Influencing the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways

While the local government elections proceed and we are in caretaker mode, I am still out there working for you. In particular, I am contributing to Council’s response to the Government’s proposed Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

As the Government’s reform package does not wait on Council elections it becomes difficult for elected members to have influence over the debate. That has not stopped me however.

.

I am offering opinions in two current planning areas that impact on you.  They are the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways.

Accredited Professionals Scheme

In my opinion, the Accredited Professionals Scheme is sadly lacking and is fraught with danger. The proposed accreditation appears to be quite liberal.

The level of experience for assessment panel members is surprisingly limited. It flies in the face of the previous ministers’ assertions the involvement of Council elected members. He believed elected members largely had an insufficient skillset. The proposed qualifications however for future panel members would curiously allow elected members easy access to the panel.

Likewise, as a retired building inspector, I am concerned that the Level 4 accreditation for building inspectors requires only 6 months experience. It seems we may be moving to a system which allows what I would consider less competency than now. Surely a backwards step.

Assessment Pathways 

I am pushing that Assessment pathways for any development that has variances to the plan such that they impact on the neighbourhood, even if only “minor” should have a public consultation component to them.

We must continue to fight for this. This is because developments invariably will sit outside the parameters set in a development plan.

Assessment must remain with Council rather than with private certifiers when public notification is a requirement. This is because councils are the only body with the availability of being transparent and accountable.

Private Certifiers will never have the level of accountability that Councils have. Even with the number of elected members sitting on assessment panels reduced to one, accountability is only possible with Councils being responsible.

Two extremes of public notification need to be addressed. I am promoting accordingly.

Obviously larger developments must include public notification and this must extend beyond just the immediate neighbours. Rear of house developments regularly however do not impact on other than the immediate neighbour/s. This includes neighbours who live on the other side of the street and cannot see the development. Those not impacted should not be invited to make representation.

If re-elected, I will remain in a position of working for you and providing local leadership on the Accredited Professionals Scheme and Assessment Pathways and all subsequent planning changes.

 

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

Providing Local Leadership: Protecting Heritage and character areas

Protecting heritage and character areas is something the City of Unley has fought hard for. This was our first goal in working with the Government when they first started revising the Development Act.

 

Renewing Our Heritage Planning

Protecting heritage and character areas was our first focus when the previous State Government introduced their wish to change the planning system. In return we guaranteed we could provide the numbers of additional housing to meet their 30 year plan.

Afterwards, the then Minister challenged the concept of character housing. The current Government appears to have a similar view to him.

They appear to have a view that demolition of local heritage buildings be by a simple merit based consideration. Considerations not much different to standard housing. Their focus right now is not only on local heritage but on character housing zones.

It appears the Government is looking to water down the provisions of protecting local heritage and character zones. They are looking to make demolition easier. They see the answer being the use of generic rules. Rules that in my opinion may work in one area but not reasonably in another, such as Unley.

 

The current Council has continued to lobby for protections seen as important by Unley’s community. The new Council will need to continue the fight.

The new council will need briefing as soon as is practicable. Immediately after they are commissioned in order that we can continue the fight is preferable. This whole planning overhaul is moving in a way that limits our ability to respond on behalf of our community.

The new council, in this background, needs to be provided an opportunity to understand the history, the process and the schedule going forward so as to contribute appropriately. Accordingly, I have already prompted our Management to engage the new Council immediately they are commissioned.

With the aim of protecting heritage and character areas, if re-elected, I will  continue in providing local leadership to guide the new Council through the lobbying yet to do.

Written & authorised by Don Palmer, 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park SA 5034

The proposed Kaufland Development on the LeCornu Anzac Highway site is fundamentally flawed.

The proposed Kaufland Development on the LeCornu Anzac Highway site is fundamentally flawed. As I argued in my other blog today it is seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

I argued it is diametrically the opposite of the vision the State Government and the Council have for this site. A vision for medium density housing.

The Government was quite clear in how it looked to house our population into the future. It was by focusing on increasing residential density in the inner rim council areas. The development plan recognises this. The proposal does not. It recreates the carparking focus of the past.

Car parking at grade is a major component of this development. Because of the focus on this, the proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The development plan views this site as primarily in a residential area. To compliment this, one of the Principles of Development Control in the Unley Development Plan states:

“no” vehicle parking is to be located or made visible from the Anzac Highway or Leader Street frontages, except where parking is required for people with a disability.”

In other words, the development plan recognises that parking at grade is a visual eyesore. Parking at grade (at street level) should not be a major part of a residential zone. With its retail focus, this development contravenes this basic principle.

