Save Glen Eira (SGE) is a strong advocate for height controls in our main road shopping strips.  During the 2013 Zone Implementation these strips became comprised of two planning zones – the Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z) and the Mixed Use Zone (MUZ1) which are without any stipulated height limits.  Unlike other Metro Melbourne Councils who (having undertaken Structure Planning and incorporated contemporary planning tools in their Planning Schemes) were able to apply mandatory height limits, Glen Eira was unable to apply height controls to these zones.

Since the 2015-7 Ministerial ordered commencement of Structure Planning for Glen Eira’s 3 Major Activity Centres (MACs), interim height controls have been implemented for Commercial and Mixed Use Zones for the 3 Major Activity Centres of Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick .

The key drivers for the implementation of these interim height controls being

  • To overcome the lack of height controls in the Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme pending completion of Structure Plans with incorporated permanent height controls, and
  • Address the issue of planning permit applications being lodged at heights which exceeded the height limits determined by the analytical work undertaken during the development of the Structure Plans.

No Interim height limits were sought for Glen Eira’s

  • 13 Neighbourhood Activity Centre (NAC) Commercial and Mixed Use Zones (Alma Village, Caulfield North, Caulfield South, Bentleigh East, Gardenvale, Glen Huntly, Hughesdale, McKinnon, Moorabbin, Murrumbeena, Ormond, Patterson and Ripponlea) or
  • Commercial and Mixed Use Zones which are not within an Activity Centre (eg. Cnr. Centre and Mackie Roads).

At the 27/2/2018 Council Meeting,  Council passed a resolution to incorporate in the Glen Eira planning scheme a 5 storey height limit for the shopping strips of our NACs. 

Two years on Glen Eira’s NACs are now experiencing the same conditions which resulted in Interim Height Controls for the MACs. 

Current examples of Permit Application Heights:

  • 371 Hawthorn Road Caulfield South – 9 storeys ( Council and VCAT upheld 7 storeys, Supreme Appeal)
  • 380 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South – 7 storeys (Council approved 5 storeys, VCAT Appeal)
  • 217 Nepean Highway, Gardenvale – 9 storeys
  • 430 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena – 8 storeys (VCAT Appeal)
  • 1/219 Balaclava Road, Caulfield North – 7 storeys
  • 348 – 354 Hawthorn Rd (Bowls Club) – 9 storey mixed use proposal, VCAT Appeal
  • 679/681/683 Glenhuntly Rd, Caulfield South – 8 storeys being advertised

Save Glen Eira is now requesting Council to apply for 5 storey interim height controls all Glen Eira’s Commercial and Mixed Use Zones, located within and outside a Neighbourhood Activity Centre, as a top priority. 

We base this request upon the following

  • As a result of interim height limits being applied to the 3 major activity centres, much of Glen Eira’s redevelopment is now occurring in the NACs and, as per the above examples, at heights which
  • Exceed or are equal to the interim height controls applied to Major Activity centres and
  • Exceed the Council approved (27/2/2018) 5 storey height limit and give rise to significant issues (eg overshadowing, visual dominance) due their heights being much higher than
    • the 3 storey mandatory height limit of the surrounding residential areas of the Neighbourhood ACs, and
    • the 2 storey mandatory height limit of the surrounding residential areas if not located in a Neighbourhood AC.
  • Set backs applicable to C1Z and MUZ zones are not mandatory and not an effective height control, particularly when large or consolidated lots are involved
  • Council has undertaken significant place based (current and future) data collection and analysis on all of Glen Eira’s Activity Centres when developing the
  • 2016-2017 Proposed Expansion of Activity Centres
  • 2017 Activity Centre Housing and Local Economy Strategy
  • 2018 5-storey height limit for all NACs
  • 2018-19 Integrated Transport Strategy.
  • 2019-2020 Heritage Review
  • 2020 Open Space Strategy Refresh
  • 2020 Parking Strategy

This data should be readily available and easily updated more with recent planning permit data, to provide the data required to justify a request for interim height controls.  This should not have a significant adverse impact on the progression of the current Structure Planning processes or Council’s Structure Planning Schedule.

  • The current uncertainties and economic downturn predictions related to COVID-19 present an opportunity to incorporate the NAC Interim Height Controls with minimal disruption – Planning Permit Applications are declining and staff skilled in preparing interim height control applications should be available.  2 years have elapsed since the 5 storey height limit resolution was passed – interim height controls need to be “fast tracked”.

Save Glen Eira believes that Council needs to incorporate of Interim Height Controls for all main road shopping strips and that Council needs to act now to ensure that future developments comply with the 5 storey height limit set by Council.

An FYI – as per Council Meeting 26/2/2019, Council’s Structure Planning Schedule is 

  • Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick Structure Planning completion date – end 2021
  • Bentleigh East, Caulfield South and Glen Huntly (currently incorporated in the VPA lead Caulfield Station Precinct Structure Plan) to commence early 2022, completion date unknown
  • For the remaining 10 neighbourhood activity centres (Moorabbin, Alma Village,  Caulfield North, Gardenvale, Hughesdale, McKinnon, Murrumbeena, Ormond, Patterson and Ripponlea) – commencement and completion dates unknown
  • For shopping strips not included in an activity centre (Cnr. Centre and Mackie Roads) – not discussed.

 

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Council elections will be held in October, 2020.

Glen Eira needs Councillors who hold transparency and accountability as part of their responsibility to residents. Councillors who are prepared to openly question and challenge the Administration and its officers and ensure that residents’ views are factored into Council’s decisions.   (Under the Local Government Act Councillors are responsible for setting the “rules” and monitoring the compliance of all Council officers with those “rules”).

 If you are considering standing, please feel free to contact us to further discuss any of the above issues or any area of special interest to you.