Regeneration Zones not in accordance with Criteria

One of the biggest issues causing widespread anxiety amongst the residents of Black Forest with the draft DPA2 Council has sought feedback on is with the Residential Regeneration Zones.

The selection criteria used to determine which streets are included and which are not is what is causing the confusion and the anxiety, if not simple outrage at being picked on the save others.

Council has indicated that they used the following criteria to determine which streets should be included in the Residential Regeneration Zone:

          v  development that is nearing the end of its economic life or is under-utilised
          v  non-character areas
          v  areas where medium density development already exists
          v  areas close to centres, public  transport and open space

Here is the problem, there are a number of streets such as Dryden Avenue where the only thing that qualifies it is being near public transport. Indeed it is a street that compares better than most as far as NOT being near the end of it’s useful life or under utlisied. It compares better than mist for being character. It is all single storey and spacious.

When a street such as this gets included, something that is patently flawed, it brings into question the entire plan. There are other streets in Black Forest where this repeats itself.

Indeed the east end of Aroha Terrace is included in the Regeneration Zone (the middle being left out). This short length of road has two locally listed heritage buildings. One has to ask what happens to their protection in the event that either side of them and behind they can potentially be dwarfed.

As your representative it is my take that the regeneration zones, if any are to be included in Black Forest, should be limited to the current property that is in institutional hands. 

The same may well apply with our eastern neighbours and I will get a better handle on what applies over their during the public forum.

Why Not Include the Centre Areas of Unley

A frequent complaint amongst those living in Black Forest and Clarence Gardens, and I believe in Everard Park with this DPA. They claim we have been targeted to save those “posh” or wealthy suburbs.

I can not blame people for this as our (Council’s) communication did not spell out to those who have not been aware that this process has been going on for some time that it was just our turn this year.

The centre area north of the Council on Unley Road have already been through this process.That amendment (known as DPA 3) the Main Roads Corridor.

As is often the case people do not pay much attention to what is going on or being proposed until it is on their door step. And that is fair enough. But we did not recognise that this would be the case and omitted to show what had happened in order to put things into perspective.

People in the west, trust me. WE ARE NOT THE SACRIFICIAL BUNNY.

Greenhill Road and Unley Road have both been through this process before and attracted a lot of attention and reaction at the time. This DPA has now been rubber stamped by the Minister for Planning, John Rau after a long consultative process. A process that allowed for some significant modifications to the plan to address impositions that would have impacted on neighbours and therefore the neighbourhood had the changes not occurred.

One major change was a last minute back down by DPTI, on behalf of the minister on a previous non-negotiable, when it came to set backs for side boundaries and what we called the envelope. They (he) assented that buildings exceeding 2 storeys in height should fit within an envelope created by drawing a 30 degree line from 2 metres high on the boundary.

This is an initiative included in the current DPA, although I believe it needs extending from just being on the zone boundaries to being on property boundaries.

Greenhill Road has now approval for building heights ranging from 5 storeys at the east end, to 7 in the centre and 10 behind the Showgrounds. The north end of Unley Road (something I voted against) has been approved for 3 to 5 stories of mixed use, retail on the ground floor, commercial on the next and residential above this.

These two roads we claim have already provided the Government the numbers they have asked from the City of Unley. This is not good enough for them however and so we find ourselves trespassing into the outer rim of the Council area.

Just so that you know we are also working currently on Unley Central, an area north of Mary Street, South of Thomas Street and stretching from the Unley Shopping Centre to the Unley Oval. This is expected to transform this area allowing mixed use. Including residential accommodation over retail, commercial, entertainment and open space will potentially transform and invigorate this area (if we get it right).

It is an area that will surely attract redevelopment before our little patch. It is an area that can add well more to the Government’s targets than our little patch.

Beyond that, Goodwood Road will also come under the microscope into the future.

DPA2 Flawed Residents claim

This is the consensus of the majority of the responses we got to the recent survey on the draft Village Living and Desirable Neighbourhoods Development Plan Amendment-Residential Character, Growth Areas and Council Wide Residential Policy Review.

Council has now received the submissions, numbering 285 with many coming from the Goodwood South Ward. 68 of these have indicated a wish to speak at the public forum on Monday 16th at the Unley Civic Centre.

This will be a long night with each representer allowed 5 minutes to speak, and the panel being able to ask questions of that representer. If there are no questions and the speakers all take their 5 minutes we are looking at 5 hours and 40 minutes of verbal submissions.

It will commence at 5.00 pm with a half hour break at 6.30 pm to accommodate this number. The comments we will receive on the night will naturally echo what has been put in writing.

What we have already heard is that many streets have been singled out for change without any apparent justification. The common theme for those areas marked for residential regeneration is people have read the criteria that was used to justify their street being included and in most cases the evidence from their perspective is their street should have, under that very criteria, been excluded.

