Blind Faith: Council accepts verbal assurance that new planning regime will not adversely effect residential amenity

Chair of Governance and Deputy Chair of Planning, Stephen Mayne reneges on previous undertaking for the City of Melbourne to provide a comprehensive report on the impact of the State Government’s proposed new planning zones which comes into affect on July 1.

Under the proposed new planning regime all ‘Business zones” will be transferred into a new comprehensive ‘anything goes” “Commercial 1” zone which includes an “as of right use” (No planning permit required) for a tavern and gaming venue.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Stephen Mayne and other Councillors accepted in blind faith a verbal undertaking given by the Director of Planning, Geoff Lawler, in closed session of council that existing “overlays” in Melbourne’s planning scheme would protect and prevent the establishment of taverns and gaming venues that adversely affect adjoining residential precincts. 

(Clause 22.12 of the City of Melbourne Planning Scheme outlines “Policy” in relation to Gaming venues  and Clause 22.22 which outlines “Policy” in relation to Licensed premises which both reference Business Zones which are being phased out on July 1)

Geoff Lawler in response to requests for a written report reassured the council and public gallery that “developments such as the one proposed for 157 Domain Rd South Yarra and the establishment of a restaurant/tavern last month would not proceed under the new Planning zone provisions”

Mr Lawler failed to outline exactly which overlays and in what way they would protect the residential amenity of South Yarra.

Clause 22.12 and 22.2 are policy guidelines that apply to the consideration of any new Planing permit application. Under the new Commercial 1 zone a planning permit is no longer required for a licensed Food and Beverage premises such as a Tavern, Gaming venue or Nightclub

If, as is feared, a new application is made after July 1 for a change of use and the developer seeks to exercise his new “As right of use” and reinstates a request for a tavern and it later shown that the advice given by Mr Lawler was false then we can expect calls for both Robert Doyle and Councillor Mayne, along with Geoff Lawler, having mislead the public to resign.

Prudence is the best policy not complacency

A verbal nod and a wink is not satisfactory and fails to instill confidence in the City Council administration of planning.

The onus still lies with the City Council and it’s administration to provide a written assessment outlining in detail which provisions of the Melbourne planning scheme Mr Lawler is relying on when giving his advice.

Any Councillor that is prepared to accept verbal advice should also put their job on line.

New Commercial 1 zone to replace Business 1, 2 zones

34.01 COMMERCIAL 1 ZONE

Shown on the planning scheme map as B1Z, B2Z, B5Z or C1Z.
Purpose
To implement the State Planning Policy Framework and the Local Planning Policy
Framework, including the Municipal Strategic Statement and local planning policies.
To create vibrant mixed use commercial centres for retail, office, business, entertainment and community uses.
To provide for residential uses at densities complementary
to the role and scale of the commercial centre.
34.01-1 Table of uses
Section 1 – Permit not required

  • Retail premises (other than Shop)
  • Shop (other than Adult sex bookshop)

The defination of retail premises includes:

  • Food and drink premises
  • Gambling premises
  • Landscape gardening supplies
  • Manufacturing sales
  • Market
  • Motor vehicle, boat, or caravan sales
  • Postal agency
  • Primary produce
  • sales
  • Shop
  • Trade supplies

The defination of Food and drink premises includes:

Convenience restaurant

Hotel
Restaurant
Take away food premises
Tavern

Previously Business 1 zone (To be phased out on July 1) listed under

34.01  BUSINESS 1 ZONE

34.01-1 Section 1 – Permit not required

Food and drink premises (other than Hotel, Restaurant and Tavern)

34.01-2 Section 2 – Permit required

Retail premises (other than Betting agency, Food and drink premises, Postal agency, Shop, and Trade supplies)

Tavern

Early days as Melbourne contemplates new planning regime come july 1

Melbourne City Council has been caught out and is not sure as to the impact Victoria’s new planning scheme zones, announced on May 8, will have on Melbourne
]
On Tuesday May the 14th “Future Melbourne Committee” Anthony van der Craats, resident, asked the Committee a question in relation to the Minister for Planning’s recently announced changes to the Victorian Planning Scheme, which resulted in the abolition of Business 1 Zones, when will the City of Melbourne be undertaking a review of the [new] schemes?

