to Robert Phillips about briefing both councilors and planning reps at VCAT.
d. Ideas for the Your Community, Your Council consultation; Has prompting questions about how to answer under each area and there is much reading of documents relating to each key area.
Some ideas discussed. Fixed term for councilors, like senate have half go out each election; automatic disclosure of election funding; targets and quotes to ensure adequate representation of the community; no councilor can be mayor or deputy mayor more than once; a decent remuneration so that they can be full time as councilor and focus on the job; Mayor can do hiring and firing and be above the CEO.
e. Vague Objection list, suggestion that visitor parking waiver leaves no space for first responders. Action: Maria to add to Vague Objection list. Done
a. Article in The Age, Thursday October 29th about the 2 levels of a 3 level underground car park on the approved plans not built in a development in the CBD.
b. Harrison Tippet rang for a quote for The Leader article, 10th October, regarding the rescind of the rescind of C136.
c. Livability, Preston comes in a 96 of the top 100. Saturday Age November 7th. Key ratings included accessibility and accessibility of internet, parks, public transport, retail, proximity to city, beaches, bus routes.
d. Councils wise up to the health benefits of leafy streets. Something we have been arguing with council about.
e. Barry Plant, leaflet drop, 40 sales in July to September, ranging from 1.7 million to 806 thousand.
f. From the local paper regarding Minister Wynne’s rejection based on poor consultation by council. Begs the question about; What will council do now? Action; Chris will ask at council meeting
g. From The Age in Ivanhoe only 3 and 4 story developments.
h. Seniors should sell of houses to make way for families. Comments about livability and pushing to them limits.
i. The Age, Port Phillip new developments, no cars in Ackland Street
j. A lot of articles about one bedroom apartments not selling in CBD. Developers are now consolidating one bedroom into three bedroom apartments.
4. Objector Updates:
a. 27 Murphy Grove, original application 18 dwellings, for approval 12 all 1 and 2 beds, waiver for car parking. Has more than 5 objections so will go to Planning committee for a decision. As yet no objector to talk to council.
b. 137 Mansfield Street, Day in VCAT, Member rejected number of objectors; Council Planning Lawyer Rep said that councilors don’t know anything about planning; they only do what we ask them too. (I wish!) Action: Maria to talk to Robert Phillips and Meryl to write to councilors to try to get Mr. James Livingston removed from case. Meryl and Maria to try and meet with Robert.
5. Planning Alerts:
This week’s list:
Next Meeting: 7.00pm, Tuesday, December 8th at 33 Dean Street, Preston
Main agenda item: AGM.