Council Meeting 28 November

After a break from MVCC meetings during the busy September and October months, the blog is back for the last few Council meetings.

All Councillors appear to be present tonight for the meeting – which is about to be broadcast via the live streaming set up (I haven’t had a look – but apparently there about 800 unique views each week – more than can fit in the Council Chamber – so sounds like the streaming has been well received).

1.Opening – the usual welcoming words, acknowledgements, and reminders.

2. Apologies – none.

3. Confirmation of Minutes Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday, 14 November 2017. Moved and seconded – carried unanimously.

4. Declarations of Conflict of Interest – none

5. Presentations – nope

6. Petitions and Joint Letters – nope again

7. Public Question Time – no Qs “Madam Mayor”

8. Reports by Mayor and Councillors: Written and verbal reports presented to the Council by the Mayor and Councillors

Moved: Cr Surace, Cr Marshall

Cr Surace advises she submitted a report for Lead West as well as her usual report.

Carried unanimously.


9.1 72 Ascot Vale Road, Flemington (Lot 1 TP119244V) –

Construction of two multi-storey buildings comprising dwellings in a General Residential Zone, partial demolition and construction of buildings and works in a Heritage Overlay (HO426), a reduction in car parking requirements and alteration of access to a road in a Road Zone, Category 1

Moved: Cr Marshall moves (Cr Cusack seconds) a motion to refuse on basis of:

  • proposed height, scale and massing – urban design
  • proposed height, scale and massing – neighbourhood character
  • visual dominance; unsympathetic character
  • adverse overlooking and privacy
  • vehicle access ways are unsafe
  • existing car parking issues will be made worse

Clapping. Cr Marshall says this has been a very easy decision: two six storey buildings with 159 dwellings. She acknowledges that the site is large and backs onto a railway line. The permit application was lodged prior to the changes that would limit the site to three storeys. The site is zoned residential – and with that comes “restraints and limitations”.

“From a design perspective there are lots of things wrong with this application,” says Cr Marshall. She also comments that the access to Crown St is problematic (sounds like the access is via the rear through Illawarra and Crown Streets).

Officers recommended deleting one level, but Cr Marshall says this is not enough. Even five would be “too bulky” and “out of character”- and not in keeping with the preferred character statement.

Parking requirements are 196 – the application provides 177. Cr Marshall says the site is a distance from Newmarket station and the 57 tram is inadequate. And that the parking around the area create constant frustration.

Cr Cusack says he understands why the recommendation has removed one level, but he also says this is not enough, and that 1 Ascot Vale Rd should not be used as a template (an enthusiastic resident is agreeing out loud with Cr Cusack’s remarks). Cr Cusack also talks about traffic – he is not sure how the vehicles would access Crown St.

Cr Cusack is also granted an extension of time and uses it to talk about open space – the lack thereof in the area and the needs of residents. He also talks about the frustration of applicants referencing the Structure Plan that was abandoned.

Cr Nation speaks in support of the refusal. He concedes that the site is large, but notes the proposal is a significant increase in density, in a part of Ascot Vale Rd which is mainly single storey (there are a number of three and four storey buildings on the other side though…).

(No Crs have mentioned the recent refusal of 14 storeys at 11-15 Ascot Vale Rd just down the road; VCAT suggested 6-8 storeys at that site.)

Cr Nation says the site is not appropriate for large scale development. He also says it is not the responsibility of MVCC planning department to condition a development to make sure it meets the preferred neighbourhood character.

Cr Surace speaks in favour of the motion saying that Crs have the authority to make these decisions on behalf of residents.

Cr Marshall closes by saying that Council is required to look at the site in context. She says the report has given too much weight to larger buildings further down Ascot Vale Rd. She says it is important to protect local heritage buildings.

Motion of refusal is carried unanimously. Some happy residents leave.

