Thursday, May 20, 2010
Planning Panel Day 3
The Planning Panel's third and final day of public hearings concerned Amendment C103 almost exclusively. This Amendment re-zones land between Murradoc Road and Woodville Street, Drysdale from its current mix of 'Farming' and 'Rural Living' to 'Residential 1'. Melbourne-based Urban Land Developments owns around 60% of the land and has requested the re-zoning so that it can build a 300-house estate there.
The City of Greater Geelong's Mr. Peter Schembri had introduced Amendment C103 at the end of Day 2. However, Day 3 started with a presentation about Amendment C194 by Mr. Gary Laver, which had been postponed from Day 2. Mr. Laver appeared on behalf of several landowners who live south of Andersons Road, who want CoGG to re-zone their land from 'Farming' to 'Rural Living' and who oppose CoGG's proposal to set aside the whole area for 'Future Urban Consolidation'. (CoGG has recently withdrawn this proposal.) CoGG has said repeatedly that such re-zoning is against policy; Mr. Laver cited several instances of such re-zoning elsewhere, within CoGG's Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan.
At this point, CoGG's Mr. Peter Smith stated that the Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan is 'a community plan, not a statement of council policy'. This is in clear contrast with the Plan's alleged intent:
'The Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan 2006 - 2016 (The Plan) reflects a commitment by the City of Greater Geelong to understand and plan for current and future change on the Bellarine Peninsula.' ('Executive Summary', p. 8)
'The Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan will inform future City of Greater Geelong planning policy on the Bellarine Peninsula ...' ('Policy Framework', p. 11)
The second presentation was by Mr. Nick Tweedy, a barrister acting for Urban Land Developments. He argued that C103 was self-evidently appropriate and justified, because it implemented a recommendation of CoGG's Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs; and he called 'expert witnesses' to argue that Amendment C103 won't create an excessive supply of land for housing; that the proposed developers' contributions to the estate's associated roads, drains, etc. are appropriate; that the estate won't interfere with the movement of stormwater through and away from the land; and that the estate won't increase local traffic significantly.
The third presentation was by Mr. Patrick Hughes on behalf of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA). The Association neither supports nor opposes the proposals in C103 as such, but it is critical of the process by which CoGG invited public comment on C103 and on C194. (See DCSCA's submission on this blog in the article titled, 'Re-zoning Drysdale '.) In addition, the Association is concerned that Amendment C103 will create a 300-lot housing estate, but no jobs for the people who will live there. This isn't the developers' fault; it shows CoGG's lack of vision or concern about our towns' economic development. CoGG's failure is turning our towns into dormitories for Geelong and Melbourne; and the lack of adequate public transport means that increasing numbers of people are driving cars to work, increasing the pressure on our already crowded roads and, of course, increasing the emision of harmful 'greenhouse' gases.
The final presentation was by Urbis Consultants on behalf of Aldi. Currently, Amendment C103 includes provisions for access by pedestrians and cyclists from the housing estate into the service area of the proposed Aldi supermarket at the west end of Murradoc Road; and Aldi wants this provision removed.
Towards the end of the day, there were concluding remarks by Mr. Tweedie (for ULD), Mr. Smith and Mr. Schembri (for CoGG), but these added little to the presentations.
The Planning Panel will now write a report to CoGG that will recommend how to proceeed with each Amendment - C103 and C194. The report is due in eight weeks (i.e. in the week beginning 12 July) and four weeks later (i.e. in the week beginning 9 August), CoGG must publish the Panel's report and decide whether to accept some or all of its recommendations (it is under no compulsion to accept any of them). Following CoGG's decision, the matters in C103 and C194 will go to state Planning and Community Development Minister Justin Madden for a final decision.
(Image: Linda Gallus.)