Minister Rau announces new DPA to focus on specific sites.

The Minister today announced a change in direction with his program of Development Plan Amendments. He announced a new DPA to focus on specific sites.

This DPA is known as ‘the Inner and Middle Metropolitan Corridor (Sites) Development Plan Amendment”.

In making the announcement he acknowledged difficulties with the Corridor DPA’s. He recognises too the redevelopment along the corridors may be a future thing rather than an early or soon thing. This means those incomplete or not commenced Corridor DPA’s will be put on hold.

The Minister is aware that there are sites that are ready to be redeveloped sooner rather than later. They have been identified too as being good opportunities for incorporating the other DPA he announced today, “the Inner & Middle Metropolitan Corridor (Design) Development Plan Amendment”.

He is focused therefore on a new DPA to focus on specific sites that provide the opportunity for early redevelopment.

Twelve sites in all have been identified. Six of these are in the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters. There are two in our neighbour, the City of West Torrens

For Unley this focus is on the following four sites:

  1.  12-16 Glen Osmond Road (The Cappo seafood site)
  2.  301-305 Unley Road Malvern (between Cheltenham & Winchester Street)
  3.  10 Anzac Highway (The Le Cornu site)
  4.  22-28 Anzac Highway, Everard Park (between KFC and Solver)

All 4 sites could be considered a catalyst site. A site where development might occur sooner rather than later.

Both DPA’s are open for public consultation as of tomorrow. Submissions are required by 25 July. A public information session has been set for City of Unley participants on 22 June between 4.00 pm and 6.30 pm. It will be held at the Latvian Hall, 4 Clark Street Wayville.

I encourage all who have shown an interest in the recent series of DPA’s to take the opportunity to look at this one, and take part in the consultation.

Council face a DPA balancing act.

Last Tuesday night’s Unley Central DPA public forum has presented Council face a DPA balancing act. A juggle between Community and the Government.

mom-cat-balancing-act

 

Yes, after your recent input we face a DPA balancing act. We must recognise genuine concern from rate payers. At the same time, we must put a submission to the Minister for Planning, the honourable John Rau, that he will respect and not throw back in our faces.

As I noted in my last blog post we will be looking at all submissions and we will identify what we can realistically use and what we will need to carefully consider before altering.

On the one hand, we run the risk of members of our community rejecting our next draft. On the other hand, we run the risk that the Minister will reject our submission to him.

We run the risk that he will see us as abrogating our responsibility. If this happens he will rule what happens and ignore us. The result for our community will be worse than what some believe is now the case with what we are proposing.

Minister Rau could quite easily rule that the DPA will see only one change to the zone.

John-Rau-3883-850x455

 

That change would be to permit residential development. Residential development is currently the only restriction in this zone. There is no height limit, other than that imposed by the Airport.

Forget 11 storeys. Expect 25 storeys and more. Forget 3 storeys on the east side of Unley Road. The heights that apply now north of Unley Central along Unley Road is 5 storeys.

So, the challenge for Council is to put heights to the Minister that he will see as having a rationale acceptable to him. As I said above if we come back with a negative submission you, the community of Unley, will regret that Council did not work for the best possible outcome for them.

I am sure we will come back to you before any changes are put to the Minister. I ask you to show the maturity and the understanding I know the Unley community has, to work with us to ensure we can reasonably face a balancing act and have some control over the end result.

Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed but is it Dead?

The Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed without an explanation. A year has passed us by since the State Government’s Development Assessment Commission approved a 7 storey development in Unley Road.

 

Cremorne PlazaWith the Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed it does not mean it won’t proceed.

Many in the community thought approval by the DAC last year meant development was a fait-accompli. We saw business tenants move out and at least one nearby resident selling up.

All because this thing was a done deal.

The time to start having lapsed means the development will require a new approval. This if pursued will be a costly, time consuming exercise for the Developer.

Why has this happened? Is this just an aberration or is it a sign the project is dead. Is the site maybe a candidate to be another Le Cornu site.

The first thing to recognise is the approval was only against the City of Unley Development Plan. Building Rules consent is also needed and this has yet to be applied for. Applying for building rules means preparing detailed drawings and engineering. This is well beyond what was required to obtain planning consent.

The investment in time and/or money is such that they first would want to know they have financial backing for the development. This requires testing the market. Financial backing usually comes only after the developer can show an 80% pre-sale commitment.

