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Supreme Court dismisses appeal. Lend Lease wins – for now.

September 19, 2013

Orrong Groupies, Stonnington Council top brass and media attended this morning’s announcement. The wait was long but the finding was handed down in about five minutes. Bad news, travels fast. Here’s the media release (slightly edited) we wrote. BTW – look out for us on the TV and radio news bulletins. 

Orrong Group media release: Thursday September 19, 2003

Supreme Court decision further erodes objectors’ democratic planning rights.

re: Case – VCAT ruled that `the extent of resident opposition is irrelevant `.
Respondents – Stonnington Council V Lend Lease & Larkfield Pty Ltd
Project – 590 Orrong Road Armadale proposed development.

The Orrong Group is devastated at the Supreme Court decision delivered this morning. The finding supports the VCAT ruling that `the extent of resident opposition is irrelevant’ to their consideration of the merits of a development.

Based on this ruling the voices of the community will not have their collective concerns given due consideration in the planning process regarding inappropriate development in any neighbourhood, anywhere.

Stonnington Council, the responsible authority will have its planning powers diminished and residents input and support further eroded. 

The disastrous Supreme Court ruling, further compounded by grossly increased VCAT fees, will result in vastly reduced objections and community views not fully reflected in VCAT deliberations. The Stonnington community and all Victorians will experience increased inappropriate development with permanent deleterious impact on neighbourhood character and community cohesion.

Members of the Victorian Government directly involved in this matter should now act to deliver more than simple platitudes regarding respect for all communities’ democratic rights and views regarding how their neighbourhood will develop.

Orrong Group is now in its fourth year and will continue to fight the towers.  Orrong Group wishes to express its gratitude to City of Stonnington which decided to appeal VCAT’s decision and fight the towers.  

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Monday February 18 is decision night. Join us 7pm.

February 16, 2013

This message is so important we have spent our remaining funds on a supply of UPPER CASE letters to maximise its impact.

We need you at MALVERN TOWN HALL this Monday 7pm.

STONNINGTON COUNCIL, AFTER A TWO WEEK POSTPONEMENT, WILL MAKE ITS FINAL DECISION THIS MONDAY ON PLANNING PANEL VICTORIA’S REPORT FOR 590 ORRONG ROAD.

THIS PROPOSAL WAS PREVIOUSLY CALLED AN URBAN DESIGN FRAMEWORK – IT IS NOW CALLED AMENDMENT C153.

THE PANEL’S REPORT WAS A DISAPPOINTMENT, FAILING TO RECOMMEND ANY MANDATORY HEIGHT LIMITS OR DENSITY LIMITS FOR THE SITE.

HOWEVER COUNCIL’S PROPOSAL FOR AN 8 STOREY HEIGHT LIMIT DOES NOT RESPOND TO THE COMMUNITY’S CONSISTENT REQUESTS FOR LOWER HEIGHTS AND DENSITY REFLECTING THE CHARACTER OF THE SURROUNDS.

WE REQUEST COUNCIL TO ABIDE BY ITS DECISION OF 21 NOVEMBER 2011 TO SEEK A MAXIMUM HEIGHT LIMIT OF 17 METRES AND A MAXIMUM DENSITY OF 250 UNITS.

WE HAVE MADE USE OF THE COUNCIL’S 14 DAY DEFERRAL OF DECISION TO STUDY ALL PROPOSALS AND HAVE FORWARDED OUR RESPONSE TO COUNCILLORS.

WE ASK COUNCILLORS TO ABIDE BY THEIR WELL-CONSIDED DECISION OF 21 NOVEMBER 2011 ARRIVED AT THROUGH MANY SUBMISSIONS AND MEETINGS WITH THE COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE REMAINED CONSISTENT IN SEEKING A LOW-TO-MEDIUM DENSITY RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR 590. OUR REQUESTS REFLECT THE COMMUNITy’S REASONABLE VIEWS EXPRESSED CONSISTENTLY OVER 3 YEARS. WHAT HAS THE COMMUNITY REGULARLY ASKED FOR?

HEIGHT LEVELS – LIMIT OF 17 METRES IN LINE WITH THE EXISTING BUILDING ON THE SITE.  THIS IS IN PROPORTION TO THE LOW LEVEL SURROUNDS.  IT IS IN LINE WITH THE DEFINITION OF MEDIUM DENSITY. 

DENSITY – MAXIMUM OF 250 UNITS IE 100 UNITS PER HECTARE (SITE IS 2.5 HECTARES). WELL DOCUMENTED AS MEDIUM DENSITY.

SITE COVERAGE– NO MORE THAN 50%- THIS SHOULD ALLOW FOR A GOOD PERCENTAGE OF OPEN SPACE.

SETBACKS FROM BORDERS – MINIMUM SETBACKS OF 6 METRES AROUND THE WHOLE SITE. WE FEEL 6 METRES IS JUST ACCEPTABLE AND THE MINIMUM THE COMMUNITY WILL ACCEPT.

HERITAGE AREAS – WE HAVE ASKED FOR THE DEVELOPMENT TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE ABBUTING HERITAGE TOORAK STATION & BEATTY AVENUE AND THE HERITAGE RESIDENTIAL AREAS TO THE EAST.

ALTHOUGH COUNCIL IS FOLLOWING A MINISTERIAL DIRECTION TO MAKE A DECISION WITHIN 40 WORKING DAYS OF RECEIPT OF THE PANEL REPORT THERE IS PROVISION TO SEEK AN EXTENSION OF TIME.

