The City of Melbourne Planning Scheme is in tatters. A fire brigade without a hose or a truck

The City of Melbourne has failed its first major test before the Victorian Civil Appeals Tribunal with the advice given to Council by officers proven to be false and the Council left dumfounded and embarrassed by not paying due and proper attention to this issue well before now

Recent Ministerial changes to the State Planing Scheme made by Matthew Guy have resulted in the City of Melbourne no longer able to control development within the city boundaries instead we have a free for all where the market is allowed to rage unchecked and out of control

The decision of VCAT to grant a planning permit for the establishment of a licenced cafe and restaurant at 157-159 Domain Road, South Yarra. – PERMIT APPLICATION NO. TP-2012-388 had demonstrated that the Council Strategic Statement is worthless.
Background

Recent amendments to the Victorian Planning Scheme have resulted in licenced premises (Taverns, Pubs Restaurants and Pokie venues) which fall under the board definition of Retail Premises, no longer requiring a planning permit for use in a Commercial 1 Zone. (CZ1).  The City of Melbourne and a host of other inner city municipalities have been caught out by the changes which have a detrimental impact on inner city residential amenity.

A commercial business premises now has an “as of right’ use to establish a night club. Tavern. Bar or licenced restaurant within a CZ1 zone without a planning permit regulating its use.

The recommendation to remove licened premises from the definition of Retail premises, if adopted and implemented. would subject all licenced premises to a proper planning process and help restore public confidence.

The City of Melbourne needs to consider a Supreme Court challenge of the ruling of the Victorian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (VCAT)

The proposed development in Domian Road undermines the terms and provisions of the Melbourne Planning Scheme

Clause 21.08, “Economic Development”. states: There is a need to support the provision of local shops to serve the residential and working communities in local centres. A proliferation of eating and entertainment uses should not undermine the character and range of services offered in these local centres.

A stated objective under the Melbourne Planning Scheme is to support the Central City and local retail uses. A related strategy is: Ensure that a proliferation of eating and entertainment establishments in local centres does not undermine the viability of their convenience retailing

The South Yarra Domain Road precinct is listed as area of stability with minimal potential for new development, and notes that residential amenity to date has been maintained and the area’s historic character and features have been preserved

The Melbourne Strategic Statement aims to ensure Domain Road shopping area maintains its role for convenience shopping, neighbourhood facilities and as a neighbourhood focus

The City of Melbourne policy framework identifies the Domain Road shopping area as one of the municipality’s local centres. Policy seeks to have this centre maintain its role for convenience shopping and as a neighbourhood focus. Policy also seeks to ensure that a proliferation of eating and entertainment establishments does not undermine the viability of the centre’s convenience retailing

A significant difficulty in implementing this strategy is the fact that the use of the land for a restaurant is no longer subject to a planning permit, given the Commercial 1 zoning of the land. Under the provisions of the previously existing Business 1 zoning, there existed the ability to specify in the Schedule land upon which a restaurant use could not be established without a permit. The Council had not nominated any land within the municipality in the Schedule. With the change of zone, the ability to include this requirement has disappeared.

As no permit is required for the use, it is difficult to understand how the strategy relating to the ‘proliferation’ of eating establishments can be implemented in a land use sense. The regulatory tools necessary to give effect to the Council’s aspirations for this centre, as expressed in this specific strategy, do not form part of the suite of controls which apply in this case.

The granting of the permit pursuant to the revised planning scheme undermines public confidence in the administration and implementation of planning with-in the City of Melbourne

Changes to the Planning Scheme required to wind back the Guy amendments

The City of Melbourne need to as a matter of urgency review the current zoning of the Domain Road, South Yarra precinct with the view of having it rezoned as a “Mixed Use” Zone in which case licenced premises and restaurants and taverns can once again be subject to proper planning controls

- The Melbourne South Yarra Group has invited the Labor Candidate or the State seat of Melbourne Neil Pharaoh to address residents concerns on planning within the City of Melbourne at its Annual General Meetings scheduled for March 2014

Engineering and Planning Disaster for the Domain

The City of Melbourne Engineering Services and Planning continue to demonstrate their incometance.

