Sep 182011

The Attorney-General Robert Clark announced today that developers may opt to pay to fast-track their multi-million dollar development VCAT hearings.

You could argue this is better than the previous Major Case List initiative where tax-payers funded developers fast-tracked hearings, but having any legal system (user paid or tax-payer paid) which favours powerful and affluent groups over everybody else is fundamentally unfair and disadvantageous to the general community.

How does this impact upon us in relation to the Timber Yard Development? If the timber yard developer (Peter Cahill) proposal is rejected by Council and he proceeds to VCAT, he can pay to fast-track the hearing. This leaves objectors and Council with less time to prepare cases opposing the development.

Have a read of the following articles about this issue.

Rich jump planning queue

The Age, Peter Munro, 18/09/2011. PDF copy here Rich jump planning queue.


User-pay VCAT deemed unfair

The Age, Kellee Nolan, 18/09/2011. PDF copy here User-pay VCAT deemed unfair.


Interesting to note, the first article quotes John Cicero who is the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s state president. This is the same John Cicero who was the planning lawyer representing Peter Cahill regarding the Timber Yard Development at the last VCAT hearing, and offers the opinion that developers should have their fees paid for by the government and tax-payers. Maybe if developers were not so greedy and selfish they would not be clogging up VCAT with ridiculous proposals such as Cahill’s proposal for the Timber Yard site.




 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Sep 132011

Hobsons Bay Leader has written an article, reporting the developers submission of new plans to council. Below is the text in full…

If you view the Leader’s article on this page, you can place comments on the Leader’s website.

Hobsons Bay Leader article: "New plans for Newport timber yards"

THE developer behind a plan to turn the old Newport timber yards into a multi-storey residential development has lodged a new application with Hobsons Bay Council.

Earlier plans for a 40-dwelling development on the Paine St site were rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in April, but VCAT member Dalia Cook left the door open for an amended proposal, saying the development was “high-quality”, of “appropriate scale and form” and would not detract from the heritage value of the area.

Ms Cook did not object to the density, but wanted the facades “reworked”. Peter Cahill of Domain Hill Property Group now hopes the changed plans – which include 43-dwellings – will be approved by the council, but a local residents’ group is still opposed to the plan.

Protect Newport spokesman Anthony Simmons said the new proposal did not appear to be much different from the original and had actually increased its possible maximum occupancy.

“It’s disappointing because there was the opportunity for the developer to take on the feedback from VCAT and we don’t believe he’s done that,” Mr Simmons said.

“The development has not been scaled down as much as we would have expected.

“The whole building is now housing more people than before.”

But Mr Cahill said he had taken VCAT’s suggestions on board. “We have done our best to redesign, to address the concerns addressed by VCAT,” Mr Cahill said.

“The result is a group of townhouses which is more conservative in its design and more domestic in its appearance.”

Mr Cahill said the development “moved away from more box form to a design which reads like a group of town houses than a block building”.

A spokeswoman for Western Metropolitan Liberal MP Bernie Finn said Mr Finn had last month written to Planning Minister Matthew Guy regarding residents’ concerns over the proposed development.

Note: The above text and images by Hobsons Bay Leader – copyright remains that of the respected owners.

 Posted by at 7:17 am