Three Storey CompositionThe concerns there would be overdevelopment on small blocks after Manningham Council refused to amend the DDO8 schedule and prescribe a lower  height than ten metres for two storey developments, in precinct B or on smaller sites in precinct A, now appear justified after Council had its decision to reject a three storey proposal at 88 Whittens Lane, Doncaster,    (click on photo to enlarge)   overturned at a Vcat hearing. Council had argued that the proposal was clearly at odds with the intent of the Municipal Strategic Statement’s (MSS) (two storeys maximum ten metres) for the area where the subject land was located in sub-precinct B.



21_mss05_mann                                                   MPS DDO8                                                         Vcat Decision

Vcat’s rationale for overruling Councils decision; “the MSS  objectives clearly indicate support

for two-storey townhouse style dwellings with a higher yield in within sub-precinct B. However, the design objectives in DDO8 fall short of saying that three-storey development cannot be contemplated. Rather, the DDO8 provisions which apply to the land set a maximum height limit of 10 metres, a height which can readily accommodate three-storey buildings. The proposed dwellings are an example of how this can be achieved”.

“Perhaps more telling is the absence of a prohibition of development higher than two storeys within DDO8. Iwould have thought that if the situation is cut and dry in terms of limiting the height of buildings to no more than two-storeys, then the DDO provisions should be drafted to reflect this. Indeed, there are examples of such controls in other planning schemes”

A memo from council  to the submitters of the C96 amendment tends to support the Vcat decision, They were told that “while the  (MSS) indicates that a “high yield” two storey town  house style should only occur on land in sub-precinct B or in sub-precinct A,  it remains subordinate to the revised table 1 to schedule 8 (DDO8), which does not specify storeys and refers only to a maximum height of 9 metres (10 metres if the building site is sloped). It can be considered in decision making but only in the context of the broader planning policy framework and cannot mandate specific actions or outcomes of the revised DDO8 schedule”.

Comment from the C96 panel;”One can’t look at just half the picture; it makes no sense to look at the controls in absence of the policy (MSS), or look at the policy and presume development should be open slather”.

Comment from Manningham Matters; “While Council’s policy encourages two storey dwellings within 9 metres, (or 10 metres on sloping land) a three storey building could still be designed within the specified height limit, but the objectives of the overlay and Council policy would discourage this”.


  1. Patrick says:

    If the DDO8 schedule specifies an eleven metre (11) height for a three storey building, without an allowance for slope, then why can’t a height of (8) eight metres be correspondingly prescribed for two storeys. It is a simple formula, just allow three metres for each level plus two metres for roof construction. This would allow sufficient height for a two storey flat roof design OR the “non preferred” more conventional two storey designed hip roof style.

    In fact a height of 6.5 metres could accommodate a two storey building. 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 height limits.
    “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 height limits in this area can be justified, they can make that determination.”

    • Talford says:

      Lets face it, all development will be flat roof contemporary styles so the height for two storeys need only be 6.3 mm. One meter could be allowed for fall if there is no excavation.
      We were conned at Talford Street, it was really three storeys instead of two and was allowed to go up to 10.6 meters, in addition there was excavation which added further to the height of the building.

      • Raintree says:

        The maximum height of 10 m might be generous for a two storey building but there must be some latitude given the developer especially if it includes the garage under. The garages can’t always be located completely underground because of difficult sites so the 10m height provision may be necessary. e.g. While the height for a two storey contemporary dwelling may require height of only 6.3m, sections of a building might be much higher because of this. The condition that “unsightly basement walls” must be avoided is not always practical.
        At the end of the day it has to be made viable for a builder otherwise there will not be any development. Don’t forget that the high number of townhouse development in the area have attached garages. Which is why most of them have much lower heights of around 6 to 7m.

  2. Dalray says:

    I have sympathy for those who had originally purchased land with the intention of building apartments, the more lucrative option under the terms and conditions of the previous MSS, before the C 96 amendment. But everyone had the opportunity to submit during the processing of the amendment. A decision was made to limit development to two storey townhouse units on land in precinct B and on land with an area of less than 1800m2 in precinct A. We can’t make decisions retrospectively or change the rules on the basis of viability or a difficult construction site or whatever, municipal planning can’t work that way.

  3. Warren says:

    If the Manningham planning dept wanted to restrict the quality and the design options in the residential strategy it could easily have prescribed a two storey maximum height of 7.5 metres on sloping ground. The maximum height of ten metres will still allow two storey townhouse style developments, on land in precinct B and on smaller sites in A, to be built much lower if desired, unlike the Doncaster Hill strategy which has mandatory maximum heights which means all buildings within its perimeter must build to a specified height, any lesser height than that prescribed, cannot be approved because it would be considered an underdevelopment.
    There is nothing in the DDO8 or the MSS to prevent developers from building a two storey development up to the maximum height of 10 metres or as low as 6.5 metres depending on what style they wish to adopt.
    Residents, council officers, councillors, state government planning, the panels Victoria and the minister for planning, who approved the C96 amendment all seemed to have accepted it in the spirit and intent of how it was written into the MSS and DDO8 documents.

    • Whittens says:

      If that was their intention, how come no two storey developments have been constructed in sub-precincts A or B?
      The ambiguities in the plan could easily have been removed at the last review but they weren’t.

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