VCAT had overturned the City Council refusal to grant a planning permit to 157-159 Domain Road

Domain Road retail precinct is supposed to service tegh need of the local residential community yet it is under pressure by developers who which to push out local retail and establish restaurants. night clubs and cafes.   The proposed development on Domain Road, where the former post office and news agent were located, is for three story building with cafe on the ground floor and two restaurants, one on each floor above the cafe, The proposed developed is expected to generate demand for over 160 car parking spots

Engineering Services Manager, Geoff Robinson, recommended that car parking provisions be waived for the development, A proposal that was overturned by the elected council,  There is barley a car park free in the area as it is, let alone the ability to meet demand imposed by the new development.  Surveys undertaken by residents on a Friday night showed their was 7 car parking spots available on Birwood Avenue  some 3-400 meters from the Domain site.

How Engineering Services came up with this recommendation is anyone’s guess.  The recommendation by Engineering Services to waive car parking influenced the VCAT determination.

Questions are being asked about the integrity of the City’s Engineering Services branch.

Adding to residents s the recent changes to teh Planning Scheme that re-classified the Domain Road precinct from Business one zone to Commercial one Zone.  Under the new Zone a licenced premises does not need a planning permit for its use. 

Geoff Lawler, Director of Planning was oblivious to the impact of the changes until questions were raised by residents.   It has been proven that the changes are having a negative impact as VCAT decision granting a planning was based on the new planning zone changes undermines the objectives of the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

The only saving grace is that the project as it stands is economically not viable.  The owner hoes to attract in excess of $800,000 per year in rent. Something that is highly unlikely to see a return for any investor   There are a number of conditions on the planning permit that impact on its use most notably the above ground restaurants can only sell alcohol between 5PM and 11,30PM

The maximum noise level as measured from the center of the external court and balconies can not be allowed to exceed 3Db nor will the be allowed to serve drinks on the footpath  no restaurant or cafe could remain viable under these conditions let alone command such a high rent.  The owner will without doubt be back seeking a review and remove of these constrictions. But this time they will  not be incumbered with issues of use and planning thanks to the State Governments planning scheme revisions and the failure of the City of Melbourne to object to the reclassification of this precinct to Commercial one zone.

City should be bigger – Kennett and Proust opposed by Doyle

Calls for a Greater City of Melbourne supported by Melbourne former CEO Elizabeth Proust and Jeff Kennett yet rejected by Robert Doyle

In an article published in the Age newspaper, that skims across the issue, both Elizabeth Proust and Jeff Kennett called for Melbourne to expand

Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, desperate to hang on to his power base threatened violence by stating he would violently oppose the move.

Jeff Kennett former,Victorian Premier 1992 to 1999 who Robert Doyle as the State member for Malvern served under, would not be drawn into outlining boundaries said the City of Melbourne should be bigger.

Jeff Kennett was responsible for the reduction in the size of the City of Melbourne back in 1993 when the City lost a sizable part of its former boundaries to the North.  Mergers of other inner city coucnils took place leaving Melbourne a small shell of what it should be.

Prior to winning office Jeff Kennett opportunistically opposed moves by Labor’s Cain Government to merge Local Councils, only to embark on such a reform soon after taking office

There have been many pushes and recommendations for a Greater Melbourne which would put the City on par with cities such as London and Brisbane.

 
Melbourne should as a minimum take in the City of Port Philip and the former City of Prahran to the South of the Yarra with the possibility of including the City of Yarra to the North East.

Robert Doyle lives in the neigbouring City of Port Phillip and served as the Member of Malvern before losing the leadership of the State Parliamentary Liberal Party to Denis Napthine. He later resigned from State Parliament and stood for the City of Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Office in 2008 and again in 2012.  He has served since in a lack luster sugar coated local government position milking his status as Lord Mayor of the Borough of Melbourne socializing with the likes of Boris Johnston Mayor of the Greater City of London. Doyle, who campaigned on a short lived “No Junkets” policy is desperate to cling on to the perks of office, International travel and the Lord Mayors Limousine .