With this in mind all we know right now is the deadline has passed. It may mean that the developer is not ready to proceed with the development (yet). It may mean on the other hand the market is not ready for such a development. Having said that high rise is being seen elsewhere as appropriate to today. It may mean from a high rise point of view that this site may simply be the wrong site.

We may not know the answer for a while yet.

So while the Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed it does not mean it won’t proceed, sometime in the future.

Reminder to have your say on Unley Central

A month ago today I blogged on the Unley Central Precinct project and asked for your input. That blog can be viewed here.

 

Thank you those of you who have already responded to the survey with the letter we sent you on the 5th of this month. The feedback we have received will be very useful when later next year we start putting together a Development Plan Amendment.

Unley-Central-Concept-Image-for-YSUThose of you who have not yet responded to the survey we encourage to so do. Your thoughts on such matters as traffic, transport and parking will be essential as we attempt to create a Development Plan that meets Council’s vision for the Unley Central Precinct and the goals of the State Governments 30 Year Plan.

We have received some very worthwhile input from residents thus far and look forward to receiving more. We ask those of you have yet to respond to do so.

What we are looking for from you are your thoughts on the importance of a variety of impacts higher density development will have on the centre or heart of our City. This will provide us considerations on how to plan for the desired urban design, built form, land use, traffic, transport, and parking to guide the preparation of a Development Plan Amendment for the area. This DPA we hope to work on and present to the minister late next year after consulting with you on its contents.

We expect to invite your further input between now and commencing on the DPA once we can tabulate and prioritise the feedback we receive from you on this first consultation.

Councils vision as part of complying with the State Governments 30 year Plan recognised not just the built form but identified opportunities to improve the public realm and the movement through the area. A copy of this plan is available at www.unley.sa.gov.au/major-projects. This has prompted the series of questions to help guide your input.

Now it’s your turn. Please help us create a city of the future that can and does accommodate population growth but in a way that enhances the lifestyle of those living there.

Summary of my thoughts on the Draft Planning Bill

In this 5th post on the subject of the draft Planning Bill introduced into Parliament by Minister Rau I will summarise the thoughts I have made public in my previous 4 blogs. With luck Mr Rau might take my thoughts on board in lieu of branding me too as one of those morons who dont understand development and planning.

 

Planning reform IS necessary. Everyone agrees with this. Everyone’s views on this are influenced by their involvement. I wear two hats, one as a builder and one as a resident and another as an elected member. My thoughts therefore have an empathy with all who have to operate in the system.

PLANNING AND INFRASTRUCTURE BILL 2015.UN.PDFAs the Bill is debated in Parliament the focus should deal with where the system needs improving. It should recognize the role everyone has to play and not focus on removing those seen as interfering with the process. Removing residents, removing councillors, indeed removing councils does nothing to help create a better system, All it does is create the opportunity for unregulated development.

 

 

Removing residents from the approval end of the process whilst understood by me fails to recognise that this is the part in the process they are best able and capable of participating in. Fixing the system will identify when and where they can contribute rather than waste their time when their involvement is not able to influence.

Removing elected members takes any potential conflict away but also prohibits those with possibly the best empathy for a street or suburb. This must surely reduce the chances of a good outcome.

Shifting focus of public participation might sound OK in principle in that it IS at the concept stage when we truly want the input of our residents. Doing so then would in theory avoid the frustration of seemingly not being heard at the end of the process. Achieving this is like leading a horse to water and expecting him to drink. He will when thirsty and that is when there is a development proposed next door.

I implore everyone in Government; the Minister and his colleagues, those in opposition, members of the Legislative Council to look closely at the changes proposed by this bill. Think hard about what issues will be created by implementing it, anticipate its flaws.

Be careful in blaming Councils as the Minister has repeatedly done. Shifting the deck chairs never has and never will solve the problem. Who will be responsible for planning decisions in the future. Minister Rau indicated back in (from memory) August last year that Councils (the Morons he referred to a month ago) are only competent enough to approve fences and carports   think it was.

The same people (paid officers) making these decisions will be the ones employed by the regional bodies making the new decisions, unless of course they are going to put out of work.

Shifting Focus of Public Consultation

In the second of this series of blogs I noted that the minister believes that the focus of public involvement in the development planning process shoudl be at the stage of development plan amendments not at the assessment stage.

