May 302012

Hobsons Bay Leader has written an article, reporting the developers submission of amended plans to VCAT. 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.

Undecided fate of Newport timber yards
Fiona O’Doherty
May 30, 2012

THE developer behind a plan to turn the Newport timber yards into multi-storey housing has lodged amended plans with Hobsons Bay Council.

The council rejected a bid for a 43-dwelling development on the Paine St site last December.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last year rejected plans for 40 dwellings.

Developer Domain Hill Property Group successfully asked for the adjournment of the most recent tribunal hearing, saying it wanted to submit amended plans addressing concerns.

But plans for 42 townhouses with a sunken carpark reducing the height of buildings by 0.8m, have failed to impress critics.

Co-ordinator of residents’ group, Protect Newport, Anthony Simmons said the new plans were essentially the same as the old plans and that the townhouses would still be an “eyesore”.

Council planning and environment director Peter Gaschk said the amended plans did not address the council’s concerns.

But Domain Hill managing director Peter Cahill said the amendments addressed all matters raised.


Comments can be made on the Leaders website.

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

 Posted by at 11:46 am
May 252012

Current events: The developer has submitted amended plans to VCAT, with no improvements of any significance. Concerns of residents, Council, and park users have been given scant regard. Additionally, new alterations make the development more gated and closed off from the surroundings.

Action required: We have VCAT permission to submit a joint Statement of Grounds form reinforcing previous objections and further objecting to the amendments, this can be co-signed by residents rather than residents having to submit individual SoG. This should save everyone a lot of effort. But we need this signed ASAP.

What to do: Drop by the park this weekend and co-sign the SoG, it will only take a minute. Assistants will be in Armstrong Reserve between 2pm and 3pm, Saturday and Sunday.

 Posted by at 8:41 am
May 192012

Hi Everyone,

As you know the developer received an VCAT adjournment to submit amended plans to ‘consider Council’s feedback’. Here are copies of the developers letter and amended plans. And below a summary of the changes.

Please review.

Amended Plans – Cover Letter

Amended Plans – Elevations

Amended Plans – Plans

Amended Plans – Shadow Plans

Amended Plans – Landscape


Statement of Grounds submissions – do you need to do one?

The developer’s letter mentioned objector’s Statement of Grounds must be submitted by 29th this month. We asked VCAT about this and they explained these SoG are only for additional objections relevant to the amendments, and if any aspects of the amended plans are the same as the previous plans, the original SoG submitted by residents still stand. So unless you think there are additional things in these amendments to object to, you do not have to submit a further SoG.

If there are amendments you do wish to object to you can submit an SoG for relating to those issues, or you you can join in on a joint submission being prepared by the resident objectors team. More information about that will be posted in a few days. If you would like to provide input, please email


Summary of the amended plans below, amendments with potential for further objection are highlighted in red…

  1. Number of apartments reduced from 43 to 42.
  2. Overall height adjusted, now 0.8m lower. Car park is now called ‘semi-basement’ car park as it has been lowered into the ground by 0.8m.
  3. Increased some set-backs (at ground level) by 1m. There are still setbacks of only 2m (sheer three story walls).
  4. Increased some set-backs (at first level). There are still setbacks of only 2m of the cantilevered structure, all along the Armstrong Reserve side.
  5. Change of central building deleting forth floor. Although forth floor (rooftop terraces) remain.
  6. Cantilevered level one and some shear three storey walls still seem to be a ‘feature’.
  7. Previously undulating fences along perimeter now changed to straight form tall fencing.
  8. Introduction of security gates on all street accessible pedestrian entrances reduces visual breaks at ground level.
  9. Introduction of large 5.5m car park garage door on Paine St is visually unattractive and a source of constant noise.
  10. Less neighbourhood integration, more of an isolated ‘gated community’ presence.
  11. Minor fluffing about with bike racks and things.

Fundamentally the same development with little changes that negate most peoples initial objections.


Blank Statement of Grounds form if you need one.

 Posted by at 1:06 pm
May 172012

The Age has written this article, reporting proposed changes to the state’s planning system. Below is the text in full.

No doubt the thin edge of a wedge allowing larger developments to bypass neighbourhood scrutiny and objections.


State moves to reduce building appeal rights
Jason Dowling
May 16, 201

AN OVERHAUL of Victoria’s planning laws will begin next week when Planning Minister Matthew Guy introduces legislation that could mean up to 11,000 building permits being assessed annually without the current notification to neighbours or appeal rights. The government said the changes would apply to ”small-scale, low-impact applications such as home extensions and small works such as fences”.

But a detailed ministerial advisory report released last Friday indicates the new system would also be used for new buildings and subdivisions.

Council and community groups say the public is being kept in the dark on the extent of the planning changes, known as ”code assess”, including what rights of appeal will remain and if residents will be notified if next door decides to add a second storey.

Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said the changes were code for ”unchecked development in our suburbs”.

”It will strip away a person’s fundamental right to say no to inappropriate development,” he warned.

Mr Guy told a parliamentary committee yesterday the planning changes would be for ”small” building applications.

”Where we have those small-scale low-impact applications, that’s where I see in residential areas a code assessment model brought forward and that may be for a pergola [or] home extension,” he said. ”Home extensions constitute around 20 per cent of the 55,000 permits that go through the planning system every year,” he said.

Mr Guy said most people did not care if they had no say over their neighbour renovating.

”The vast majority of Victorians want to have a say on planning, not around someone’s pergola or home extension. It is whether an eight-storey building can be built next to them, for instance,” he said.

The Property Council’s Victorian executive director, Jennifer Cunich, said the planning changes should include the fast-tracking of multi-unit developments. ”We would ask that the whole system looks at multiple storeys,” she said. ”If we are just going to play around at the sides then we are not going to improve the system.”

But Ian Wood from Save Our Suburbs said there had not been enough community consultation about the planning changes. He said giving the community notification and appeal rights on planning ”leads to better planning outcomes and more accountability”.

Mary Drost, from community group Planning Backlash, said the government should make clear the planning changes before they were introduced to Parliament.

RMIT planning expert Michael Buxton said the government’s planning review was a missed opportunity.

”For example, one way to reduce work loads [of councils] is to introduce mandatory height controls in various areas so developers know that here we can build a 30-storey tower, there we can build a seven and there it is only two, and that would reduce the workload for councils overnight, that kind of certainty,” he said.

Bill McArthur, president of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said while councils welcomed planning changes to reduce red tape, they would not support the fast-tracking of multi-unit developments.




Note: The above text by The Age – copyright remains that of the respected owners.

 Posted by at 9:27 am
May 042012

Hi Everyone,

The developer requested his VCAT hearing be adjourned so he could submit amended plans which would consider Council’s feedback.

The developers amended plans have arrived. In summary the changes are:

  1. Number of apartments reduced from 43 to 42.
  2. Overall height adjusted, now 0.8m lower. Car park is now called ‘semi-basement’ car park as it has been lowered into the ground by 0.8m.
  3. Increased set-backs all-round (at ground level) by 1m.
  4. Change of central building deleting forth floor.
  5. Cantilevered level one and some shear three storey walls still seem to be a ‘feature’.
  6. Undulating fences along perimeter changed to straight form and the introduction of security gates on all street accessible entrances.
  7. Some other minor fluffing about with bike racks and things.

Needless to say, it’s fundamentally the same development.

A copy of the amended plans will be loaded online shortly for everyone to view.

 Posted by at 3:06 pm