Call to slash Melbourne’s ‘inefficient’ councils

 Source The Age

Melbourne must slash its local councils from 31 to just one if it is to plan services and large-scale infrastructure effectively, a former CEO of the City of Melbourne and aide to premier Jeff Kennett says.

And Australia should cut its levels of government to just two – national and regional – rather than the current three tiers.

”Our federation and the sheer number and layers of organisations that involve themselves in decision making … slows us down,” said Elizabeth Proust delivering the Planning Institute’s annual Kemsley Oration, the industry’s key annual address, late last year.

Mr Kennett on Thursday did not support Ms Proust’s call for one Melbourne council, but backed a dramatic expansion of Melbourne City Council’s boundaries.

”I think it would be a natural reform for the future,” Mr Kennett said, although he said he ”would not stipulate … how many neighbouring councils [Melbourne] should absorb”. He said council amalgamations by his government in 1994 were ”the right thing to do”, and it would be worth reviewing the numbers of councils.

But Ms Proust said the amalgamations ”did not go far enough” as too many councils were ”too small to be effective or efficient”.

Ms Proust was chief executive of the City of Melbourne from 1990 to 1995, and then secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

During the tumultuous Kennett era, councils in Victoria were slashed from 210 to 79. ”That number is still too large,” she said. ”As is the number of 31 councils which cover Melbourne” because Melbourne’s size and scale demand city-wide vision and governance.

Melbourne will grow from 4.25 million people to 6.5 million by 2050, according to the Napthine government strategy.

Jude Munro, a former CEO of the Brisbane City Council, backed Ms Proust’s call. Brisbane is the country’s largest council, covering more than 1.1 million residents and running the city’s buses, ferries and its water infrastructure.

Ms Munro headed Moreland Council and the old St Kilda Council in Melbourne in the 1990s. She said creating a greater Melbourne council made sense, but said the mayor would become ”a real competitor to the Premier of Victoria”.

Lord mayor Robert Doyle said he would be ”violently opposed” to one greater Melbourne council, with the city’s CBD model working well. ”It works for Brisbane, but I don’t think it would work for a Sydney or Melbourne,” he said. ”You lose a bit if you try and be all things to all people.’

The Planning Institute’s Victorian president, Brett Davis, also cautioned that a merger of more councils was simplistic and might not address the city’s real governance challenges.

City of Melbourne’s X-MAS nightmare for ex-resident

The City of Melbourne has issued a fine for not voting at the 2012 Municipal election even though they were not entitled to remain on the municipal role.

The person concerned had moved house in the weeks before the October 2012 Council and as such lost her entitlement to vote. Earlier this year the City of Melbourne issued fines for not voting. Appalled by council’s administrative error they wrote to the City of Melbourne and informed them that she did not live within the municipality at the time and as such was not entitled to vote.

The City Council wrote back rejecting her application to have the fine revoked and increased  the fines value.  A situation that has caused considerable stress resulting in her having to seek medical attention and delays in paying her rent in the days leading up to Chirstmas.

The Melbourne City Council failed to explain on what basis they rejected her request to have the fine revoked.

The matter now has to go to court in order to right the wrong.  More stress and more costs involved.

VICTORIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1989 – SECT 11
Entitlements relating to enrolment     (1)     A person can only be enrolled on the voters‘ roll of a Council if the person is a resident in the municipal district of the Council or a ratepayer to the Council exercising an entitlement under and in accordance with this Division.

The City Council’s failure to plan for Melbourne

It is often said that the City Council should be given back its planning powers? But should it?  The Council should not be judge jury and legislator.

The Council should be the administrator and have planning authority to determine the strategic plans for a city but it should not the the decider or interpreter of the planning scheme.  May councils do not have the skill or professionalism to determine what is good and what is bad.  Any limitation and restrictions should be spelt out in the planning scheme. A scheme which the City Council should have limited control over.

