A TOWER AT OUR BACK DOOR

June and Graeme’s unit is one of seven dwellings that could have a 19m high development at their back door if councillors endorse the panel’s recommendations at the next council meeting to be held on Tuesday the 26th of August. The proposals narrow rear setback of 3 metres will ensure a claustrophobic outlook for these unfortunate owners, Council’s original suggestion of wider setbacks and a reduced height of development, though still repressive, could be more acceptable if councillors were to amend the recommendations.

PDF Graeme and June     Click bottom right hand of page to enlarge.

Above link to photo from Weekly Review showing Graeme and June outside their unit indicating the height of the 19m development in relation to their home with forefinger left hand.

The following part includes a summary of events, the Jackson Court Urban Planning Analysis and the outlook for owners of single storey dwellings immediately behind the 19m proposal……. 

……….In 2008 Woolworths converted their Safeway supermarket in Jackson Court Doncaster East to a Dan Murphys. A replacement Aldi supermarket was proposed by the council in the Jackson Court car park but was essentially stifled by Woolworths objections.

A private enterprise, Mimmo Holdings, on their existing premises in a residential zone at 3-11 Mitchell St  made application to council for a 19 metre high by 95 metre long building consisting of :- 2 levels of underground parking, a ground level supermarket, 3 levels of apartments (65) and replace their existing restaurant and reception on top as the 5 th level.  As this was contrary to current council planning requirements and policies, a zone change (to MUZ) was required to allow retail and the excessive height of this proposal.

Assessment of the application by council officers presented at council meeting of 27 August 2013 recommended rejection of this application due to the proposed development being excessively high at 19 m and contrary to current council policy and guidelines.

At this meeting some Manningham councillors overrode their own officers’ report in favour of the commercial development proposal.  Only 2 councillors had the fortitude to agree with their council officers’ assessment. Subsequent public input further endorsed the excessive height, inappropriate set back from adjoining residential properties, overshadowing, amongst other issues.

The ensuing Planning and Environment Panel Report , 25 June 2014, for Manningham Planning Scheme Amendment C95 and Planning Application PL11/021966 , stated “We do consider the scale and bulk of this building is less than acceptable than it might be.. Indeed we gave consideration to whether the building should be reduced in height by one storey to mitigate its visual impacts.”

However the panel rejected this in favour of the proponent’s suggestion that the extent of the residential component was required to make it financially viable.  Refer page 53 of the report.  (Note no evidence was provided to support this suggestion)

At the panel hearing, council’s legal representative stated that council has given a concession for the excessive height for this proposal, just to get a supermarket.

To ensure a supermarket was actually built and maintained on this site, council included a section 173 agreement. It did not include any limiting time frames. However the applicant suggested 10.5 years and the panel report 15 years.  Both these timeframes are contrary to what was advertised in the application process to which the community based their comments and / or objections.  Long term certainty of the supermarket is now in question.

Many arguments presented to council and the panel hearing during the “consultation process” included expert statements. Indeed council officers used an external expert who supported their assessment that this application, among other things, was excessively high.  A councillor in rejecting the officer’s report on 27 August 2013, stated “..and when I hear about experts, and there are experts in anything, and experts will write whatever you want them to write..”

Yet at the panel hearing expert statements are accepted and decisions therefore based.  Is this a double standard? Such gross reversal of council policies and guidelines has never been endorsed before.

It is a sad day when so called commercial viability overrides the existence of residential zoning and the ultimate detrimental effect on residential properties. Particularly when a smaller minimart could quite easily be established in the existing commercial zone of Jackson Court, thus satisfying the community need for a supermarket in Jackson Court.

It is also interesting that Jackson Court traders and the applicant have intimated this proposal will go ahead.  Do they know something that the average resident doesn’t?

Council makes its decision, following a review of the Panel Report, on 26 August 2014 and then forwards their decision to Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, for his ruling. His decision is final without any appeal process.

One can only hope for a rational decision that addresses the excessive height.

June & Graeme , severely effected residents

western boundary photo                                                     Our unit abutting development

 

jackson court urban design analysis_final report 23 august 2013

The above report was commissioned by Manningham Council but rejected by its councillors

 

2 Responses to “A TOWER AT OUR BACK DOOR”

  1. Patrick says:

    Council had sought independent urban design advice from Planisphere consultants in August 2013. Planisphere had recommended that a maximum overall height of 14.5 metres (four storeys) across should apply with a maximum street wall height of 11 metres (three storeys).They also recommended a maximum height of 7.2 metres (two storeys) for walls on a boundary adjoining a residential property”. They recommended a “DDO control over the entire JCNAC stipulating a mandatory maximum height of 14.5m as well as setback controls” which would have been acceptable to traders and residents and especially shop owners who would have had equal opportunity
    I am gobsmacked as to why Manningham would pay out a considerable amount of ratepayers funds (approximately $15,000) to engage Planisphere Urban Design Analysis, to support their own report, but not call upon them to appear at the panel hearing!

  2. Jackson Court says:

    http://www.manningham.vic.gov.au/file/841/download
    http://www.manningham.vic.gov.au/file/846/download

    The above links contain the audio of the council debate, regarding discussion on the height of Mitchell Street, where the councillor, in challenging a consultant’s report, asserts that “experts will write whatever you want them to write” This puts into question the integrity of the entire process if that is the case.

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