Those who have their street in the new Residential Zone are concerned about the potential for 3 storey development, which could occur with amalgamation of properties with a developer purchasing from the current owners multiple properties.

Still others observed that their properties were going to border the regeneration zone but that their own property was having the reverse treatment, increasing in size form 350 m2 or 400 m2 per building to 700 m2 or 800 m2 per building creating a large disparity between zones that limit or stifle their chances for redevelopment while not providing a buffer between medium density zone and the sparse zone being created.

Many observations followed the strategy that residential regeneration should be focused on the main traffic routes and interestingly many of these remain untouched by this plan. Except that short length of South Road at Everard Park that allows access to properties for vehicular traffic coming only from the north….that section of road adjacent the Gallipolli underpass.

A number of respondents correctly chastised us for a poor presentation of the facts. The brochure provided in the post was confusing at best. And I agree totally. As someone well familiar in my business and as a member of our Development Assessment Panel with Development Plans I found it confusing at best. The extent of those surveyed admonished us also for not including in the survey those indirectly affected that were not originally consulted.

As always you get the simply negative I only want to argue against it with no considered rationale why. You always get those that simply want to accuse the Council of not listening without saying anything else. And we got those that figured this was a wasted exercise because we will not listen.

These were few and far between on this survey thankfully. The vast majority of respondents were well researched and well thought through. Their observations are well worth taking on board.

Well guys and girls.

Here is one Councillor who is listening and I can safely say my co-Councillor is too. And I am aware of others who have heard what is being said.

I congratulate every one of you who did participate because you are truly helping to shape what your neighbourhood will look like in the future. I have found myself on many an occasion promoting to respondents who are complaining against something in an individual development next door to them that the then Development Plan allows, at a Development Assessment Panel meeting that the time to raise the issues they are raising is at the time of a Development Plan Amendment.

This you have done and your comments will be listened to by Council.

I attended an “on the couch session” last Friday with the Minister for Planning John Rau and the Opposition Spokesperson Stephen Griffith being interviewed. I was heartened to hear that the minister say he was full of praise for the way in which Unley has handled the process of DPAs up until now. I take this to mean he too will listen if we believe this particular DPA is flawed and we have to make major changes to it meaning it will have to go back out for further public consultation.

As this exercise is of prime importance to my neighbours I will expand on some of the issues touched on in this blog post in subsequent posts. So…..Watch this Space! 

DPA2 angst makes Eastern Courier.

The Eastern Courier has run a storey on the latest DPA in Unley addressing the Government 30 year plan.

If you missed it you can access the electronic version at this link 

As many of you know Jennie and I have door knocked the most affected areas to make sure everyone to make sure every resident was aware of the changes. We were also keen to make sure that everyone with an opinion, positive OR negative respond to the survey.

Our exercise was not about lodging complaints, although I suspect the vast majority will be just that. If there are people who believe the changes to be good then we want to know that too.

It is not for us (Jennie & I) to persuade you either way but what we absolutely want is to know that we know your thoughts on it. Without this knowledge we can not make decisions that truly reflect the reasoned opinions of our people.

For me this is double jeopardy as not only will I be required to make a decision on what we put to the minister I am also on the committee that will hear the public submissions and which will then make recommendation to the council.

DPA2 Galvanises Community

The community of Clarence Park and Black Forest has been inundated with Government & Council intrusions that have tested many recently but also galvanised us and help to build a stronger community than the one we believe we had before the train corridor upgrade.

Never before has this one small community had to deal with so much over a prolonged period and its still happening. I trust this is not my ding because it has coincided with my time on Council. Maybe this is why I was lured into taking on the role, to be there with my community to get the best deal we can from all being thrown at us.

This time it is Councils DPA2 that is galvanising the community. When I say Council’s DPA I really should say the State Government’s DPA via the Minister for Planning.

Anyhow, we (Council, acting on behalf of the Government to achieve accommodation for the expected population growth in the 30 year plan) have received numerous submissions. There have been many resident meetings and Jennie & I have met with many.

As a member of the committee that will receive these submissions I am expecting a lot of reading. I expect too a long night on the 16th June at the Unley Civic Centre when we hear verbal submissions in support of the written submissions received.

I have seen one or two submissions already be having been copied into them. And what i can say tho those who prepared them, well done. They have been well researched and they have been constructive and helpful to finding solutions.

There is one thing that I am keen to find out as we move toward that public hearing and that is what population numbers will this plan provide the Government. During this whole period of public consultation I have not seen what the numbers are that we are trying to accommodate.

I will be looking to find out how many the new R zone in our Ward will generate. Separately I will be looking to find out what numbers the RR zones might generate.

I don’t know about you but I quite frankly suspect this DPA will make very little contribution to the Governments targets . The more I look at the R zone the more I wonder how much the DPA is different enough to create the numbers, particularly when the reverse has occurred in part of Black Forest where property ratios have actually increased.

