Car Stackers Unsuitable For Residential and Incompatible With Manningham “Green Hill” Policy

Hepburn Rd in Doncaster has raised quite a raft of issues, one of the particularly poignant is the use of Car stackers to increase density. The efficient use of space has it’s merit, but read on to see the extent of the down side, hardly a worthy or workable balance. This has been sent to the Koonung Ward Councilors, asking for their assistance as the case goes to VCAT.


Dear Councillor, Continue reading Car Stackers Unsuitable For Residential and Incompatible With Manningham “Green Hill” Policy →

Code Assess to remove residents right to appeal developments

This has been discussed for a while, and now looks like it could go ahead as soon as  July !

All the more reason to tighten up the councils planning rules NOW.

Tell your MPs NO.


Planning reform blocks appeals         Jason Dowling                        The AGE         March 15, 2012

A DRAMATIC overhaul to the state’s planning system will soon mean residents will not be notified of thousands of new development proposals or be able to object to them.

The government says the new planning system to be introduced in State Parliament by July will cut red tape, reduce waiting times and free up council resources for complex planning issues.

Under the changes – one of the biggest overhauls of the state’s planning laws in a decade – councils and communities will define what development is allowed in their area, including height and density, and then applications matching the definition will be fast-tracked through the planning system.

Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said the new system would reduce community consultation in planning decisions.

”Communities will be locked out and watch helplessly as historical buildings and tree-lined streets are attacked by [Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s] wrecking ball and replaced by high-rise skyscrapers,” he said.

The new planning system is expected to apply to more than one in five development applications and will require them to be processed within 10 working days with no notification or appeal rights for neighbours.

The system, called ”code assess”, will initially be used by local councils for processing low-level planning issues such as extensions and dual occupancy developments.

But the system is also intended for key development areas across Melbourne – Box Hill, Broadmeadows, Dandenong, Footscray, Frankston, and Ringwood – to process development applications that could include apartment towers of more than 20 storeys.

Mr Guy said the new system would add ”certainty and clarity” to planning.

He said guidelines for development set by councils and communities would be mandatory and developers would only be able to appeal a council’s decision if it was inconsistent with the area’s new planning code.

”It will determine what can be built and where,” he said.

Bill McArthur, president of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said the planning system needed improvement but warned, ”clear policy and objective criteria must be agreed with the community before removing public notice and third party appeal rights”.

”Until this happens, councils will remain concerned about including some single dwellings, extensions and multi-units in a fast-track process,” he said.

Mary Drost, from community group Planning Backlash, said councils and the community should set the rules for development in their areas and developers should not be able to appeal the decisions under the new accelerated planning process. ”If it’s out – it’s out,” she said.

Victoria’s building and development industry has long advocated for an accelerated planning application system. The Property Council’s Victorian executive director, Jennifer Cunich, said changes to planning laws would help economic growth.

Gil King, of the Housing Industry Association, said developments that met existing planning guidelines were chewing up council time and resources in a drawn-out approval process.

”This will actually make it clearer, if it meets the requirements it will be approved much more quickly, it will streamline the whole process.”

Draft Res Strategy Meeting for Koonung – Cr Reid got the message

It was great to see Cr Reid understood our points when we highlighted the loose wording in the draft residential strategy. Several Manningham resident groups were represented at last nights meeting, a lot was discussed, some focus was decided upon, all good.

We made it clear there are some good sections in the Draft residential strategy, that are destroyed by single word.  “SHOULD”.

Now everyone knows that if you are going to make a rule, and make it legally enforceable, then words like “MUST”, “Maximum”, “MINIMUM”, & “Limited to”, make it enforceable. Words like “SHOULD”, “PREFER”, “ENCOURAGE”, are a one way trip to the VCAT tribunal and unhappy residents.

The Council has stated they want to make this better,  to remove confusion for Council Planning Dept, Residents, and the VCAT Tribunal.

So lets set the limits in clear terms that can’t be twisted by any-one. and lets do it before it passes council, and is left to the Review Panel.

Cr LaVella, and Cr Mayne have also met with concerned residents, lets hope they too understood the residents concerns, and were willing to fight for them.

We need a big turn out at the next council meeting ( Tuesday 27th of  March – 7pm council building.) to remind the councilors that they are representing their voters, on that night.

Manningham changed permit from 150 to 273 apartments without public disclosure !

Should they be able to?    Well they did it!

Council are processing an application to amend an existing permit at 642-648 Doncaster Road (the adjacent corner to the Pinnacle) that proposes to increase the apartment tally from 150 to 273. We would not have known had we not spotted it on the Planning Register via the Manningham Council Website.