The Council should be an advocate on a planning decision but not the judge. To this extent the idea of decisions being made by professional planning authorities is a good one.  But the authority MUST consider and interpret the planning scheme in force correctly.  It the scheme is failing to address issues of broad community concern then it should be amended and the deciding body must reflect on those controls.

All too often we see the City Council itself ignore their won rules and guidelines like the time when Steven Mayne, Deputy Chair for the Planning portfolio ties to circumvent and ignore height limits that have been in force in the city for decades.  Planning on the run at a whim must be avoided at all costs

More often than not we also see the City Council pt up a pretense to fight an application when in fact they do not oppose it but do so for a variety of reasons one being community political pressure.

Ron Adams and Geoff Lawler are classic examples of administrators that ignore the planning scheme when it suits them.  The City Council has failed to incorporate policies designed it protect Melbourne Victorian Verandahs with Rob Adams actively seeking to allow balconies projecting over the foot path destroying the historic street scrapes.  his is an area where the City Council has absolute control as the building projects over public space,

Concerned at the loss of heritage and the impact it has on the Victorian Street Scape the City of Melbourne commissioned, be it reluctantly a document on Lygon Street verandahs. A policy that has been forgotten and not included in the latest planning review.

Anther example of slight of hand is the failure of the City Council, Geoff Lawler in particular to act to protect the amenity in Domain Rd. South Yarra.  The changes in State planning  that have been forced on the City Council means that the Domain Road precinct has now been classified as a Commercial One Zone (C1Z)  “Upgraded: from a Business one zone (B1Z).  The new C1Z planning zones come with an as of right use for licensed premises where the former planning

The Domain Rd precinct was designed to facilitate the needs to the adjoining residential precinct.but over the years the amenity of this precinct has been allowed to deteriorate, with the Council doing noting to protect its use and development.   Under the old planning scheme licensed premises needed a planning permit.  Under the new C1Z scheme retail premises no longer need a planning permit ad has a as of right use.  Licensed premises falls under the definition of retail premises and such such they too do not need a planning permit.  Night clubs tavern and the like where restricted before the amendment now they can be established without the need to even apply for a planning permit

Clem Newton Brown has been called on to act and to have licensed premises removed from the definition of retail premises. Something that Clem has failed to act on,  His inability to represent the local residents is an issue that is of considerable concern and one that has not gone unnoticed.  Residents in South Yarra have indicated they will campaign against him should he not address this issue

But it is not just Clem’s issue, The City of Melbourne also has responsibility for this issue and they have done nothing. Geoff :Lawler was oblivious of the changes which effect not only South Yarra but North Melbourne, Carlton, East Melbourne and a host of other prec9incts that now fall under the provision of the new planning zones.

The City Council has placed in the too hard basket planning South of the Yarra, .South Bank has no provision for servicing residential amenity and South Yarra is in decline. It is just not of any interest to the City Planners who are looking to be engaged in newer more challenging developments such as Docklands and the Fisherman’s bend precincts.  South Yarra dd not even get a mention in the City Council’s five year plan and budget.

I would not hold my breath thinking that the ALP will address these issues either.  They have been  absent form the community debate for decades and have done nothing.  

Underutilised, Poor Urban Design and Planning South of the Yarra

The Age has published two articles by Jason Dowling and Clay Lucas that highlight problems with City of Melbourne planning and urban design.  Issues that the the City has failed to tackle.

Ask any resident in South bank or South Yarra and they will tell you that the lack of basic amenity and infrastructure is the main drawback of inner city living south of the Yarra 

There is no central focus for daily shopping in South Bank   The City Council has allowed the Domain Road precinct to deteriorate to the point where it no longer fulfills its intended use. 

Most notably is the lack of quality delicatessens or small supermarkets.   There are numerous seven elevens and a few small convenience stores that provide milk and basics.  Residents of South Bank and South Yarra are forced to either travel to South Melbourne or Prahran to buy daily produce South Bank lacks a residential amenity commercial precinct or square.  What business there are cater for the office workers not residents. This lack of amenity and planning has an impost and cost on inner city living.

