14 July, 2014


Boroondara Council has announced that the Minister has approved the new zones under Amendment C190. However, the Minister did not approve the zones as submitted (details attached above)
Council's proposed minimum lot sizes, site coverage, setbacks and open space proposals have not been approved, reducing the benefits of the proposed zoning. We suggest this is the result of heavy lobbying from the development industry and residents who want to subdivide and re-develop their properties.
We understand that the Advisory Committee reviewing the proposals for additional Growth Zones under Amendment C199 has submitted it's report to the Minister but he has not yet announced his decision. 

10 May, 2014

Update on the additional Growth Zones Hearing

The panel hearing commenced on Monday the 5th May with council presenting to the three panel members for most of the day. Council's Lawyer argued against the Amendment C199.
BRAG presented the next day for one & a half hours also arguing against  Amendment C199 which identifies additional growth zones as "requested" by the Minister for Planning. Our thanks to all our Members who came to the hearing to support us, much appreciated.
There were 665  written submissions lodged with the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (RZSAC) of which 130 opted to present personally to the Panel. All submissions are read and considered. Presenting personally to the Panel allows for submitters to make additional points or expand upon their submission. 
A copy of our Update email to BRAG Members on the hearing is attached above which provides more detail.

04 May, 2014

Alert - Changes to Boroondara's Residential Zones - More Growth

An Advisory Committee has been appointed to consider changes to the new residential zones which comprise  extensions to provide more Growth Zones following a request from Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
Many of the new Growth Zones are around Boroondara's neighbourhood shopping centres but some have been applied to main roads such as Canterbury Rd., Camberwell Rd., Studley Park Rd., etc.
Further details with a map showing the new Residential Growth Zones (RGZ)are attached -see above- click on "skip to content" and for the map go to the download - C199 Areas subject to amendment)
Residents in the affected areas have been notified by Council but these changes will also affect residents adjoining or nearby the RGZ because this zone allows for four storeys ( a mandatory height limit of13.5 metres)  which will result in overlooking, will affect the local ambiance and there will be overflow parking in nearby streets etc.
The Residential Growth Zones under a draft amendment C199  are in addition to the Growth Zones already identified under amendment C190. Applicants for development proposals in the RGZ will be required to demonstrate  compliance with neighbourhood character local planning policy and the relevant Boroondara Neighbourhood Character Precinct Statement and Guidelines.
Brag understands that there will be no ability to appeal to VCAT to exceed the mandatory height limit but appeals to VCATwill be possible in regards to disagreements with assessment criteria for neighbourhood character precincts. However, BRAG has reservations about appeals to VCAT as these are yet to be tested. We say that developers have pushed their rights to appeal to VCAT to the limit in the past and that we do not expect any change in their attitude. Would you trust VCAT to do right by the residents, they haven't in the past have they?
Council says it has chosen these new RGZ's because it considers them to have the capacity to absorb change and transition to a denser character based on proximity to large Activity Centres, proximity to shopping centres and commercial corridors, location along key transport routes. an emerging change in character or development potential based on allotment size. This is nothing short of just following the concepts in the discredited Melbourne 2030. We thought M2030 was dead but obviously it is not yet buried.
What Action Can you Take ?
Make an online submission to the Residential Zones Committee at www.dtpli.vic.gov.au/residential-zones-advisory-committee by 16th April 2014. You will be able to appear before the panel if you wish to further push your arguments against the changes and perhaps you can ask the members hearing the presentations to take off their planner's hat and ask them to pretend that they are a resident affected by these changes and think carefully how they would react. We are pretty sure that if they are honest they will react just like you and argue against these ridiculous changes. The hearing starts 5th May in the Hawthorn Town Hall at 10am. Come along even if you aren't presenting to show support for those who are.
Suggestions to help you to prepare your submission are set out in the following post
Go ahead and make a submission, BRAG can't do this for you, it is up to individual householders who will be adversely affected to tell the Panel (and the Minister) to approve the council's original proposal without these changes.

06 April, 2014

Suggestions for submissions to the Growth Zones Advisory Committee

Many Residents have sought assistance in preparing their submission to the Advisory Committee so we have complied a list of suggestions.
Click on  the attachment above.
Please use these as a guide and make your submission in your own words.Do not just copy as the Committee will disregard any submission that appears to be pro-forma.

01 February, 2014

More on Plan Melbourne and the New Residential Zones

"Plan Melbourne" has been criticized by the planning expert, Professor Roz Hansen, hand picked by the government to draw up and provide advice on the strategy. We criticized her appointment because she was one of this city's planners who were advocating unlocking the potential in the existing residential areas for massive development as a response to the record rate of our population growth which, on a population basis, is well above all other OECD countries.

In an article by Jason Dowling in the Sunday Age (26/1) Roz Hanson says that "The elephant in the room is how do we fund the public transport and community services for 8 million people in 2050"?

Roz still doesn't get it, the question that needs to be answered should be "If you double the population of Melbourne you need to double the infrastructure but can our governments (both Federal & state) do it"? Of course they cannot because they just can't get that much tax out of us. Right now they can't even fund the necessary infrastructure upgrades to meet current needs let alone the future needs of record immigration.

As a response to the continuing government policies pushing to increase our population, developers have been increasingly moving into our existing residential areas to build apartments and squeeze more and more into the suburbs. The residents reacted and through organizations like BRAG and Planning Backlash they lobbied the government for protection from such rapacious development.

The government responded by announcing the "Reformed Residential Zones" which require new developments to meet neighbourhood characteristics and mandatory height limits.The developers and the building lobbyists screamed that these new zones would lock them out of the residential suburbs and Radley de Silva from the Master Builders Assoc said that some councils were trying to lock up their suburbs. Their main concern is that they will not be able to push their infill developments into the more desirable and therefor the more profitable residential areas

Actually de Silva is right. We suspect this is a shot at the Glen Eira and Boroondara Councils but other councils are putting up plans to follow their lead by putting around 70% to 80% of their residential areas in the most protected zone - the neighbourhood residential zone.

The Planning Institute of Australia, the Master Builders, HIA, the developers and investors etc. are now applying pressure on the government to modify the new zones. The Labor Party have said if they are re-elected they will bring back Melbourne 2030. That would not be very clever would it ?

We at BRAG have many times made it clear that the elephant in the room is the increasing population numbers due mainly to the record and ever increasing rate of immigration, and those who come to this country on visas as a back door way of gaining residency. If it continues, the population of Melbourne will more than double within the next 35 years - yes, more than double to well over 8 million.

In our view it's the rate of population growth through immigration that needs to be modified.
This does not mean that we should shut up shop altogether for, if we cut back on the immigration quotas to something like the numbers we used to accept ( around 70,000/80,000 p.a instead of the 225,000 p.a.in 2013 - and still rising) we would still be in accord with what other countries do and meet our international obligations. We could even increase the numbers of refugees we accept. 

Currently we are growing at about 1.82% p.a. compared with the world average of 1.1% so if we did cut back we would still match the other OECD countries or maybe even be a bit above.

Makes sense to us.

Jason Dowling's AGE article is attached - see above.