Good morning Save Ivanhoe
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Ivanhoe Structure Plan and 1065 Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe. Please find Council's response to your e-mail below:
How Planning Policy and decision making works
1. Prior to the development of the Ivanhoe Structure Plan planning applications for land in and around the Ivanhoe shopping centre and train stations were assessed in accordance with State and Local policies in the Banyule Planning Scheme.
2. Ivanhoe was identified in the Victorian Government's Metropolitan Strategy, Melbourne 2030, as a Major Activity. State Planning Policy required Banyule Council to plan for development in a Major Activity Area like Ivanhoe and this was done through the Ivanhoe Structure Plan.
3. The new draft of the Ivanhoe Structure Plan went on exhibition throughout August and September 2012. It was at this time that Council started considering the Structure Plan when making planning decisions in and around the Ivanhoe Activity Area. When Council adopted the Structure Plan on 17 December 2012 the importance of the document increased with it becoming an 'adopted Council Plan.'
4. Council adopted the Revised Ivanhoe Structure Plan and resolved to request both interim and permanent planning controls from the Minister for Planning on 3 June 2013. Although the status of the Structure Plan had advanced within Council, schemes and planning scheme amendments do not have statutory effect until they are approved by the Minister for Planning.
5. Council has rigorously applied the objectives and strategies of the structure plan with an example being the assessment of the planning application at 55 Heidelberg Road. In the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) Order in relation to 55 Heidelberg Road Member Rundell stated:
6. "Clause 22.02 is usually applied in assessing new development in a Residential 1 zone. However, this clause can be set aside if a structure plan has been prepared for the relevant centre. The draft Ivanhoe Structure Plan has been prepared by Council. I consider it to be a relevant matter as required by s60 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, as it has been adopted and it sets out Council's views on the emerging form and character of the area. However, I do not consider that it can be considered to be a seriously entertained plan until it has been subject to a planning scheme amendment and the associated review process. Until then, there has to be some uncertainty regarding its final form. Council's submissions relied heavily upon it in this plan and whilst I do not give it great weight, I acknowledge its relevance."
7. The approval of the interim planning controls for the Ivanhoe Activity Area on 28 November 2013 was an important step in increasing the status of the of the Design and Development Overlays and Heritage Overlay controls.
8. The Minister for Planning did not include the proposed changes to the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) in the approval of the interim controls. In response to this at its meeting on 16 December 2013 Council resolved to 'Continue to apply the Ivanhoe Structure Plan to provide guidance on the vision and strategic direction of the Ivanhoe Activity Area.'
1065 Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe
9. Council has rigorously defended the new planning guidelines for Ivanhoe when assessing planning applications. In a recent case Council refused an application at 1065 Heidelberg Road that proposed the construction of a five-storey building with basement for car sales, 30 apartments and associated car parking. The refusal was based on the following grounds:
· The height and bulk of the proposed building being inappropriate having regard to policy and the character envisaged for this area under the Ivanhoe Structure Plan;
· Failure to meet the provisions of the Design Guidelines for Higher Density Residential Development; and,
· Insufficient landscaping resulting in an overdevelopment of the site.
10. Council's decision was also supported by Vic Roads (lack of onsite visitor parking) and a number of objectors who raised concerns about parking, traffic and various other amenity impacts.
11. The Tribunal Member set aside Council's decision and noted that the subject land presented itself as an appropriate site for a mixed use multi-level development given its physical attributes, frontage to a main road together with its proximity to a railway station and location within the Ivanhoe Major Activity Area [IMAA].
12. The Tribunal Member considered the application on its merits, not on the weight of community opposition to the heights and setbacks proposed.
13. Council maintains that its representative at VCAT was fully briefed by Council staff in regard to the Ivanhoe Structure Plan and relevant planning scheme controls.
Failure to Determine
14. Council endeavours to thoroughly assess and determine planning applications within the statutory timeframes. When applications are complex and potentially contentious, Council officers work to obtain all of the required information to make an informed, well guided decision. In some instances, unforseen delays occur making it difficult to achieve those statutory timeframes. Council is working on reducing the number of VCAT hearings generated by failing to determine applications but has also raised the concerns about the statutory timeframe being insufficient for complex applications with the State Government on numerous occasions.
15. It is also noted that VCAT considered the merits of the proposal having regard to Council's refusal of the application and therefore Council's failure to determine the application within the statutory timeframe had no bearing on the outcome.
Commitment to the ISP
16. Council has worked extensively with the Ivanhoe community throughout the development of the structure plan. This consultation has extended to the preparation of planning scheme amendment documents that mirror the intent of the structure plan and reflect the aspirations of the community.
17. Council will continue to assess planning applications in accordance with the ISP and the interim planning scheme controls and will continue to strongly defend the guidelines at VCAT.
If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact me on 9457 9887. I am available Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
Anne North| Senior Strategic Planner
Banyule City Council
44 Turnham Avenue, Rosanna | PO Box 51, Ivanhoe VIC 3079
T. (03) 9457 9887 F. (03) 9457 4690 I. www.banyule.vic.gov.au