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VIC - Councillors fear Monash residents have lost development appeal rights at five key sites
- Waverley Leader
- February 26, 2014
MONASH councillors are worried what the Victorian planning minister’s decision to apply overlays on five sites means for residents’ appeal rights.Planning Minister Matthew Guy announced the rezoning of five former school sites in Monash this month and advised that Development Plan Overlays (DPOs) would apply across all sites.
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They rezoned sites include the former Monash Special Development school, Clayton Primary School, Clayton West Primary School, Oakleigh South Primary School and Brandon Park Secondary College.
But while councillors welcomed the minister’s decision to retain 15 per cent open space at the Brandon Park site, they were concerned that a DPO would effectively remove residents’ right to third party appeal.
Mr Guy said DPOs were commonly used for developments of this scale.
“DPOs exist to manage strategic sites and to put controls in place so everybody knows what the rules are before a single developer goes in,” Mr Guy said.
Mr Guy said the council, as the responsible authority for the five sites, would be able to advocate on behalf of residents.
“A DPO is not the be all and end all, it then puts council in charge of the process,” Mr Guy said.
“So council should be absolutely in charge of setting the DPO and making sure residents have all the objection rights they want, through a DPO process.”
The council must publicly exhibit the final development plans for each site for at least 28 days prior to its final decision.
But Monash Mayor Geoff Lake said the council wouldn’t be able to consult with residents once development plans had been established.
“And we know from experience that residents don’t participate in broad strategic discussions on planning,” Cr Lake said.
Cr Lake said once plans were approved, the council would be obliged to approve permit applications as long as they fell within the general requirements of the plan.
Cr Lake also said Monash Council made its views on the DPO clear during meetings with the planning panel last year.
At last night’s council meeting, Monash councillors voted nine to two in favour of writing to Mr Guy to express their displeasure at the application of a DPO.
The two councillors who voted against the motion were councillors Robert Davies and Theo Zographos, who are in line to be endorsed as Liberal candidates for the state seats of Mulgrave and Oakleigh respectively.
Mr Guy said Monash Council used a DPO itself when it rezoned a parcel of land in Clayton in the early 2000s.
But Cr Lake said he’d come to regret removing third party appeal rights on that occasion.
“I learned my lesson then, that was a bad decision, the community was outraged about it,” Cr Lake said.
Mr Guy said Cr Lake’s retrospective regret was a political stunt.
Under a DPO, the responsible authority (in this case, the council) must formulate a development plan for each of the sites.
Permit applications that are “generally in accordance” with the plan are exempt from notice and review.