Directions on how to access the planning register are available on this website FAQ

Whilst it may not be in your area of concern it is important to note, that should the amendment be endorsed, it will set a precedent where future permits can be similarly altered without public scrutiny.

This Major change to an existing Permit,  where no signage was erected on site, only one neighboring property was advised,  and where Council are empowered to determine whether or not it is in the public interest to publicise a proposed amendment. Continue reading Manningham changed permit from 150 to 273 apartments without public disclosure ! →

How do I find the progress of a planning proposal ?

from our FAQ pages

Q: How do I find the status of a Planning application at Manningham council ?

A: Tricky – it’s sort of hidden – follow these steps:

  1. To access Planning Register go to Manningham Council website,
  2. Go to right hand top corner and click on quick links,
  3. Continue reading How do I find the progress of a planning proposal ? →

Manningham Draft Residential Strategy – Meeting Tues 13th March 7pm.

For those of you who were not at the Manningham council meeting last week…

We managed to stop the council approving the Draft Residential Strategy , when it went to vote.  (One Month Stay)

Now we have to attack it and try to improve it before council do vote at the end of this month (Tues 27 March)  We are told we will be able to have further input after the vote, but we think the frame-work is too dodgy to let go through.

So if you are willing and able, lend your brain to this think tank and help us get the frame work in order.

 By the way – still no answer from VCAT on Curlew court.


We have to work within the framework of the published “draft Residential Strategy” as it was in the council agenda last week. We are unlikely to replace it, so we need to point out it’s failings and suggest better words in their places. Also key is to highlight conflicting sections.

Draft Res Strategy: See section 9.1  After that Cr Reid will have to lobby the other voting councilors to get a vote in for these changes. We will need to get residents in all Manningham wards to contact and lobby their councilors to join our meeting with Cr Reid or have their own equivalent.…

Attention: Tues March 13th Koonung ward residents meeting with Councilor Reid to submit our guidance on the Draft Residential Strategy Review shortcomings. 7pm to 9pm / Tuesday 13-3-2012 / location : Manningham council Building.

All other Manningham Wards welcome too – but bring your own councilor – we all need their vote on this plan that greatly affects our futures in Manningham. If your councilor can’t make this one – get them to set their own meeting date.

Have your thoughts clear, and written down for discussion & inclusion on the night. Note Council have advised that further resident input will be sought after the council vote clears this stage to progress further. This session is about high-lighting the following:

  • ·         Ambiguous areas,
  • ·         Removing Discretion, encouragement, and other loose terms, and stating how they can be written clearly for both residents and developers.
  • ·         The focus of residents, what matters, how we want it mentioned – Eg height limits in Storeys and metres.
  • ·         Defining statements – how much growth is planned and allowed.
  • ·         Neighborhood character, Amenity, infrastructure considerations.
  • ·         Frame work that can be detailed during further discussions, not diluted.
  • ·         Etc.

 Fine details will come in the next section, this is about strong frame work.

We will be unlikely to change it all before the vote, so we need to work on the key framework areas that concern us the most, and have them included in the vote.

We will be putting together some workshop groups prior to the meeting, suggest you do the same with your neighbors…


For Example – see our article last week.

Draft Residential Strategy

 Having Recently been through VCAT, and been part of long arguments about what was intended for sites less than 1800m2, we can tell you the proposed changes in this strategy document do not clarify or go far enough.

 The mandatory limits are an improvement, but they DO NOT stop 3 storey developments on sites under 1800m2, in DD08.

They allow 10 meters on both DD08 Precinct A&B, and 10 meters is enough for three Storeys.

                         See 1.27 For example 1800m2 in Precinct B is ENCOURAGED as Two Storeys, but not limited to.

                        In Precinct A, 1800m2  gets you 10m or 11 on a slope. again “encouragement” not rules.

            If the Council wants to clarify for all including VCAT, there can be no doubt.

 As for the new Precinct + Main Road, Council discretion for extra height, and small sites is not a fixed rule, and what about the neighbors behind that extra height?

Draft Residential Strategy

Draft Residential Strategy – Delayed at Council meeting – Thankyou

Due mostly to you all, and your letters to council, the draft Strategy was not passed last night, rather it has been held back for ONE month to allow us all to review and raise issues with our councilors. Cr Reid conveyed the story well.

At the next council meeting alterations can be discussed / proposed / and hopefully included, before it goes to the next stage of review.

We have been told we the residents will get more input after the vote, however we already see major conflicts, weaknesses, and ambiguities in the base document that we think should be addressed before it moves on.

The Koonung ward councilors are arranging a meeting with any-one who has input  – likely date evening of March 13th  – so by then we need to have torn the document apart, exposed i’s weaknesses, and proposed a better way.