WE FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO RUSH THIS AMENDMENT – IT IS TOO IMPORTANT.  AS COUNCILLOR SEHR SAID ON 4 FEBRUARY “ WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE SITE AT 590 ORRONG ROAD WILL CHANGE THE FACE OF ARMADALE FOR EVER  SO WE MUST GET IT RIGHT.”

WE NEED YOU TO COME TO THE MEETING NEXT MONDAY NIGHT 18 FEBRUARY AT 7PM THE MEETING WILL BE HELD IN THE MAIN HALL SO THE COUNCIL IS EXPECTING A BIG CROWD. LET US FILL THE SPACE WITH VOTERS. THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE TO ACHIEVE PROTECTION FOR 590 ORRONG ROAD.

Council has been brave to challenge VCAT’s decision in the Supreme Court this April. Not every Council takes on the Big V. We appreciate this and hope to see similar courage now. 

BAD news. Act before 5PM Monday Feb 4.

February 1, 2013

We’ll try to keep this simple but as you may have gathered, planning is complicated so sit up straight, pop on your Specsavers and pay attention:

For a long time we’ve been updating you on the Urban Design Framework (UDF) which is a development blueprint for a given area. UDFs are supposed to set broad limits and expectations. Legally speaking the UDF is called an “Amendment”. The UDF for 590 Orrong Road Armadale is Amendment 153. The body that approves such Amendments is Planning Panels Victoria (PPV). You may not have heard of PPV but right now it holds great power over the way our suburb will or won’t be developed.

On 20 December 2013 the report by Planning Panels Victoria on its deliberations on the Council Amendment proposal was forwarded to the Stonnington Council. It is of course deeply detailed, foreboding and long but for the masochists among you here it is:

 To save you time here’s our view:

We hoped the UDF would give protection to the site and limit height and density of any development. To our great disappointment the Panel recommended that Amendment 153 should not include any height or density limits or specify any requirement for public open space. No, seriously. This of course means that the developer can go as high as it wishes and can impose a high density. The developer can pack as many buildings on the site as it wishes.

Now you know why you didn’t have the Planning Panels Victoria folk around over the Festive Season.

The Council staff presented their recommendation to the Councillors on Tuesday 29 January. Council staff have recommended sticking to most of the Panel Report except for the panel’s recommendation not to impose any height limits and a few other issues.

Councillors are due to make a decision at the public meeting on 4th February and has three options:

·to abandon the amendment;

·to adopt the amendment with all the changes as recommended by the Panel;

·to adopt the amendment with changes to the recommended Panel report.

As the Panel report excludes all the key issues we have been working for over the last 3 years – height, density limits and public open space – we have to urge the Council to abandon the amendment and put forward the original amendment for 5 storeys and 250 density and 50 % open space for the Minister’s decision.

What (the hell) now?

Seven of our Councillors have had no experience of this development and we cannot expect them to understand all the issues. It is up to you to brief them so they can make an informed decision. We feel that the Council Officers’ report is misleading in a number of areas and we need to respond to it. The Councillors will not be able to appreciate the issues form just a study of these papers.

So please get on to your email and telephone and contact the Councillors before Monday night. The contact details are at the end of this post. A phone call is worth five emails so ring if possible.

What should we say?

To defer any decision on the Panel Report and the Council staffs’ recommendations until the community has time to give their response to both reports.

Point out that without mandatory height limits the developer can easily seek amendments of their planning application and seek any height they wish.

The 8 storey height now advocated by the Council Staff (overturning Council’s previous decision to keep the height to 5.5 storeys) is not based an any rationale. Note the reasons given- the developers height of 10/11 storeys is too high and the 5.5 storey height is too low so ” lets go in between”! to 8 storeys.

The 5.5 storey height is the only suggestion with any rationale- it is the height of the long standing existing buildings on the site and that height is more in keeping with the low level surrounding area.

The decision by both the Panel and the Council Officers to not state any density levels is inexplicable. Gobsmacking! Do Council staff think that having four people around for dinner is the same as having 16 or 32 or 64? Of course not – density is key!

Do your best to persuade the Councillors to understand the community’s longstanding battle to achieve a development that reflects the surrounds, one of good design and of public open space – a development that the community will be proud of. Remember that Lend Lease and Larkside propose 19 buildings ranging form 10/11 storeys, 9, 8 ,6, 4, 3, 2, storeys, 466 unit density, minimal setbacks, minimal useable open space.

HOW DOES THIS ALL FIT WITH THE SUPREME COURT APPEAL?

The appeal for April 16 and 17 2013 is still on track.  The UDF or Amendment 153 may come into play if things go badly. That’s why the OG committee is spending an inordinate amount of time fighting the battle on this front.

Contacts

Cr Matthew Koce, Mayor of Stonnington

Email: mkoce@stonnington.vic.gov.au

Mobile: 0419 147 352

Cr John Chandler

Email: jchandler@stonnington.vic.gov.au

Mobile: 0417 771 288

Cr Melina Sehr

Email: msehr@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0417 773 644

Cr Jami Klisaris

Email: jklisaris@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0427 333 471

Cr Claude Ullin

cullin@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0417 773 833

Cr Sam Hibbins

shibbins@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0427 323 375

Cr Erin Davie

Email: edavie@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0427 315 346

Cr John McMorrow

Email: jmcmorrow@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0427 352 455

Cr Adrian Stubbs

astubbs@stonnington.vic.gov.au Mobile: 0427 318 257

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