East Brunswick Village consultation

Local Councillors are holding a public consultation regarding proposed changes to plans for the massive East Brunswick Village site.

At its January meeting, the Urban Planning Committee (UPC) of Moreland City Council deferred consideration of changes to the existing permit for the East Brunswick Village (EBV) project after residents noticed this item listed for discussion (there was no requirement for locals to be notified).

The consultation meeting is at Brunswick Town Hall, Meeting Room E, 7.30pm on Tuesday 14 February 2017.

The developers East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd – part of the Banco Group  – are seeking further amendments to the existing 2012 planning permit, for this major shopping, commercial and residential complex.

The ground has recently been cleared and buildings demolished on the massive Tontine factory site and neighbouring land, bordered by Nicholson Street, Albert Street, John Street and Glenlyon Road in Brunswick East. Our picture shows less than half the site.

Originally, the project included plans for up to 1,000 dwellings in three stages, about 7,000 square metres of retail floor space (including a 24-hour 3,000 square metre supermarket), 7,000 square metres of office space, and about 850 car spaces. Over time, the plans have been revised into stages, with 293 dwellings and the supermarket in the first stage. The project is expanding as the developers buy out adjoining businesses and land (such as the South Pacific Laundry on Nicholson Street).

The proposed changes before the UPC include an increase to the height of the two six-storey buildings at the centre of the project, an increase in retail area, an increase in the proportion of one-bedroom apartments in stage one,  and a changed location for the  “travellator” (moving walkway) that will funnel customers from an underground car park to the supermarket, and potential removal of bollards that block vehicle access to John Street.

Read a more detailed version of this article in the Brunswick Residents Network January news:

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Why 299 Lygon Street was demolished

In June 2013 I became aware a demolition permit had been issued for 299 Lygon Street (see pic), and senior council staff were concerned. It was one of a series of 4 ‘moderne’ buildings cited as valuable in the Lygon heritage study. The demolition order was allowable as there was no Heritage Overlay – as with 99.9% of Lygon Street, Brunswick.

A council request for an interim heritage overlay (HO) was subsequently refused in June of 2013 by Jane Monk, senior staffer at DTPLI under delegation to the Victorian Planning Minister. I understand the problem was the interim HO request had been for the single building (299 Lygon), and not the whole series of four that it was part of. Another building council simultaneously requested an interim order for (260 Lygon) , did receive an interim HO. This building was not part of the moderne series, and since then has had the 1 year interim HO renewed on May 30.

Residents in Brunswick East wrote to Moreland Mayor on June 24 2013, to raise awareness of this through the council; and met Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy the same day.

A recent state panel recommended (for Amendment C149) on May 13 2014 stated that a permanent HO be applied to the building under a serial listing. Two months later Moreland council on July 9 2014 voted to note this recommendation and put forward a request for permanent heritage overlay for many buildings on Lygon Street (including 299). On Tuesday 15 July I noticed demolition had stared of the rear of the building, and by July 24th the top sections was gone.

At some stage, Moreland council has issued a planning permit for eight dwelling and 5 storey development on this site; and as mentioned a demolition permit was given some time in the past two years.

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Where the residential zones are at

As expected most Victorian councils have received the new ‘general residential zone’ to replace the old Res1 zone that dropped out of the state provisions on July 1. 13 of these councils went to a state advisory committee to get advice for the minister on its application of the suite of three zones, and others neutrally converted, or chose the general zone exclusively. As yet the Minister has not approved the 13 requests, but has advised the issues raised by the advisory committees will be ‘put in place promptly’. The other councils did not choose to apply all three zones, and asked the Minister to neutrally translate their zones.

9 metropolitan councils received a suite of all three new zone in late June. These councils asked the Minister directly to approve the requests. These councils did not go to the state panel. A couple received a suite of three zones in the past 12 months.

The ‘general residential zone’ is the closest zone to the old residential 1 zone. The GRZ has a purpose to respect neighbourhood character (NC), and abide by NC policies adopted by councils. Residential 1 did not have these purposes.

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RESIDENTIAL PLANNING ZONES

FACTS ABOUT THE ZONES

In the past two weeks, the media has wrongly suggested that due to the fact Moreland council’s zones request is not finalised, this will create a ‘high rise’ rush in Moreland.

Specifically the Sunday Age and The Age has suggested that when Victoria’s Residential 1 planning zone converted to ‘General residential’– this now ‘permits development up-to three storeys’. In actual fact three-storey was (since 2001) already permitted BUT in future we could now see better developments than we have seen.

The disappearing Residential 1 zone created ad hoc three-story development in our suburbs. The third level under a flat roof fitting (9m) instead of within a ‘preferred’ pitched roof is allowed because the maximum height stipulated in ‘Rescode’ today is 9m. Unless you live in a council where diligent resident groups have driven their council to adopt watertight Neighbourhood Character guidelines (like in Melbourne’s east and south east), 3 storey is likely in all of Victoria.

