Are we alone in our struggle ? Don’t you believe it…

You might think that our struggle is very specific, very local. Maybe only because of the Doncaster Hill strategy, or only because of DD08 Zoning… well you would be very wrong.

…Read on for a list of over 120 groups in Victoria alone…

You see over the last couple of weeks alone,  we have received calls from people in Doncaster Hill precinct about 188 apartments on three blocks. From a Doncaster lane “DD08 zone” scared about four blocks in a row all for sale at the same time, and what could happen. Even a call from a group in Horsfall St Templestowe Heights, one of the “Protected Res3 Zones” and how the local shops are now developed to consume all the local parking and the skyline. All that does sound very local, however…

If you have been following us you will have noted the Boronia group, a little further out have the same issues, and there are many more. If you want to know really how many groups are fighting poor planning and over development, then you should have a look at probably the Biggest collection of resident groups like us, shown here at the Marvelous Melbourne Website. There’s go  to be over 120 Registered groups there. there is also a lot of good news on our favourite topics.

Beyond that, the groups also feed Planning Backlash. Continue reading Are we alone in our struggle ? Don’t you believe it… →

Maidstone residents rail at ‘inconsistent’ VCAT rulings

Another Example of how difficult it is to deal with development proposals and VCAT.

And another example of why anyone fighting over developments should attend our VCAT appeals workshop Thursday Aug 25th.

This article in the Maribynong weekly Maidstone residents rail at ‘inconsistent’ VCAT rulings

…MAIDSTONE residents have, within the space of two days, won and lost battles against what they say is overdevelopment in their street.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month ruled against an appeal by Marsh Street residents over the construction of three dwellings on one block.

Two days later, VCAT handed down a decision favouring residents and overturning Maribyrnong Council’s approval of two two-storey houses on a block in the same street…

It sure is a mine field to deal with,

  • You get your case heard at Local Council,
  • If the developer loses they take it to VCAT,
  • If you loose you might take it to VCAT..
  • If you go to VCAT – do you represent yourselves ?  You might get the right of reply. Lawyers don’t
  • Do you need “experts” to explain your point, like the developer will have.
  • Do you have lawyers, and how do you pay for them ?

Well for $25,  next week – Thursday the 25th of August, you can ask those and other questions of Lawyers who deal with just these things. See our Event

And while we are there we will discuss how to change the whole state planning system…

How does VCAT work, How do I Change the Planning System?

Whether we like it or Not, if we have a dis-agreement with a development, and it goes through the council review process, it is likely to end up being argued & resolved at VCAT.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT.)

Now the developers know how VCAT Works, but most of us don’t, so we have arranged for an evening Workshop to spell it out. And while we are there, we have added another important topic – how to present a submission to the State Planning Review, which is of course our chance to tell them what’s wrong with the whole Planning system.

This is a double Workshop, presented by the Environment Defenders Office (EDO)

“VCAT Planning & Environment Appeals.”  + “Planning System Review workshop.”

 One night, two important topics.    Bookings are essential RSVP below.  Thursday August 25th, 2011 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

For more details – follow this link and RSVP

 EDO Banner

 Workshop flyer  2011-08-25 RAIDID EDO VCAT Planning workshop Suitable for Printing and Emailing.

Less Developments in Side Streets: 17% will do it.

Following on from yesterday’s proof that we don’t need high density apartments in DD08 and side streets, lets consider today, how little development is needed in side streets at all.

Less than 17% more of the 6080 DD08 sites, do actually need to be developed as town houses to achieve the growth Manningham council has planned up to 2030…


Remember Town houses maintain existing local character, can fit on-site parking, spread the traffic load around the area. Don’t shadow anything like a 3 storey apartment, and look a whole lot better.

So this is how it works out. Continue reading Less Developments in Side Streets: 17% will do it. →

Planning for Growth – Achieved Without High Density Apartments ?

There is a big push in Manningham to be ready for the growth that the state Government has pushed upon us in the 2030 plan. But really, how much growth is needed ?

Could it be achieved without High Density apartments ?    HELL YEAH !

Well Manningham Council has shown us what is needed, but you have to do some sums to see the truth. Now there are a few key targets that have been identified as the basis of the 2030 plan:

  1. Population growth of 0.8% each year.
  2. Growth is to be focused in the DD08 Activity areas.
  3. There will be a high portion of lone person households.