 

His logic has good but limited reasoning behind it. The best time for public to be involved is at the time a development plan is being evolved or amended. This is when the legislators can be influenced by the observations provided by the public. Without contribution from you (a resident in the affected area) the parameters are set and you have under the current system little chance to influence the approval of development under that development plan. That is of course no guarantee that they will; take notice that is.

Under the current system you do get a say at the approval stage and as discussed in a previous blog perhaps on occasions when the approvers will have scant regard your observations because they are irrelevant on the day. The 2 storey addition in a 2 storey zone previously noted is evidence of this.

Under Mr Rau’s draft bill you will not get a say at all at the approval stage in favour of involving you only at the development of the plan stage. As I indicated previously this in my opinion will require the largest ever education program ever undertaken by the State…..and we know that wont happen.

 

th (1)It is simply a fact that most people will not be motivated during a development plan amendment because it is not relevant to them. Planning is a subjective beast and somewhat abstract when authorities are promoting a district wide change. It is a pity we cant get more people involved at that stage but try as we will while you can lead a horse to water you cant make him drink. That is unless he is thirsty.

 

And thirsty is what he/she will be when there is a specific project proposed next door to them.

Under the draft bill this horse will not be offered a chance to drink when thirsty because legislation will not allow it. The pond will be fenced off.

This discriminates against members of a community in the event of a development that does not meet the development plan Mr Rau wanted them to contribute to when they had little interest.

So as much as I said in yesterdays blog that if a proposed development complies with the development plan it should not be subject to public scrutiny if it exceeds the parameters of the plan then it should absolutely definitely be open to public scrutiny and not left to paid employees or a remote DAP with little empathy for the street to decide.

Unley’s Development Assessment Panel was influenced recently (as reported in a separate blog) by logical argument from residents over a phone tower at the Goodwood Oval which was non complying development and yet was proposed to be approved by the professionals.

So Minister you would have us contribute at the concept stage of creating a plan and then allow any development whether complying or not to be left in the hands of those who wont be impacted by the development, whether good or bad development.

 

 

 

 

 

Elected Member contribution to planning and development

The Minister is not wrong when he identifies the conflict faced by elected members sitting on Development Assessment Panels.

I understand and respect the concerns he has in respect of the pressure that being placed in an adjudication role has on someone whose primary role on Council requires a popular vote to retain.

 

As someone too from private enterprise I struggle with appointments made in the public arena based not on skill but a whole heap of politically correct criteria. Criteria that spells out everyone has an equal right to acquire a certain position.

In other words, I struggle with people who do not have building, planning or legal expertise sitting on development assessment panels. I sense that my colleagues at Unley view this similarly. They twice voted me to fill one of the elected member positions on our DAP in favour of others without my background who stood against me at the time. Had I stood for a 3rd term I suspect they would likely have repeated their support.

The City of Unley has in respect of appointing independent members to our DAP been mindful that one of the qualifications we want is someone who is not only a planner or whatever specialist discipline relative to sitting on our panel but someone who has an empathy with our neighbourhood.

Where two people of equal skill-set applies the one who lives in Unley I believe is likely in my opinion to get the nod.

Enter the Elected Member. This is precisely what the elected member brings to the table. An absolute empathy for the neighbourhood in which they live because they … live there. An elected member often has a better appreciation of a development given their connection to the street in which the development is proposed and their connection to the community through their role as an elected member.

Is it the most important contribution a panel member can bring to the DAP. No; because decisions must be made based on the development plan. It is not far behind though.

The current formula is a good one I believe and not in need of change where the focus on the plan out-ways the empathy provided by an elected member 4 to 3 on the panel of 7.

And what if the elected member is a planner or an architect, or a lawyer. What then Mr Rau. You are suggesting these people would not be compromised as independent members because they are professionals but they would be if an elected member…..because they are no longer professionals perhaps?

And I modestly suggest Unley, with its complex planning regime has got it right the whole time I have been a member. Very few decisions are challenged and of those that have been sent to the ERD court less than a handful have been overturned.

Residents contribution to planning and development

A major change in the current reform as noted in my earlier blog posts today is taking away the rights of individuals, neighbours to make representations on developments that will impact on their property.

 

On the surface this is not unreasonable as I put my Builder hat on. What has frustrated me as a builder are such things under the current system as when a permitted development (ie 2 storey in a 2 storey zone) is delayed to allow the neighbours to represent against the development because it is 2 storey.