9.2 74-76 Woodland Street, Strathmore (Lots 22, 23, 24 & 25 LP9480 and Lot 1 TP814690U)

Construction of 10 dwellings, a reduction in car parking requirements and alteration of access to a road in a Road Zone, Category 1

Motion: Cr Sharpe moves a motion to refuse a permit on the basis of:

  • Cultural identity and neighbourhood character
  • Visual bulk and scale
  • Urban design
  • Setbacks, Height, site coverage, landscaping, walls on boundaries, overlooking, noise, solar access to open space … and a few more…
  • Adverse impact on neighbouring land

Cr Sharpe says there are so many areas of non-compliance that she is being very cautious. The site has residential and commercial zones and that this development seeks to increase the density of the residential zone without respecting the zone requirements.

She understands the site is near the station, but that the height, while might be appropriate for the commercial zone, is not appropriate for the residential zone.

Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds and agrees with Cr Sharpe.

Cr Lawrence speaks in favour as well (I’ve noticed that the live streaming means that all the Crs now stay sitting when they speak – presumably to stay in the frame. I wonder if this is making them speak a little longer! I’m afraid I’ve tuned out a bit – nothing new being said…)

Cr Nation also speaks in favour of the refusal and reiterates how many areas of non-compliance there are. (No one is telling any jokes tonight. The downside of Cr Sipek being Mayor is that we don’t get any food analogies to liven up planning debates).

Cr Byrne also speaks in favour of the refusal. She points out that there are no visitor car parks. She also says that several apartments have the capacity for their ‘games room’ to be a third bedroom – which would then require another car park for those units.

(It is also interesting that the planning department recommended permits be issued for all the applications on the agenda tonight – and so far Crs have disagreed.)

Cr Marshall also speaks, saying the application is a planning amendment by stealth.

Cr Sharpe closes saying the proposal blatently disregards the planning scheme.

Carried unanimously. Many residents leave.

9.3 84-86 Walter Street, Ascot Vale (Lots 1 and 2 on TP590878S and Lot 9 on PS021853)

Construction of eight dwellings.

Motion: Cr Sharpe and Cr Nation move the officers’ recommendation.

Cr Sharpe says the site is located close to other intensely developed sites.

Cr Nation says the proposal ticks the majority of requirements and the application is “tame”. Only 47% of the site will be built on. It provides more than the car spaces requires. There are eight four bedroom dwellings. There are two areas of non-compliance: front set-backs and one window near an access way. But, on balance, he says the proposal is “extremely compliant”.

He understands residents’ views. He says it would be “struggle to rationally” refuse the application.

(Another time extension…I’m sure it’s the fault of the new seating arrangement!)

Cr Surace says she won’t support the motion as the triple storeys are not consistent with neighbourhood character. She says there will be increased traffic and visual bulk.

Cr Marshall says it is a large site, and that parking has been dealt with. But she acknowledges the precinct wide traffic issues. She queries whether the area can wait the proposed several years for the LATM. She is concerned about the significant bulk of the proposal – and would have liked one less dwelling, or better interface treatments.

Cr Cusack also speaks against the motion.

Cr Lawrence says there is no perfect development, but this development aims to alleviate issues the other proposals have not addressed.

Cr Surace says she was not, as the report erroneously states, the Cr who attended the consultation meeting.

Cr Byrne says the proposal is “extremely compliant” and VCAT is unlikely to give residents much more.

Cr Sharpe closes by saying it is a hard one to decide

For: Crs Sharpe, Nation, Sipkek, Byrne, Lawrecne

Against: Crs Surace, Marshall, Cusack, Gauci-Maurici

Motion carried.

9.4 62-64 The Parade, Ascot Vale (Lot 1 TP700251J and Lot 1 TP692460M)

Construction of 10 dwellings and a reduction in car parking requirements

Motion: Cr Marshall moves a motion ( Cr Cusack seconds) to refuse the permit on the basis of:

  • cultural identity and character
  • visual bulk, scale, form
  • A whole lot of clauses …
  • Adverse impact on residential amenity.

Cr Marshall acknowledges the size of the site and the location, and the revisions made by the applicant. She says the proposal has the look and feel of an apartment building, while trying to pretend it is not.

I’m thinking that pictures of the proposals should be on the screen while Crs are speaking so that we can see the elements of the proposals they are referring to – a few visual aids for those of us listening.