Any-one ready, willing and able please contact us to join in the workshops. We are merging several Manningham groups into this one


Continue reading Draft Residential Strategy – Delayed at Council meeting – Thankyou →

The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!

For those many of you who have attended Council public input workshops, see if any (All,) of this rings a bell.

And Next time Arrive Prepared !

The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!

By Albert V. Burns

More and more, we are seeing citizens being invited to “participate” in various forms of meetings, councils, or boards to “help determine” public policy in one field or another. They are supposedly being included to get ”input” from the public to help officials make final decisions on taxes, education, community growth or whatever the particular subject matter might be.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, surface appearances are often deceiving.

You, Mr. or Mrs. Citizen, decide to take part in one of these meetings.

Generally, you will find that there is already someone designated to lead or “facilitate” the meeting. Supposedly, the job of the facilitator is to be a neutral, non-directing helper to see that the meeting flows smoothly.

Actually, he or she is there for exactly the opposite reason: to see that the conclusions reached during the meeting are in accord with a plan already decided upon by those who called the meeting.

The process used to “facilitate” the meeting is called the Delphi Technique. This Delphi Technique was developed by the RAND Corporation for the U.S. Department of Defense back in the 1950s. It was originally intended for use as a psychological weapon during the cold war.

However, it was soon recognized that the steps of Delphi could be very valuable in manipulating ANY meeting toward a predetermined end.

How does the process take place? The techniques are well developed and well defined. Continue reading The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated! →

Growth Lobby got it wrong. Report to MATTHEW GUY

This Brief report shows that even the seasoned experts on growth agree the high density growth plans are not working…

More details on the links below.


WE MET YESTERDAY and  Bob presented to Matthew a section of his latest study.   The section dealt with projected housing needs and populations forecasts.

In very brief  –  he told Matthew  the growth lobby have it wrong and that his studies show what is needed looking down the next 10 years  is not high rise but family friendly homes.

  • That the population increase has slowed dramatically, mainly because the bottom has dropped out of the foreign student market.
  • That the birth rate is going to slow.
  • That we will soon follow Sydney and start losing people because the price of houses is so high.
  • That there were many  years supply of building blocks available already, but the developers release very slowly to keep the price up.
  • That high density and high rise in activity centres and neighbourhood centres is not working, and  will not work,   what has been happening instead is infill.

Bob has checked these words and agrees that I got it right


Mary        ( Marvelous Melbourne / Planning Backlash )

 Dr Bob Birrell

Bob has a degree in economics from Melbourne University, in history from University of London (first class honours) and a PhD in Sociology from Princeton University. Most of his academic work has been at Monash University and since 1991 this work has focussed on running the CPUR. He has acted as an advisor on immigration issues to both Labor and Coalition governments and was a member of the Commonwealth Government’s National Population Council from 1987–1993. Recently he was a member of the independent Review of the General Skilled Migration Program which reported in May 2006.

Car Stackers, Don’t Stack up for residential use.

 It is not surprising that residents are getting angry and vocal about the techniques used to push development yields beyond reasonable limits…

It has been confirmed that the loading times are not the 20 seconds average explained t o councilors, rather up to 118 seconds plus the time to get in or out and load / unload your cars. Added to that more than 44% of currently selling vehicles will not fit ……(27.1 % SUVs and 17.1% light commercial), and you can bet there will be a lot of cars choosing to park on the street. And in Hepbun st there are only 25 spaces for EVERYONE.

“What a stupid and mindless decision by Manningham Council to approve the use of a car stacker system in the 15 storey apartment development at 20-24 Hepburn Road Doncaster Hill. This allows an increase in Council’s estimated number of dwellings for the site, based on standard basement at-grade parking, from 100 to 188. With a precedent now set for the future use of stacker parking, the approval gives the green light for similar overdevelopments throughout the area. The tenuous infrastructure of the Doncaster Hill Activity Centre, so heavily reliant on neighbouring Box Hill for medical, tertiary education facilities and rail transport, will be overwhelmed with such an increase in population, traffic and parking overspill. While Westfield traders will be delighted with the potential boost to their purchaser catchment, the integrity and independence of Council’s decision making must surely be examined”.

 Reg and Mary

The attachment here Apartment assumptions on Doncaster Hill from the Manningham website shows that 20-24 Hepburn Rd was only intended to be half the size now being proposed – half the size is what would be more likely without the car stackers….


Car sales Mix does not fit Stackers…

Percentage Mix

  Month YTD Variance +/- Vol. & %





















Light Commercial







Heavy Commercial







Total Market