In response to the question the Director City Planning and Infrastructure, Geoff Lawler advised that “it is very early days as the rezoning has just been announced. He is currently beginning to understand the process and will bring the information to Councillors once it is fully known”

In a further response to a [follow-up] question [as to when a report will be presented to an open public session of Council] , the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle advised that as per the previous discussion regarding the zoning changes at the beginning of the meeting the matter will be brought before Council, but cannot guarantee it will be at the June Council meeting. Given the 1 July 2013  deadline the Council will be pressing to make sure this is as expeditious as possible 

Council better get it’s act together no later than June if confidence in planning administration is to be maintained.

Under the new scheme Business 1 zones such as the Domain Rod precinct will become Commercial 1 zone with residents believing the zone should be a Mixed Use zone not Commercial 1.

The new planning regime starts July 1.  

Gambling with our future Planning

Gambling Awareness Week

In 1995, on 3LO Jon Faine’s program, I campaigned for Gaming venues to be subject to a planning permit.   Amusement Parlours required a planning permit but not gaming venues.

The Gaming industry was quick to reject and deflect the need for Gaming venues to require a planning permit.  At the time all you needed was a Fully Licensed venue and the approval of either the TAB or Tattersalls. 

11 years later in 2006 the Bracks/Brumby Government introduced a planning permit for gaming venues.  Whilst planning permits for gaming venues is now in place the system is still in need to review and more regulations and controls.  In 1995 you could turn a licensed restaurant into a gaming venue.  The same applies today.  Under the new planning system introduced by the Napthine Liberal Government Gaming venues an be established in the new “Commercial 1” zones an application for a change of use is all that is required.

Disaster! What the New Planning Zones will mean for Melbourne

The Victorian government’s proposed new planning zones are the most radical review of planning schemes in the history of Victorian planning. They will lead to fundamental changes in the way Melbourne operates, change the fabric of the city and its hinterland, and remove an extensive range of existing citizen rights. Everyone will be affected“.  – Prof. Michael Buxton

 

Business 1 Zones to be transferred to new Commercial 1 zoning with “As of right use” and removal of height limits 

The Commercial Zone 1 replaces the existing Business 1, 2 and 5 Zones and is designed to create vibrant mixed use commercial centres for retail, office business and higher density residential growth. 

Ministers Press Release

Melbourne’s Planning Scheme is already in disarray. Inner urban residential amenity is being corroded and removed by inappropriate development. Public confidence in the City Council’s Planning and Engineering Services Departments is at an all time low. Car Parking exemptions for licenses premises are not assessed on a basis of any benefit to the community or local amenity. The Council is not collecting contributions for car park exemptions and the system is wide open to corruption in order to secure a favourable recommendation.  Come July 1 things will only get worst as height limits removed and “right of use” without a permit begins to take hold. in what will be a free for all planning regime where the developer rules and teh community’s needs ignored. Along with the removal of restrictions we will see a noticeable decline in the quality of design.

Urban Designers and Engineers: Losing the plot

Melbourne City Council has lost the plot.  Our Urban designers (Headed by Rob “Bamboo” Adams) and Engineers (Headed by Geoffrey Robinson) are slowly yet consistently destroying Melbourne and the things that make Melbourne.

The rot started back in 1996 when the Council back-down and supported the shift of Melbourne’s Museum from the City Centre to the Carlton Gardens. A move that was widely opposed by the general community. (The Museum should have been built as part of an expanded Federation Square or on the ill-fated CUB Swanston Street site)

Residents and traders managed to save Lygon Street from the destructive designs of Rob Adams who wanted to build balconies over the top of Lygon Streets Victorian Street Verandahs. (The City of Melbourne may still revisit Rob Adams nightmare on Lygon Street as the adopted Verandah policy has been allowed to slip out of sight and was not listed or included in Melbourne recent heritage review).

They just spent $5Million engineering congestion and reducing the number of traffic lanes in LaTrobe Street and now they have their sight on destroying the Queen Victoria Market extending Franklin Street so that it carves through the market car park and connects up with Duddly Street, increasing traffic where it is most definitely not needed.  Franklin Street should have been the new bike path and the precinct  should be encouraged to accommodate more pedestrian traffic.  If they had of channeled the money spent on LatTrobe street into Franklin Street redevelopment it could have made a positive contribution to Melbourne.