Interesting times ahead as this one moves forward to maybe a conclusion before Council goes into Care taker mode before the next election.

DPA2 Reminder

This is just a reminder that if you want to make a submission to the recommendation contained in the current Development Plan Amendment you have until Thursday this week.

Remember also that this is the best opportunity you have to influence the sort of development that can occur next door to you or indeed that you yourself can do.

Please have your say.

So Just what Do I think?

While Jennie & I have been out there talking to you and your neighbours about the Development Plan Amendment DPA2 we have been met with a question that I hope I can answer here.

We have been out on the roads and footpaths meeting you at your doorstep with the aim to ensure you:

ü  Are aware of the proposed DPA2.
ü  That you recognise that it does affect you (if you live west of East Avenue that is)
ü  That you understand it.
ü  That you tell Council what you think about it, whether positive or negative.

We are doing this so that we can be as informed as we possibly can be so as to understand what you think of the proposed changes to residential zoning in Goodwood South. Your reactions do differ and this reinforces that we are doing the right thing in getting out to meet with you.

For these of you we have not yet seen, feel free to contact either one of us so express your views and to seek help in properly telling Council what you think in a way that will allow you to be properly heard.

So back to the question. What do I think?

I think your views are important. Important enough to find out what they are. I am developing views as a result of listening to what you have to say. And some of these are coming out in my blog posts.

When it comes time to vote I can best represent and advocate for you. I cant do that if I don’t know what you think. Once I understand what your position is and what is important to you I ca be best able to represent you and advocate for you.

When 3 storey is not 3 storey- when it does not deliver

One of the principles underpinning the development plan amendment in what will become the new Residential Zone within Unley is the opportunity to potentially have three storey development in this zone.

Will this provide the Government what they are after by way of extra people into the inner rim councils?Unlikely!

Will it create widespread  redevelopment with substantial overlooking? Again Unlikely!

The inclusion of indicating 3 stories is possible has frightened a number of home owners and I believe has panicked a number of them.

Here is my take on the situation.

Very few opportunities will exist without large scale amalgamations of properties to achieve any level of development allowing three stories that will in turn have any impact on the governments need for accommodating numbers of people. As I drive around the streets of Black Forest and Clarence Park I find little evidence that three storey development that can bring about increased residency can be achieved.

In my travels I hear similarly from residents.

So here is one option I think anyone with a concern with this development plan amendment could put to Council and that is to simply remove PDC 9 from the amendment. The reason is it is illogical to have a provision that will be hard to fulfill due to other constraints that will limit it significantly, sufficient to make it ineffectual in providing the higher population density being suggested.

Any specific site that could achieve it now could be identified within the plan, just as has happened at the Fisher Street site known to locals as Julia Farr Centre. This might include the Housing Trust Site in Dunrobin Street, or the nearby ECH site. Co-incidentally both these sites are in the Residential Regeneration site.

Why Acknowledge Local Heritage and then create a Regeneration Zone around it

Having spent a bit of time in the north of Black Forest in the last week I have a resounding question I struggle to find an answer to?

Why would we earmark a section of a suburb that has some of the more expensive properties of the suburb, and an area with local heritage houses be earmarked for the new regeneration zoning for Unley. I spoke with one resident earlier this week about his house, one of those listed as local heritage, who is likewise confused.

He receives a letter from Council one week that confirms his house has been listed as local heritage.

A few weeks later he gets a letter asking for his opinion abut his house now being in the residential regeneration zone, which will allow redevelopment of 3 storeys and more all around him.

This is clearly a question that warrants answering before council submits their thoughts to the Minister.

DPA 2 – Your say

While the most talked about DPA’s relating to the Government’s 30 year plan is DPA 3 (which covers the development around the corridors of Greenhill Road and Unley Road) the one that will impact on the residents of Goodwood Ward is DPA 2.
As reported in my last blog we expect the draft Development plan Amendment impacting on Goodwood South Ward is due to come back from the Minister’s Office in May or April. At that time we will be going back out for a last round of public consultation before finally Council considers it.
This plan suggests some significant changes that will impact on parts of Goodwood South.
Clarence Park (west of East Avenue) for example will see some tightening of minimum areas of housing from 350m2 per house to 300m2. This is a subtle change that could see some sites being able to be redeveloped from single houses to up to 3.
More to the point though there are pockets of Black Forest that potentially could be rezoned to allow medium density development of 3 or more storeys. These will centre mainly in the North West pocket of the Ward, around Aroha Terrace and the south west corner around Emerson crossing.
Council considered a public consultation process at our recent City Strategy & Policy Committee meeting that, whilst well ahead of the minimum requirements we are legally bound to, fall short of what I would have thought appropriate. This is a significant policy change that I believe warrants us mailing to every household in the affected areas.
This is not be however as my colleagues opted for a less costly approach.
So be it.
When the time comes Jennie and I will endeavour to make sure everyone in the affected areas will be advised of their opportunity to comment.