Well to achieve this 0.8% compounding population Growth Manningham needs to add 4,755 homes.

And if all that growth was built solely in DD08 zones, then by 2030, Manningham would need to increase density inside DD08 zones by 75%  – LESS THAN DOUBLE  ( 175% times current ) Continue reading Planning for Growth – Achieved Without High Density Apartments ? →

First of the planned 10 storeys apartments to be built and occupied on the Doncaster Hill activity centre.

Affordable Housing 95-97 Tram Road Doncaster : 98 apartments and 130 car spaces ( As seen on ABC News)

The 10-storey development includes 48 one-bedroom apartments, 30 two-bedroom apartments and 20 three-bedroom apartments.

This will be the first of the planned 10 storeys apartments to be built and occupied on the Doncaster Hill activity centre.

The state government were concerned at the slow progress of high-rise apartment towers on Doncaster Hill and determined they would provide funding to stimulate further high-rise development, while providing access to cheaper housing.

We were surprised a government funded development of this density would be built so far outside of the city, it is not an ideal location since it is car driven, it has poor infrastructure, lack of a railway and limited opportunities for employment. Many residents will be forced into car ownership to access amenities and services and to provide transport to and from work.

We are not against supported housing, there definitely needs to be help for the community, and you shouldn’t stereo type who will live there, even nice families need help. You could even say the building looks nice, as far as multistory developments go.

              But why put it in that location?          See below for Traffic, Parking, & Birthdays. Continue reading First of the planned 10 storeys apartments to be built and occupied on the Doncaster Hill activity centre. →

State Planning MP lowers height limit

“reasonable residential development in residential areas that adjoin activity centres”.

Council and community heard on Boronia planning.

Well here’s some encouraging news, you may have seen the Boronia Community fight on Channel 7 news a week ago, or heard them before that.

They are tackling the same issues we are, and are a step or two ahead of us. The great part of this is that they have now set the precedent for allowing consideration, ( not just Zone rule limits,) when council and VCAT review development proposals.

Read on below for the release from Mathew Guy’s Office ( State Planning Minister.)

This is the Group in Boronia that have done very well – have a look at their efforts.



Knox City Council will be able to consider whatever height limits it chooses in the Boronia activities centre, after constructive discussions with Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

The Council sought authorisation from the Minister to implement discretionary height controls of 7.5 metres in residential areas of the Boronia activities centre, as part of the Boronia Structure Plan by the Council.

The previous Labor Government bullied the Council and refused this request, stating it would not accept any height limit under 9 metres.

Mr Guy said he had heard the Council and the community’s concerns on the height issue, and wants the Knox City Council to be able to consider 7.5 metre discretionary height limits.

“I have listened to the community and recognise there needs to be some guidance on what is considered reasonable residential development in residential areas that adjoin activity centres. Planning should never be a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” Mr Guy said.

“It is important we support appropriate development in key defined areas while still providing protection for neighbouring residential amenity.

“I have written to Knox City Council advising I want the Council to provide me with its recommendation, not one dictated to it by the previous Labor Planning Minister. If the Council feels 7.5 metre discretionary height limits in this area can be justified, they can make that determination.

Member for Ferntree Gully Nick Wakeling and Member for Bayswater Heidi Victoria said they supported Mr Guy’s decision to give the Council its say on height limits, and that community concerns could be heard through the council process.

Link to Media release    Release from Nick Wakeling MP for FTG


MP Marry Wooldridge now knows Curlew Court and DD08 zoning a little better.

Doncaster Member of Parliament Mary Wooldridge came good on her offer to see Curlew Court first hand today.

Hopefully Mary can assist in our fight to keep most of Curlews’ existing character. After all Mary is part of the state government, and DD08 zone regulations belong to the State Government. Curlew is of course, just one example of the DD08 zoned streets which were “TARGETED for Drastic Change” when Manningham council nominated these streets for DD08 high density. We thank Mary and Linda from her team, for their guidance and involvement today.

Remember there is an upcoming opportunity to recommend changes to the current state planning rules see our prior article on MP Mathew Guys’ offer.