A refreshing purpose of the new GRZ is to: “respect neighbourhood character (NC); implement adopted NC guidelines; and encourage moderate growth near services (moderate is defined as ‘not extreme or excessive, fair or not unreasonable’). Therefore if councils review and adopt new NC guidelines – this general zone can become more restrictive. Residents in the north: get busy teaming up with councils to review and adopt new guidelines. Contrary to belief the new general zone could tighten the assessments of development proposals.

NEIGHBOURHOOD CHARACTER (NC)

Unless a neighbour specifically objects to a flat roof, many councils ignore ‘skimpy’ local neighbourhood guidelines and allow a third level of development. A few councils (mainly in the east and south east of Melbourne) have resident-driven tight NC guidelines that keep a pitched roof, amongst other things, like front set back, low front fences, building materials etc..

Most council’s have neighbourhood guidelines that can ironically be described as ‘extensively skimpy‘. They cover up to 90 areas per council, but can only result in a pitched roof if the neighbour specifically objects to a flat one. Areas such as Bayside by contrast have guidelines that go into detail stipulating height and material of a front fence or what width a side setback should be. The eastern residents’ groups have members who work 24/7 on their idea of what their neighbourhoods should look like and defending it through a zero tolerance approach. We in the north are more progressive, accepting of future residents, slightly less organised, and under attack from development. This combination means that (unlike groups in the inner east), we can not practice planning advocacy that is ‘preventive of inappropriate development’ to the same degree groups in the east do.

THE NRZ

A more restrictive planning zone: neighbourhood residential zone (NRZ) has a default mandatory height of 8m. This stipulates a two-story (with pitch roof) outcome because squeezing a third level into 8 metres is not permittable through the building regulations. A council can vary this height for different areas through the use of a schedule to the zone. A ‘schedule’ is a tailored attachment to a zone that reflects the councils vision for a zones in a particular location. The default number of units on a block in the NRZ is two, but again, a council can alter it to create a greater number of units to get more control of strata development.

THE REAL ZONES ISSUES NAD WHERE MORELAND IS AHEAD OF THE GAME

Currently Rescode is also varied to create strata units up to 10 per residential block that can be 40m2 in area per level, and do not have courtyards. Due to this trend, the ability to offer a ‘variety’ of housing in inner suburbs is at risk.  Here lies the real issue for some council’s. The focus on the new zones has so much been about height when the real issue is about number of units on a block and how this affects liveability for future residents of Melbourne. The less liveable a unit is, the more it is likely a couple or family will relocate to outer suburbs. Three or more units on a block, including stipulating they have courtyards, can be controlled through the use of a ‘schedule’ or a tailored attachment to the NRZ. Moreland Council in particular has taken this option and should be applauded for its forward thinking.

There is a less restrictive Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) available for councils converting their Residential 1 zone, and this is to provide housing in buildings ‘up-to and including four storey, in locations near services and having good access to transport including in activity areas.’ Council’s in the West and North of Melbourne should be allowed to allocate their Res 1 land inside the boundaries of activity areas towards their ‘res growth’ allocations. These areas of Melbourne are rich in Brownfields and Rail corridors that are earmarked for Urban Renewal that can accommodate a burgeoning population. Therefore in order to continue to offer a variety of future housing types, it is more appropriate to curtail development in residential areas in brownfield rich suburbs.

Sincerely,

Joanna Stanley
Joanna is a community planning advocate in Moreland, and across the north and west of Melbourne. She was member of the Reformed Zones Ministerial Advisory Committee

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New zoning laws for Moreland

On 1 July 2013, changes to residential zones were introduced into the Victorian Planning Provisions (VPP). This included the introduction of three new zones, the General Residential Zone (GRZ), Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ) and Residential Growth Zone (RGZ) to replace the Residential 1, 2 and 3 zones. Council has 12 months to introduce the new zones into the Moreland Planning Scheme.

In line with State Government policy and the new Plan Melbourne, Moreland Council is currently preparing plans on these new residential zones across the municipality.

But there’s been a backlash on the way Council is implementing the policy, designating major changes for growth zones along Nicholson Street (currently under re-development with the upgraded no.96 tram route) and along Melville Road in Brunswick West. Last month there were community information nights, and hundreds of people turned out to an overflowing meeting in Brunswick West, where Council is proposing a number of Resident Growth Zones.

In Brunswick West, Council has chosen to investigate areas for new zones simply based on a 400 or 800 metre radius around selected local centres – instead these growth zones must be clearly defined in order to provide certainty for landowners and residents, with agreement on zone boundaries based on more than token consultation. See council’s map at: http://www.morelandplanning.com/themes/bootstrap/img/ZoningMap.jpg

Without proper planning and community engagement, the growth areas could mean 3 to 4 storey development across the greater part of Moreland. This could destroy the character and amenity of your neighbourhood.

Find out what is going on. Have your say. Decide on action. Come to a public meeting next Friday 15 November to find out more about the zones, with speakers: Joanna Stanley (Brunswick Residents Network and member of the Reformed Zones Ministerial Advisory Committee), Kelvin Thomson MP (Federal Member for Wills) and Jack Roach (Planning Backlash).