Clearly Road Safety is not on the Council’s agenda.  The other end of Franklin Street at the corner of Victoria Street is one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Melbourne and a major accident hotspot. Channeling vehicle traffic down from Duddly Street down Franklin linking up to Victoria Street will only make this intersection worst.  The Council need to close Franklin Street between Swanston and Victoria Street and hand it over to RMIT to allow it to flow into the area and link in with the City Baths.

It is as if Rob Adams and Geoff Robinson are hell bent on destroying Hoddle’s Grid in what ever way they can.  The have extended Collins Street, tried to extend Bourke Street (In name alone) and turned LatTrobe street into a lane with dangerous cross street intersections.

The proposed Queen Victoria Market Franklin Street extension is their “piece de resistance” of utter stupidity in urban design and planning.

Proposed Upgrade of Queen Victoria Market Land Grab: Fails to enhance Melbourne’s iconic precinct

The Melbourne City Council’s concept plans for Melbourne’s iconic Victoria Market is nothing but a land grab that fails to deliver any benefit to the city, the people of Victoria or the interests of the market traders.

The existing car parking site to the South of the Market sheds needs development but it needs to have civic focus and not a high rise residential complex.

The height of the development on this site should not be allowed to exceed the height of the neighbouring Nonda Katsalidis  Equus, Mondo, Roma and Fortuna Terrace Apartments building at the corner of Franklin and Queen Street or the height of the Market historic sheds.

The site should facilitate an underground car park servicing the market and a cluster of laneway shops, dry goods store that complement the Market community services.

The market should also be able to trade 7-days a week with unrestricted times. Bring back wholesale local farmers produce, some bric and brac, second hand goods, local produce and reinstate the vitality it once had.

Remove the Italian house of leather from occupying a predominate spot that brings down the overall appeal of the Market. Bring back Punch and Judy and other community theatrical events. Turn it back into a market of authentic ethnicity.  This can be done now without redevelopment.

The worst aspect of the design concept, developed by Rob “Bamboo” Adams, is the proposed extension of Franklin Street to link up with Dudley Street.

It does not need a park, there is the Flagstaff Gardens nearby and it certainly does not need a road dividing it in half  If anything it should be an open hard edge public space full of activities and events.   The site could have an underground link to Flagstaff Garden’s railway station

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s talk of the Markets redevelopment being the Federation Square of the West is a joke.  Clearly the design concept plan is no Federation Square.

Melbourne’s Planning Scheme in tatters lacking flexibility, innovation and certainty

Melbourne City Council last night demonstrated the Councils inability to provide good governance and proper planning.

The Council’s pride was wounded as the City of Melbourne faced reality that its planning scheme does not meet the demands of a growing and innovative city or facilitate good design.

There was acceptance that the proposed Australia 108 project was a quality development that would contribute to Melbourne built environment.

The City of Melbourne’s ego has been bruised as it realizes that the Council has become irrelevant to Melbourne’s planning system.  The Council’s main objection is that Nonda Katsalidis’s FK Architects
does not comply with the City’s Planning Scheme provision and its established high limit of 100m. The Council has been sidelined in the planning process.

So impressed with the proposed design Deputy Chair of Planning, Cr Stephen Mayne, called on the State Government to make it a condition of the development that Nonda Katsalidis be retained as the projects Architect.

The City of Melbourne employes a fleet of staff and consultants all who are highly paid. Previously Cr Mayne had complained that the Council was only given 14 days to respond to the proposed development, however the council was able to consider and respond to the Minister within a week of being asked to respond to the Ministers invitation.

The problem is not the project design but with the Melbourne Planning Scheme. 

The City Council planning system and its involvement in major projects has been in free fall ever since the City back-downed and supported the shift of the Melbourne Museum from the centre of the city to the outskirts. Whilst the Council remains an advocate in the planning process, it’s credibility and relevance is non exsistant.  Until they become proactive and embrace good design and innovation all the winging and crying in the beer will not help.

