We have a response from the Manningham Council Planning Director Teresa Dominik… Does this give you confidence in what could be built around you?

Please find below responses to issues that you require clarification for.
These have been provided in blue text.

·         If council is to follow its advertised policy for two storeys, for lots under 1800sqm, in sub-precincts A, (Manningham Matters July 2012) why has it been made possible for three storeys and even a partial fourth?

As part of Amendment C96, Council has sought to introduce mandatory maximum height and minimum lot size controls in sub-precinct A which means that a building cannot exceed these requirements.  Additional policy guidance has been included to clearly express Council’s intent regarding the built form being sought in each sub-precinct.  

Whilst the DDO8 can and has sought to introduce mandated requirements as part of Amendment C96, the MSS contains the broad planning policy framework, and whilst it is required to be considered in decision making, it cannot mandate specific actions or outcomes.

It also goes back to the principle which is discussed in the Panel Report in Section 5 where the Panel Member in response to Council’s submission agrees that “one cannot simply look at the maximum allowable under a control and presume that can be achieved on all land” .  Further the Panel report states “it makes no sense to look at the controls in the absence of the policy, or look at the policy and presume development should be open slather”.  
·         Why are council planning officers encouraging developers to circumvent the purpose of the height allowance and “double dip” i.e. excessive excavation to make way for living areas below the natural ground level and still be extended the height increase to 10m from above the natural ground level?
The existing preferred maximum building height within Sub-precinct A currently allows discretion for assessing marginal height increases on sloping sites.  The inclusion of the provision to allow additional height on a sloping site within each of the sub-precincts as part of Amendment C96 is now consistent with the allowance currently permissible under Precinct B.  The allowance for additional height on a sloping site is also consistent with the height provisions within the new reformed residential zones.  The intent of allowing increased height on a sloping site seeks to reduce excavation works.  

·         The increase in height for sloping sites, (9m to 10m), the vertical distance from the natural ground level to the roof or parapet at any point, was necessary to achieve a normal floor to ceiling height without excessive excavation. This is deemed an acceptable practice among recognised planning authorities.
·         The above practice makes a mockery of council’s policy of specifying heights, rather than storeys, as a measure of development. I find it disappointing to read council’s argument that developers would reduce apartment yield and squander height by introducing attics and mezzanines etc.  

During the exhibition period, submitters requested that the height requirements should be expressed in storeys rather than metres.  In considering this matter, the Panel supported Council’s submission that it is clearer to specify height in metres as under Definitions in Clause 72 of the Manningham Planning Scheme it states:

‘That part of the a building between floor levels.  If there is no floor above, it is the part between the floor level and ceiling.  It may include an attic, basement, built over car parking area, and mezzanine.’

Given that Manningham’s topography is particularly hilly, many residential buildings incorporate basements, and in some cases mezzanine features, so whilst a dwelling may present as a two storey building, it is by definition of the Manningham Planning Scheme a three, or more storey building.  It is considered that stipulating the maximum building height in metres is more specific than making reference to ‘storeys’ and minimises ambiguity.

Whilst DDO8 specifies metres, the exhibited Clause 21.05 makes reference to the number of storeys to give the community and designers a visual impression of the height of development being sought in each sub-precinct.

·         What will be the difference between contemporary apartment style developments on a land size of 1800sqm or more and townhouse style developments with a higher yield prescribed for smaller allotments, in precinct A.?

The style of development referred is to provide guidance for developers regarding the built form outcomes being sought in circumstances within sub-precinct A where the land size of 1,800m2 can or cannot be achieved.
·         Will the limit of two storey townhouse development in precinct B, be retained?

The current 9 metre maximum building height specified within sub-precinct B is discretionary and Amendment C96 seeks to make this as a mandatory requirement, meaning that a permit cannot be issued to exceed this specified height.  In addition, both the Municipal Strategic Statement in Clause 21.05 and in Schedule 8 to the Design and Development Overlay (DDO8) include greater guidance regarding the built form outcomes being sought in each sub-precinct.  

 The wording within Clause 21.05 currently states:
‘Sub-precinct B is an area where multi-unit development up to two storeys is encouraged.’  

Amendment C96 seeks to replace this with:
‘Sub-precinct B is an area where single storey and two storey dwellings only will be considered and development should have a maximum site coverage of 60 per cent.’


Teresa Dominik
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