Manningham candidate David Muscat faces court – 2 yrs or $33600

Kristian Silva from the Weekly Review – Eastern has the latest hereManningham candidate David Muscat faces court

The second part of this saga – whether Mullum Mullum is to go back to the polls for a by-election is yet to be decided…

The man accused of running as an illegal candidate in last year’s Manningham Council elections could face a two-year jail term for alleged breaches of the Local Government Act. Continue reading Manningham candidate David Muscat faces court – 2 yrs or $33600 →

C96 – DD08 zone changes Planning Panel Submission

Today was the day several of us managed to present our views on the proposed changes to the Manningham DD08 high density Zones, and the current zone regulations as well.

This Government appointed Independent Planing Panel, ( IPP,) consisted of  a single member – Mr Lester Townsend –  hearing the views of residents, council and developers. the Council went yesterday, others today. Here is the schedule and list of presenters:  1-2405974-PPV_Manningham_C96__Timetable_v03_ Others also submitted their content but did not present in person.

My presentation was primarily on Growth targets versus development size. Continue reading C96 – DD08 zone changes Planning Panel Submission →

VCAT hearing transcription costs

Last week I asked for a copy of the VCAT hearing I was a party in, so that I could refer to it during a planning panel submission.

I was told that  VCAT no longer give copies of the audio, and that I would have to pay for a company to transcribe it.  I am sure that to transcribe two days of hearing, roughly 16 hours, is going to be damn expensive. Particularly as I only need a couple of sections, not the whole thing…. received a quote from one of the parties on the VCAT approved list, it was as follows:

“The cost is $7.50 per A4 page (GST inclusive).  I would estimate for one hearing hour you would receive circa 25 to 30 pages of transcript.( $7.50 x 25-30 pages per hour, x 16 hours = $3,000 – $3,600.)

They also said Continue reading VCAT hearing transcription costs →

VCAT decision on solar panels – they need sun.

This is a precedent case on a topic we have discussed before  – VCAT have now ruled it is NOT OK to overshadow a neighbors solar panels…

So it is OK to interrupt privacy, sunlight to living areas, but not solar panels… It has been suggested before that is because solar power is a business / and has a quantifiable monetary value of impact…

             So where else does this extend to?    What about my: Continue reading VCAT decision on solar panels – they need sun. →

Untangle the Building Zone Maze

It’s only a week away to the Manningham Event targeting the building zones, changes, and impacts night.

 Event : High Density Zones and planned changes – Koonung ward councilors review and discussion.

 RSVP here   Doncaster,  Wed Feb 20th, 2013  7:30pm

This event will be a mixture of public discussion and, council regulation insight from a qualified town planner.

A mix not offered before by our councilors – MAKE THE MOST OF IT.

VCAT fee changes – submissions close Fri Feb 15th

If you haven’t already done so you may want to consider an objection to the fees changes on grounds such as this will deny natural justice to the community, and encourage expansion of developer practice to drag out hearings with pro-applicant “experts” etc.  Notable given almost any apartment building is over $1m and therefore a major case, whereas previously it was $10m
Deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 15 February 2013.
Email submissions are preferred and can be sent to with the subject ‘VCAT Fee Regulations’.
 The fee for lodging a basic planning appeal would more than triple from $322 to $1000 and many people would have to pay for mediation which is currently provided free of charge.

Major cases (now >$1m) over multiple days would be hit with

— a new case fee of $3,257.80

— pay $3,226 per day plus a further $1,834.40 per day for the need to have 2 members hearing.

For example your group could have to pay about $23k to fight at a  four day Hearing…

 VCAT Development Appeals Getting Further out of Reach.   MEG Submission to the VCAT Fee Review

EDO VCAT fees to rise, ordinary citizens to be priced out

Planning to be out in the open

This article in the Melbourne  Herald Sun on Mon Feb 4, 2013.

Makes you wonder just how much sway the developers have with decision makers about the planning of our city.

Planning to be out in the open

MELBOURNE city councillors will be stopped from holding private meetings with developers who want to lobby them on building projects.

Councillors have agreed that senior council planning officers must be present at meetings, in order to avoid perceptions of conflicts of interest after big donations went to some candidates at last October’s election.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and his team received more than $100,000 from developers such as Central Equity, Richard Gu from the AXF Group, and northbank developer Clement Lee.

Rival candidate Cr Ken Ong, who is chairman of the planning committee, also declared donations from companies linked to Mr Lee and from a consultant working for Mr Gu.

The local government watchdog is investigating claims of cash-for-access that were made during the city council election campaign and also a bribery allegation going back to 2010.

Last week, councillors agreed to a new protocol that there be no more meetings with individual developers unless a senior planning officer also attended. Continue reading Planning to be out in the open →

MEG Submission to the VCAT Fee Review

The MEG have shared their point of view on the VCAT Fee increase, if you have ever been to VCAT, some of these items might ring very true with you.

There are also some good suggestions on a different approach to fixing the problems and expenses of running VCAT appeals, while leveling the playing field…

When reading the submission, keep in mind that VCAT have already introduced the ability to pay and get your hearing brought forward, on the majors cases list. ( anything over a few townhouses qualifies…)

Well put MEG, I particularly love the idea of limiting each party to one representative. Continue reading MEG Submission to the VCAT Fee Review →

Bi-election May be called for Mullum Mullum

We may get an answer soon on this one, but it sure is messy.

If Mr Muscat had withdrawn the 521 primary votes would have gone elsewhere, as would the 26 preferences he collected, that were subsequently distributed across the remaining candidates.

So what is the right thing to do with his votes?

  • Delete all votes including preferences ?
  • Delete his primary, and distribute the subsequent choices / preferences as if they were the first?
  • Start the whole election for Mullum Mullum again ? If so should it be limited to those that ran last time?

From the table below you can see the yellow colored votes for Mr Muscat, not huge, but there is a flow on effect Continue reading Bi-election May be called for Mullum Mullum →

VCAT Development Appeals Getting Further out of Reach.

Well it’s beyond stories now, the numbers are out, Development challenges for over $1Mil –  $38 in 2012, will be Over $2000 in 2014. It’s certainly not good for residents trying to fight for thier amenity. VCAT costs are going up in a user pays environment that certainly works against Joe Public. We got the story first hand from a VCAT member recently, he said it would affect many things that VCAT did, particularly Planning cases.

You can tell VCAT – it’s not on until Feb 15th. Continue reading VCAT Development Appeals Getting Further out of Reach. →