Mavrick Stephen Mayne an Embarrassment to City Planning

Maverick City of Melbourne Councillor, Deputy chairman of the Council’s Planning committee and MAV presidential candidate, Stephen Mayne was an embarrassment following criticism by State Minister of Planning, Matthew Guy, that Stephen Mayne failed to understand how Melbourne’s Planning system works.  Mathew Guy speaking to Radio 774 Jon Faine had to point out to Stephen Mayne that the Minister of Planning is the responsible planning authority for major projects in the city greater than 25,000 sq metres
.
The City Council rightly had lost planning control over major projects some 20 years ago.  The Council retains the right of review and advocacy but is no longer judge, jury and prosecutor of planning.

The proposal before the Minister is the construction of a high density residential commercial complex in South Bank. The proposed development designed by renowned architects Fender Katsalidis, when constructed at 388 metres will be the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere

Stephen Mayne, who was elected to the Council in November, admitted in his interview earlier with Jon Faine that he had no qualifications or expertise in planning and design. Stephen Mayne is the Council’s deputy chairman of planning, the chairman is Cr. Ken Ong

In spite the fact that the City Council has known of the project months before Stephen Mayne’s election Cr Mayne criticized the Minister for allowing only 14 days for the Council to respond to the application.

It’s not as though the City Council lacks staff skills and expertise. The Council’s urban planning and design department has a budget of 10’s of millions of dollars and a host of highly paid experts at their disposal. They most certainly should be in a position to respond to the proposed planning application in a timely fashion.
  
The Minister has extended the time limit allocated to the City Council.

Melbourne’s Hidden Verandah Policy

Melbourne City Council Veranda Policy – 
click to view pdf scans

In 1995 the City of Melbourne commissioned Meridith Gould Architects to write a report on Lygon Street’s Verandahs.

The report was later adopted by the City of Melbourne as policy but soon forgotten.  Copies of the report can not be found on the Council web site and is not mentioned in Melbourne Strategic Planning scheme. (Scanned copy available here)

The report was written following efforts by Rob Adams’s urban design team to build above footpath balconies in Lygon Street – a move that would have seen Carlton’s heritage destroyed.   Two above footpath verandah’s were approved before the policy could be implemented.

The space above the footpath is public property and if owners or traders wanted to out door alfresco dining they need to build them within their building envelope and not expand over the footpath.

Meridith Gould in her research uncovered some interesting historical facts about Lygon Street verandahs and provided some good design options that could be considered. Her report is well worth reading and should be the model for ongoing heritage preservation and restoration of Melbourne’s Victorian Street-scapes. Thankfully Rob Adams’s urban design team did not get their way and the damage inflicted on Lygon Street was halted in time before the rot set in.

Following the publication and launch of the Gould report the City of Melbourne at the bequest of Kevin Gosper made available low interest loans to encourage Lygon Street owners and traders to repair or reinstate Victorian heritage verandahs. A policy that had wide community support but has since been forgotten or overlooked by the City Council and Town Planners. 

Melbourne City Council – Holding them to account

Gallery

Welcome to the 2012 Melbourne City Council Election – Unaligned Independent Candidate’s web site Please vote one below-the-line Anthony van der Craats How To Vote Unfortunately due to unfair and unjust limitations voters wishing to support Independent Candidates MUST vote … Continue reading

Vision splended: Melbourne needs a large expansive open space

Decking the rail yards is a good idea. Melbourne is in desperate need large expansive open hard edged open space such as St Peters in Rome.

Our agoraphobic fear of open space has left Melbourne without an accessible outdoor temporary exhibition space. No where in Melbourne is there outdoor space suitable for major cultural events exhibitions or public gatherings.

Federation Square is not a square but more of a undulating forecourt. It’s design and planning a complete disaster.

Question is does Brumby have a real vision and will he get it right?

Jeff Kennett didn’t.

Kennett had a chance to incorporate the Museum into an expanded Federation square but didn’t. Instead of taking center stage the Museum is now located in the inner suburb of Carlton and is languishing as a result from poor attendance and recognition.

Brumby when opposition leader in 1996 had a chance to stop the Museum being built in Carlton but backed down in the last minute. Another lost opportunity and lack of vision and proper planning for Melbourne.