Public notification on a project that complies is a nonsense in that representation will not change the minds of those charged with deciding whether or not to approve the development. It gives the representor an unrealistic expectation that they may influence the decision and extend the time it takes for the inevitable approval.

This is a Government issue not a council issue because Schedule 9 of the State Government’s Development Regulations 2008 triggers the call for public participation. If council did not do this then a neighbour could contest any decision made on that application.

The regulations SHOULD change to address this.

Problem is with the ministers proposal is that there will be no ability for the public to respond if the development proposed does not comply with the relevant development plan.

Here is the dilemma. Four years on our DAP qualifies me to suggest that many (if not a majority of) applications exceed the provisions of the development plan. His bill takes away your right as a neighbour to have a say on a project say 2 storey in a single storey zone.

As a builder I always tried and inevitably did design developments that complied with the relevant development plan. The result of this is most of my applications were passed in a very short space of time. Surely those who choose to push the boundaries should expect the process to take longer to ensure due process has been applied.

The minister is justifying his bill by indicating that people have the chance to contribute at the time a development plan is being implemented or undergoing an amendment. Look out for a subsequent blog for my thoughts on this.

 

 

Some thoughts from my dual hats of Planning Reforms

I have watched with interest the debate that has prevailed in recent times over Minister Rau’s planning reforms.

As a builder I have great empathy for the lengthy times it takes to get the most minor of projects through the planning system. As a councillor on the other hand I have true respect for the role the community plays in ensuring that development in their area is appropriate.

 

Interestingly the people frustrated at both ends can be the same people on different sides of the fence for the next development.

Builders and therefore their clients (you and your neighbours)  are rightfully frustrated by the time it takes to get an approval for their development, more often than not an addition to their own home. Councils have borne the focus of the angst that has created, often seen as the meddling cause of the delays. You are likely to have been a council critic. I know I have.

The truth is the system, as designed by the state government, is the cause not councils. There have been many changes proposed in the bill the minister has put before Parliament that are good. They will definitely help to improve the system significantly.

There are changes proposed that need to be at the forefront of change but which will be delayed due to I understand the cost of implementing them. I speak specifically about setting up a date based development plan regime. This is an area that should have  a focus long before those who may participate ion the approval process are questioned.

A major focus for the ministers bill is focused unfortunately on who may be involved however. He is set on  removing both residents and elected members of council out of the approval process.

I intend in the next 24 hours or so to put my thoughts on the removal of both residents and elected members from the process in separate blog posts.

So watch this space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minister Rau picks up the Planning Reform Pace.

While Unley Council’s recent focus has been on Brownhill Creek the area that I have a passion for has been simmering in the background.

 

Our Deputy Premier & Minister for Planning has been working on his various planning strategies and a number of them are coming to a head as he picks up the Planning Reform Pace.

Here is a summary of what is happening as we speak.

 

Development Plan Amendments – Ministerial Initiated

 

Inner and Middle Metro Corridor Infill DPA – This DPA is to extend the Urban Corridors Zoning much further across the cities major transport corridors.  Council has just received the Draft DPA from DPTI and is in the early stages of analysing the detail. Council has made some observations about this DPA which have already been taken on board by DPTI and therefore the Minister, such as leaving Goodwood Road’s heritage precinct alone for us to address in our own DPA sometime in the near future.

 

Existing Activity Centres DPA – The draft has recently been released by the Government for public comment until 21 October 2015.  This has significant implications for Unley and again DPTI woudl appear to accept our take that with a number of conflicts with the Corridors DPA that this shoudl not be considered in the inner rim councils.

 

30 Year Plan Update

 

Our officers having been working with Departmental Staff on an updated 30 Year Plan, which is the Metropolitan Adelaide Planning Strategy.  Officers will be provided with further briefings and invitation for feedback in the first half of October, with the expectation that a Consultation Draft of the 30 Year Plan Update will be released prior to Xmas.

 

Planning Reform Legislation

 

DPTI_Planning_System_header_560x200The Planning Reform Bill has been introduced into Parliament.  As is often the case, consultation on the Bill has opened for 30 days from 8 September – a very tight consultation period not really cognizant of Council meeting time frames. For the Masochists amongst you can access the Bill at http://dpti.sa.gov.au/planning/planning_reform and let me know what you think.

 

Latest Regulatory Changes

 

More changes have been made to Development Regulations to make the Coordinator General the relevant agency with which to lodge Development Applications for dwellings and associated land division proposals in relation to the redevelopment of existing Housing Trust properties.