The decline in Domain Road and other inner city residential commercial precincts are expected to further deteriorate as a result of inactivity and failure to act in behalf of the City Council. The changes to planning schemes introduced by the Minister in July 2013 will only exacerbate the decline further .  The shift from Business 1 zones to Commercial 1 zones will remove controls over planning and development designed to inner city residential development.

It comes as no surprise that the article in the Age reports that up to 8% of houses surveyed are empty.

The CIty Council has wiped its hands freom responsibility to plan or develop South of the Yarra.  the recent budget and 4 year plan has no projects or expenditure spent on South of the Yarra.  The Council Urban design team and planners have abandond this poart of teh city for the new precincts and new projects. Projects such as Docklands and Gishermans Bend that are also doomed to fail in the same way as South bank has.  As long as property hold and increase their value the Council will ontinue ti hide in the shadow of inactivity and complacently and Inner City remain captive to the car as a node of transport.  Eff9rts by the City Council to lock down the city by exempting developers from car p0arking requirements without a fee will not help.   Money collected from a car0-parking levy could and should be used to encourage more development of amenity and supporting residential use.

Rob Adams and Geoff Lawler and the City Urban Design and Planning departments turning a blind eye and ignoring the problems will not make it any better.  Part of the problem is the organisational disconnect between the two departments.

In Honour of Professor Miles Lewis

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) today awarded Professor Miles Lewis Honorary Life Membership.  Michael Peck’s citation in nominating Mile’s for what is the highest award and recognition stated.  An honour long overdue and well deserved.



Honorary Membership Professor Miles Lewis AM
Miles Lewis has had a profound influence on the development of the National Trust in Victoria. He has been involved since his early years, when his father Professor Brian Lewis was the first Chairman of the National Trust in Victoria in 1957, and President in the early 1960s.
At that time Brian was also the founding Professor of architecture at Melbourne University. Miles’ mother Hilary, an architect, was working in the faculty and Miles and his sister, Claire, were studying architecture.
From this strong and influential architectural background Miles proceeded to provide five decades of service to the Trust in Victoria and to the Heritage movement both here in Australia and overseas.
Throughout that time he has made an unbroken contribution to the Trust’s work by volunteering his time and services to Board and to committee work. He has applied his profound architectural knowledge to the editing and writing of Trust publications, to report writing and expert witness appearances at Planning Panels, VCAT and the Heritage Council. 
At various times Professor Lewis has been:

  • a member of Trust Council, member of the Executive,
  • founding Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee,
  • founding Chairman of the Maldon Committee,
  • Chairman of the Churches Committee, and
  • member of a number of other expert and advisory groups, most notably the Buildings Committee.

Miles is the foremost architectural historian in Australia; he is Professor in the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning at the University of Melbourne. His outstanding intellect provided rigour and academic discipline to the Trust’s classification work, and he has provided thousands of hours of expert advice on the acquisition and conservation of Trust properties.
Miles is editor and principal author of Architectura: Elements of Architectural Style published in London and New York in 2008; he is also author of key heritage and planning texts including

  • Victorian Primitive,
  • The Essential Maldon,
  • Two Hundred Years of Concrete in Australia,
  • Victorian Churches, (which he edited on behalf of the Trust)
  • Melbourne: the City’s History, and
  • Suburban Backlash.

Additionally Miles has published numerous academic articles and papers on architectural and building history, urban conservation, urban renewal and housing policy, as well as the invaluable Australian Architectural Index now available online.

Either alone or with others Miles has written for the National Trust the following:

  • Exterior Paint Colours: a guide to exterior colours for buildings of the Victorian period
  • The Collins Street Report (1978);
  • The National Trust Research Manual (2004);
  • ‘Philosophy of Restoration’, in Heritage and Conservation: the Challenges in the Pacific Basin published by the Australian Council of National Trusts in 1990.