2011-07-29 Mary Wooldridge MP Curlew Court

Mary Wooldridge MP at Curlew Court

Protected or TARGETED ? DD08 Spin

As LJ pointed out in her comment today

“I was at the last two meetings and I thought Paul Molan’s actual comment on DDO8 and Curlew Court was that these areas have been “Targeted for Drastic Change.” I find it strange that the vast majority of residents in the DDO8 zones were totally unaware that their neighborhoods had been ‘targeted.’”

Well I heard that from Paul Molans mouth too. And as I previously said, Mayor Gough also described Curlew Court is an Area MARKED for Major Change… (Read as All DD08)

So that brings us back to the Spin on things. Manningham Planning Dept have stood up many times now, and at length, explained how the DD08 rules are there to Protect us, and how the Community was thoroughly advised, and involved.

I see a problem right there:  Being Advised is not the same as achieving understanding ! The C50 Letter to Affected Parties is where 30,000 of us were advised in 2005 .

EXCERPT : …In these areas, three-storey developments are encouraged on sites with a minimum area of 2,000m2, which generally equates to three residential lots. If a minimum area of 2,000 m2 cannot be achieved, Council would consider an application for a multi-unit development with a maximum of two storeys…..

 Now 5-7 Curlew court is two house blocks totalling 1,632  m2   But as we all know Council now thinks that’s OK for three storeys… I have also spoken to residents who attended the public meetings after the C50 letter, and they are adamant that this current reality was never mentioned or eluded to.

see also  C50 Frequently Asked Questions    Then help us change these rules to something more appropriate and aligned to respect the Doncaster area Character.

I thought this was also a pertinent find from Warren Welsh today:

Inviting citizens’ opinions, like informing them, can be a legitimate step toward their full participation. But if consulting them is not combined with other modes of participation, this rung of the ladder is still a sham since it offers no assurance that citizen concerns and ideas will be taken into account. The most frequent methods used for consulting people are attitude surveys, neighborhood meetings, and public hearings.

When powerholders restrict the input of citizens’ ideas solely to this level, participation remains just a window-dressing ritual. People are primarily perceived as statistical abstractions, and participation is measured by how many come to meetings, take brochures home, or answer a questionnaire. What citizens achieve in all this activity is that they have “participated in participation.” And what powerholders achieve is the evidence that they have gone through the required motions of involving “those people.” From..SHERRY ARNSTEIN’S LADDER OF PARTICIPATION


Curlew court Rejection – Classic Councillor Comments

As I said late last night in the previous Post, there was a lot of hot debating, and some unsavoury nasty characters using personal attacks – very dis-appointing behaviour. I am glad the Councilors that Voted our way Kept their decorum throughout the night.

I tried to get the exact words down – these are the best from my notes.

Classic Councillor Comments, and a few other experts opinions…

Great description of the Curlew 5-7 building plan by Cr Meg Downie : Great Big Whopping Pimple in Curlew court !

Meg also said: I don’t believe one car park for households in Doncaster is Realistic.

Cr Yang quite rightly pointed out that :

If the only things that matter are the Yes or No of zoning rules, then why offer community the opportunity to OBJECT, why send it to council to vote ?

She is right of course, all you would need is a big rubber stamp.     Who would be given that ?

Cr Reid – Don’t stuff all of these high density issues into Koonung Ward.

And the zoning rules need “Refinement”    I like the way he got the message across.


Mayor Gough : Curlew Court is an Area MARKED for Major Change.  ( What happened to DD08 protecting us.)


Paul Molan ( Director Town Planning.)

A street like Curlew Court can handle 2000 to 3000 cars movements per day.

At the meeting the night before PMolan also advised  the councillors that they use the rule of 5-7 times the homes = Car movements. therefore working back wards : 2500 movements capacity, divided by 6 movements per house = 416 houses in Curlew court before Traffic hit capacity.  ( there are currently 24, & this plan would see EVERY original house block developed to 28 apartments – even the newer town houses replaced.)

I sure hope I misunderstood this, because Paul Molan also said at that time that : Traffic would be the likely limiting factor to stop further development in Curlew Court.

Cr Mayne:  (He did Vote in Favour of the Development,) & said that VCAT wins are hard to get. He did also say no-one would deny the Councilors their democratic right to pursue VCAT. Which I understood meant he would not stand in the way of a VCAT challenge if needed.

Cr Mayne also said: to Reject the development would send a disappointing message to Developers and and council staff (that had worked hard on this.)

Well, to Approve it, would send a very disappointing message to the loyal residents already living here!