Vision splended: Melbourne needs a large expansive open space

Decking the rail yards is a good idea. Melbourne is in desperate need large expansive open hard edged open space such as St Peters in Rome.

Our agoraphobic fear of open space has left Melbourne without an accessible outdoor temporary exhibition space. No where in Melbourne is there outdoor space suitable for major cultural events exhibitions or public gatherings.

Federation Square is not a square but more of a undulating forecourt. It’s design and planning a complete disaster.

Question is does Brumby have a real vision and will he get it right?

Jeff Kennett didn’t.

Kennett had a chance to incorporate the Museum into an expanded Federation square but didn’t. Instead of taking center stage the Museum is now located in the inner suburb of Carlton and is languishing as a result from poor attendance and recognition.

Brumby when opposition leader in 1996 had a chance to stop the Museum being built in Carlton but backed down in the last minute. Another lost opportunity and lack of vision and proper planning for Melbourne.

Vision splended: Melbourne needs a large expansive open space

Decking the rail yards is a good idea. Melbourne is in desperate need large expansive open hard edged open space such as St Peters in Rome.

Our agoraphobic fear of open space has left Melbourne without an accessible outdoor temporary exhibition space. No where in Melbourne is there outdoor space suitable for major cultural events exhibitions or public gatherings.

Federation Square is not a square but more of a undulating forecourt. It’s design and planning a complete disaster.

Question is does Brumby have a real vision and will he get it right?

Jeff Kennett didn’t.

Kennett had a chance to incorporate the Museum into an expanded Federation square but didn’t. Instead of taking center stage the Museum is now located in the inner suburb of Carlton and is languishing as a result from poor attendance and recognition.

Brumby when opposition leader in 1996 had a chance to stop the Museum being built in Carlton but backed down in the last minute. Another lost opportunity and lack of vision and proper planning for Melbourne.

Vision splended: Melbourne needs a large expansive open space

Decking the rail yards is a good idea. Melbourne is in desperate need large expansive open hard edged open space such as St Peters in Rome.

Our agoraphobic fear of open space has left Melbourne without an accessible outdoor temporary exhibition space. No where in Melbourne is there outdoor space suitable for major cultural events exhibitions or public gatherings.

Federation Square is not a square but more of a undulating forecourt. It’s design and planning a complete disaster.

Question is does Brumby have a real vision and will he get it right?

Jeff Kennett didn’t.

Kennett had a chance to incorporate the Museum into an expanded Federation square but didn’t. Instead of taking center stage the Museum is now located in the inner suburb of Carlton and is languishing as a result from poor attendance and recognition.

Brumby when opposition leader in 1996 had a chance to stop the Museum being built in Carlton but backed down in the last minute. Another lost opportunity and lack of vision and proper planning for Melbourne.

Going Solar A shadow of doubt and practicality hangs over the Greens

The Greens candidature for the City of Melbourne centers around a catch phrase of “A solar panel on every roof” delivering renewable energy for Melbourne.

Whilst the push for clean renewable energy is a worthy cause issues of practicality make it impossible to install a solar panel on every roof. Most of inner Melbourne with the exception of the tallest buildings are in shadow. Solar panels just would not work in a high density built environment. What happens if you or your neighbors invest in the installation of a solar system and a building near-by is later built that casts a shadow across your roof, do you have the right to claim or seek compensation for the loss of sunlight. Melbourne’s planning scheme provides for four hours of sunlight at the equinox and in many circumstances in the inner city this is not achievable. The Solar dream is just that. A dream limited by the practical realities of physics more so then political policy. The City Council’s luxury six star administration building itself has failed to deliver in the promises with many features of the building’s design not living up to expectations or functionality. An independent building performance audit should be undertaken and less self adulation and promotional activity. But that would place another dent in the City Council’s reputation of competence and an honest performance appraisal is beyond comprehension.

The Greens are not in a winning position to secure the Lord mayoralty but they will secure a seat at the Council table. Hopefully the Green’s will make a positive contribution to Melbourne’s future development but ideology should not supersede or dictate realities on the ground or as the case may be “up on the roof”.