In 1968 Miles was inaugural Chair of the Trust’s Maldon Committee. Its task was to influence the Town and Country Planning Board in preservation of the town. 
The Trust’s subsequent report Proposal for the Conservation of Maldon led to an Interim Development Order in 1970 to prevent adverse development and to the classification of Maldon as the first Notable Town. 
Miles was a founding member in 1976 of the Australian National Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites, and subsequently its Chairman, and Miles substantially contributed to the writing of the Australian ICOMOS Burra Charter.
More broadly we can say of Miles that he was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and Melbourne University; won a University of Melbourne Special Award 1966-1969; and was appointed full-time at Melbourne University from 1970. 
Miles was joint recipient of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Robin Boyd Environment Award in 1973, won the Walter Burley Griffin Award in 1982; Royal Australian Planning Institute [Victoria] Award for Excellence in 1994; Royal Australian Planning Institute [National] Occasional Special Award in 1995; he was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002; was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2003 for service to Australian society and the humanities, and made Honorary Life Member of the Comité International d’Architecture Vernaculaire in 2005.
The Citation for his Member of Australia Order reads as follows:
For service to architectural history, heritage protection and urban planning, particularly through policy development and professional organisations.
In the same spirit as that citation, that I am delighted to support the Board recommendation that Prof. Miles Lewis be made an Honorary Member of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).
Carried by acclamation

Engineering Congestion: Public Confidence in the slow lane

Public Confidence in the City of Melbourne Traffic Engineering is at an all time low.

Councillor Oake who chairs the Transport portfolio has placed the needs and interests of cyclist ahead of the needs of the City as a whole.

Melbourne City Council’s latest proposal in its war against cars is to reduce the inner city speed limit to 30Km per hour but refuses to apply a 10KM speed limit on cyclists.

A proposal put forward by the City Council bicycle forum chaired by Greens; Councillor Cathy Oake has proposed  further measure to cause congestion within the City of Melbourne.Councillor.

Whilst the City Council claim they have consulted widely the fact is most of the consultation was meeting with select interest groups with the Council officers meetings with Cyclists and the Cyclist lobby groups in coffee shop style meetings.

Council refused to publish Public Submissions unless $25 FOI application fee paid

The City Council has refused to make public copies of submissions relied on in the formation of the City Council’s transport strategy plan. Only executive summary is available. Requests to make copies of all submissions freely available were rejected by the Lord Mayor with Council staff stating that in order to obtain copies of submissions members of the public would have to make an FOI application. 

Public review of Bicycle Lanes rejected

In August this year the City Council rjected a proposal put forward by Crs Foster and Watts to undertake a review of the City Councils’ bicycle network including the La Trobe Street Copenhargen style Bicycle lane  the City Council claiming that the La Trobe Street lane was a success and that they needed to push ahead and continue implementing the City’s transport strategy. The City Council voted agsainst the motion for a review, gagging public debate.

Motorcyclist complain on Safety issues.

In June this year the City Council was forced to defer the adoption of the City Council’s Pedestrian, Cyclist and Motorcyclist Road Safety Plan when Motorcyclist complained that that they were not consulated

The City Council engineers met with representqaives of the Motorcyclist community who are vulnerable road users and in doing so gavce a number of undertaking to consider fuirther the needs of motorcyclist in the City Council’s transport plan. The Council undrtook to develope a Motorcycle Strategy plan  and include motorcyclists needs in the formation and review of future planning reviews.

The Council has yet to deliver on its promises. 

Last month’s Council meeting failed to list Motorcyclist in the Council’s review of the Princes Bridge Lane trial review.

Motorcyclist want the City Council to provide  and facilitate lane filtration, where motor cyclists can move to the front of the queue at intersections as is current afforded to cyclist.  They also want consideration to be given to the sharing of bicycle lanes where possible. Every time the City Council installs a bicycle lane motorcycle safety is ignored and placed at risk

Selective Consultation

The City Council failed to consult with Emergency service providers such as Ambulance Victoria., or the Metropolitan Firebridge in its Transport Safety plan.