Cr Marshall says the report references a development in St Leonards Rd that is adjacent to a wider lane – and she says this is not a very useful comparison. She says the heritage context is important for the neighbourhood character.

Cr Cusack says the area around Union Rd has been considered for more intense development, and that can go ahead, but this application is too much on the site.

Cr Nation concurs. He says the lane-ways provide a delineation between the shops and the residential area. He says it is an important application for Council to denote where the commercial precinct stops. “if we approve this as a Council … it will give rise to plenty of speculation” about properties past the lane-ways in other streets.

Cr Marshall closes reminding Councillors the application is in garden zone one.

Carried unanimously. Some loud clapping – followed by apologies.

9.5 376 Pascoe Vale Road, Strathmore (Lots 1, 2 and 3 on TP 590642Y)

Use and development of the land for a five storey building comprising a shop and dwellings, reduction to the car parking requirement, waiver of the loading bay requirement and alteration (removal) of access to a road in a Road Zone

Motion: Cr Lawrence moves a motion (Cr Gauci-Maurici seconds) to refuse (to the three of us left in the gallery – but hopefully many more watching at home) on the basis of:

  • height, scale, massing, urban design, visually dominant, unsympathetic… and car parking

Cr Lawrence says the proposal is for an additional storey. He says the small size of the site is a concern. He says the traffic will be a problem for the quiet area of Strathmore, and will present problems for school children. He reiterates the many concerns with the deign of the development.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says the application was originally decided at her first meeting – and as a four storey building, she supported it, despite some concerns about the design then. She is uncomfortable with this additional request for an extra storey. She is concerned about parking, visual bulk.

Cr Sharpe adds that the site may well be close to the train station, but that the fifth storey should be refused.

Cr Marshall says the application would probably have been refused as a five storeys, She says she does not like ti when applicants get a permit, and then come back asking for more – presumably because it leads to more profit.

Cr Cusack agrees.

Cr Lawrence closes asking for all Crs to support the motion.

Carried unanimously.

9.6 33-35   Raleigh   Street,   Essendon   (Land    in   CP168626U)

Demolition of existing buildings and construction of buildings and works for a residential aged care facility in a General Residential Zone and Heritage Overlay

Motion: Cr Sharpe moves the officers’ recommendation for the demolition of Rosalind Crt for an aged care facility.

Cr Sharpe says she is happy to support the construction of an aged care facility. She says she is passionate about heritage buildings, but the heritage overlay was recently removed as it was recently deemed that the buildings were not original – even though the renovations had been done with great care.

The venue is now closed. Cr Sharpe is sad to see it go, but says it is a positive outcome on a large site.

Cr Gauci-Maurici says her parents were married there, but was also disappointed that the heritage “was not really heritage”. “They obviously did a fantastic job at fudging old age.” She says the proposal prompts questions about how we house our older community – and the gaps int he market. She says the design of the application is sympathetic to the character in the area.

Cr Lawrence says the site is magnificent – but that he didn’t get married there. He says it “screams out for residential aged care”.

Mayor Sipek says he has known for a long time that only one wall and two ceiling roses are authentic – that everything else is just really well done.

Cr Marshall says it is preferable to the previous application for the site.

Cr Cusack says nostalgia and heritage can often been confused. he says the development has a good use of green space which is commendable.

Carried unanimously.

9.7 Strathmore Community Garden – Lease Renewal

Motion: Cr Gauci-Maurici moves the officers’ recommendation. Cr Cusack seconds.

Cr Cusack says there is no logic in not supporting.

Carried unanimously.

9.8 Councillor Appointments to External Bodies and Other Committees

Motion: Cr Gauci-Maurici move the officers’ recommendation with a some amendments – a few Crs are subbed in for a few of the positions (in the event the first named Cr can’t attend).

Cr Sharpe asks whether there can be an amendment to add the Essendon Airport (CACG) group – and asks to continue being the representative for that group.

The amendment is accepted by the mover. Cr Lawrence seconds.

For: All Crs except Cr Surace

Agst: Surace

10. Notices of Motion – Nil.

11. Urgent Business – Nope

12. Confidential Reports

Possible Property Acquisitions

Close of Meeting


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