WHAT: Public meeting on new residential zones
WHEN: Friday 15 November 2013, 6.30 to 8.00 p.m.
WHERE: 213A Weston St, Brunswick East (Scout Hall) Mel. ref. Map 29 K10

For more information contact Ernest Healey (Moreland Residents Action Group) – email ernest.healy@monash.edu

For a helpful summary of the new zones and the type of housing that will be allowed in each type of zone, see the July 2013 practice note issued by the State Government Planning Department:
http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/theplanningsystem/improving-the-system/new-zones-for-victoria/new-and-reformed-residential-zones.

For Moreland Council’s plans on the new zones go to:  http://www.morelandplanning.com/

 

From the BRN Newsletter – November 2013

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State Government zoning reforms

The State Government has released a series of proposed reforms that may affect suburbs across Victoria. As well as changes to the Green Wedges on the outskirts of Melbourne, and rural land, there are significant proposals that may affect inner city suburbs, with the planned introduction of new residential and commercial zones and modified mixed use, low density residential, industrial and rural zones.

No detailed information has been provided on how the changes will be implemented in coming months, but the government is calling for public feedback to the zoning changes by this Friday 21 September.

This email gives you some brief background on the changes – we suggest residents send a letter with their feedback on the zones to the addresses listed at the end.

More details of the proposed changes can be found at the website of the Department of Planning and Community Development, together with an online submission form:

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/theplanningsystem/improving-the-system/new-zones-for-victoria

NEW RESIDENTIAL ZONES

The existing system of zoning will be changed, to create five new categories of zones:
·         Residential Growth Zone
·         General Residential Zone
·         Neighbourhood Residential Zone
·         Commercial 1 Zone
·         Commercial 2 Zone

There are significant changes proposed under this new planning scheme, which will allow a range of activities to occur in residential zones “as of right” – this means that people will not have to apply for a planning permit, and there are reduced obligations to notify affected parties, allow for review to VCAT etc.

The proposed changes allow educational, recreational, religious, office and a limited range of other non – residential uses (such as shops and medical centres) to be “as of right‟ in some locations close to existing commercial and mixed use zones.

The proposed residential zones will allow Councils to prescribe controls for many neighbourhood character issues including; maximum height, site cover, permeability and landscaping provisions.

An editorial in The Age (17 September) notes that the residential growth and general residential zones “would allow for greater density and change. These would see the intrusion of non-residential uses such as convenience stores, churches, offices and shops within 100 metres of a commercial area, three story height limits in the growth zone and dwelling sizes shrink to 80 square metres and 200 square metres respectively.”

There are significant changes proposed under the “100 metres” rule (for example, commercial activities in existing Activity Centres along Lygon and Nicholson Streets could be extended up to 100 metres either side of these streets, allowing commercial operations in current residential areas, without a requirement for a planning permit).

Please look at the information on the DPCD website and send a short letter using the online submission form
http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/theplanningsystem/improving-the-system/new-zones-for-victoria

Email copies to Moreland mayor John Kavanagh at jkavanagh@moreland.vic.gov.au

Send a Hard Copy to Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy,(Level 7, 1 Spring Street Melbourne 3000)

Or contact the Victorian Government Contact Centre on 1300 366 356 (local call cost) or email planning.systems@dpcd.vic.gov.au.

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Planning reform update

Planning reform from a resident’s point of view

Thursday September 13, at the Bowling Club, Brunswick East.
The state Government is making the planning system more ‘streamline’.  The proposed reform remove current ‘prohibited uses’ in residential streets by making some commercial and retail activity ‘as of right’. This means next to you a developer may build a medical centre, office suite, or shop with no need for a planning permit if it’s 100m from land zoned ‘commercial/buiness’ or ‘mixed use’, and you will not have a say. Other issues include the possible addition of new Residential Growth Zones in Moreland. Also to be covered:

– submissions to Minister by Sept 21
– new zonings; and removal of prohibited commercial uses and removal of permit requirements for extensions to house on blocks over 200m sq.
– loss of residents having a say in planning, especially where supermarkets can go – pretty much anywhere
– feedback from my regular monthly meeting with Victorian Planning Minister Guy

If you are interested in knowing more, please come along next Thursday at 6.30pm to the bowling club at 104 Victoria street, Brunswick East.

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PLANNING REFORM UPDATE

Brunswick Residents Network campaigns meeting – Thursday 13 September.

Join us for the next campaigns meeting with the Brunswick Residents Network to discuss:
* Update on the State Government’s new zoning and planning laws and our meetings with Planning Minister Matthew Guy, from Jo Stanley
* Residents’ priorities from our recent survey, which had 180 responses.
* BRN actions in the lead-up to the Moreland Council elections on 27 October.

DATE: Thursday 13 September, 6.30pm
VENUE: Brunswick Bowling Club, 104 Victoria Street, Brunswick East (between Lygon and Nicholson Streets)
ENQUIRES: albertstreet2020@gmail.com

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