Disabled groups were also not consulted along with a host of other road users and stakeholders.  The City Engineers have ignored concerns expressed by the RACV and other community groups

METRO councils are under fire for spending more than $100 million a year on generous salaries for a small army of senior bureaucrats.

Source:HeraldSun

Melbourne City Council is the top employer with more than 130 senior officers earning at least $130,000 a year, including 18 executives getting $200,000-plus.

The council copped flak earlier this year when it increased CBD on-street parking fees by nearly 40 per cent and introduced a $5 fare for its tourist shuttle bus.

A Herald Sun analysis of 19 metro councils, which have released their annual reports, reveals they have more than 500 staff classed as senior officers earning $130,000-plus salaries.

The revelation comes just weeks after a major State Government survey found that more than 90 per cent of Victorians believed their councils could improve, with low scores given for management of roads, population growth and planning policy.

In 2012-13, the City of Melbourne spent $21.3 million on senior officer salaries, with CEO Kathy Alexander the state’s highest-paid municipal executive on a package of about $440,000.
Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said that too much of councils’ rates revenue went into administration.

“We have far too many people employed by councils but not many workers,” he said.

“There are too many officers whose big salaries can’t be justified.”

Dr Alexander said that Melbourne was a major council with a budget of $450 million and more than 1200 staff, including senior roles like divisional directors, branch managers and senior project staff.

“The national and international accolades the City of Melbourne has this year received in areas such as city safety, sustainability and climate change adaptation are an indication of the leadership, significant professional and technical expertise and experience of our staff,” she said.

Dr Alexander said the number of senior officers had increased by 19 since last year but this was existing staff who had moved into a higher pay scale after an EBA wage rise.

“The figures quoted in the annual report relate to a total employment package that includes salary, superannuation, vehicles and leave loading,” she said.

Among other councils, outer south-eastern Casey had 31 officers earning $130,000-plus, including five getting more than $200,000.

Boroondara had 27 staff in the senior officer category, with four people getting at least $200,000, while Port Phillip, Greater Dandenong and Knox had 25 staff on the senior salary package.
Of the councils surveyed, Nillumbik had the least senior officers, with six, including two on $200,000-plus packages.

Council Domain: Non-existent planning leaves South Yarra high and dry

the City of Mlebourhe has still failed to address residents South of the Yarra concerns over planning.

Changes to Melbourne’s Planning Scheme was sidelined by Coucnil Staff who were caught out sleeping on the job.  

Previously licenced premises such as a tavern along Domain Road required a planning permit now they are an as of right use.

Domain Road should not be in a C1Z (Commerial 1 Planning Zone)

State member Clem Newton-Brown is yet to address this issue. 

When the zoning changes were gazetted late July Domain Road “strip shopping precinct” should have been moved into a Mixed Use zone but regretfully has been “upgraded” to the new Commercial 1 zones

Information  published on the Council’s web site states:

About the changes

On 15 July 2013 the Minister for Planning introduced new commercial zones and modified industrial zones into all planning schemes in Victoria.

Replacement of the Business Zones with new Commercial Zones

The five business zones were consolidated into two new commercial zones:

  • the Commercial 1 Zone replaced the Business 1, Business 2 and Business 5 Zones
  • the Commercial 2 Zone replaced the Business 3 and Business 4 Zones.

Generally the new commercial zones broaden the range of activities that are allowed, without the need for a planning permit and remove existing floor area restrictions.
The Commercial 1 Zone (PDF, 135kb)

  • Allows tavern, hotel, and gaming premises without a planning permit, unless in a strip shopping centre where gaming premises are prohibited (a permit for a liquor license will however still be required).
  • Removes permit requirements for all retail uses (except for adult bookshop)
  • Removes permit requirements for all accommodation uses (other than a corrective institution, which is prohibited) subject to satisfying a 2 metre frontage condition
  • Exempts buildings and works from notice and appeal rights, unless the land is within 30 metres of a residential zone, a hospital or an education centre.