With a focus therefore on anything but residential this development fails miserably. Because it is a retail only project, it is fundamentally flawed. Therefore, it is seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

The State Commission Assessment Panel must surely recognize the complete failure of the development to meet the fundamental requirement of the Development Plan.

Approval by the SCAP will make a mockery of what the Government and Council have endeavoured to achieve in addressing population growth. Taking a site so suited to medium density residential development and focusing it instead on a mega supermarket is diametrically opposite to the vision and should be refused.

Kaufland, Anzac Highway: Seriously at Variance to Unley Development Plan

The proposed Kaufland development on the old Anzac Highway LeCornu site is, I believe, seriously at variance to the Unley Development Plan.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayAn initial cursory look at the plans last week had me thinking it was not seriously at variance. This was based on recognising only the built form.

.

The height of the proposed structure is only 2 storeys. The set back to Anzac Highway well over the allowable 3m. The set back to Leader Street, where it abuts the adjacent residential zone, is 5m rather than the 2m allowed.

Taking an opportunity this week to check  the development proposed more thoroughly revealed to me differently. Without a doubt, the Kaufland proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The Development Plan stems from the recent Ministerial (Specific Sites) DPA. A plan influenced by Council’s input. Input in keeping with our strategy for all Urban Corridor Development Zones within our Council. Input the Government (as previously reported on this blog site) is now using to correct poor design outcomes in other Council areas.

Here is the crunch.

The proposed development is a fully retail development focusing on a mega supermarket. It has no residential component. This is diametrically the opposite of what the then minister, and Council envisaged for this area.

The first two objectives for what is called Policy Area 24 within the plan are as follows:

Objective 1

A medium Density Residential area” supported” by local shops, offices and community spaces.

Objective 2

A highly varied streetscape allowing “multiple” built form design responses that supports innovative housing and mixed-use development.

 

The desired character for the policy area therefore is (as the plan says) to “primarily’ serve a residential function with support “only” of shops, offices etc. There can be no argument therefore. This development therefore is clearly seriously at variance to the intention of the development plan.

The Development Plan goes even deeper. It includes a minimum density requirement. It calls for a minimum density of 45 dwellings per hectare. The development site is 20,950 m2 in size. This means there should be at least 90 homes/units on this site

This surely is a critical requirement. Without even a single house it can therefore seriously only be viewed as seriously at variance to the plan.

This fundamental flaw in the Kaufland Development creates a major conflict for a residential area. My blog today on carparking demonstrates further that it is  seriously at variance to the development plan and should be refused.

Community Engagement Charter Adopted by new State Government

Not quite a month in office and the new Government, through their Minister for Planning Stephan Knoll, has announced the adoption of the Community Engagement Charter.

Stephan Knoll

 

This is the Community Engagement Charter developed by the previous State Government. Let us hope the new government follows the intent of the Charter.

Many in the community believe the previous Government, while waiving the big stick at Councils, did not practice what they preached. This may well have contributed to their election loss.

The announcement is as follows:

The Minister for Planning has announced the adoption and release of the Community Engagement Charter for implementation commencing on 27 April 2018.

Community engagement is at the heart of the new planning system that will be introduced over the next 3-4 years.  The Community Engagement Charter (the Charter) supports new and innovative ways to talk to communities and other interested parties about planning issues.

The Charter changes the way that local and state governments are required to consult with the community during the preparation of changes to planning strategies and policies (such as rezoning of land).

Rather than legislative one-size-fits-all approach the Charter requires those consulting to tailor the engagement to suit the project and the communities who are interested and may be impacted by the proposed changes.

It recognises that with technological advances there are many options to successfully consult with communities. Local and state governments and other bodies consulting on planning matters will be required to meet the following principles in undertaking engagement.

  1. Engagement is genuine
  2. Engagement is inclusive and respectful
  3. Engagement is fit for purpose
  4. Engagement is informed and transparent
  5. Engagement processes are reviewed and improved

The Charter has been informed by a staged consultation starting with the Planning Together Panel and input by a broader stakeholder group.  The Discussion Draft of the Charter was then released for six weeks of public consultation. Following that the Draft Charter was released for another six weeks of public consultation before final amendments were made. More information on the consultation process can be found on the SA Planning Portal.

It is recognised that the Charter will need to evolve over time.  In its first year, it will primarily be applied to the development of the new State Planning Policies, the Planning and Design Code, and Infrastructure Schemes as required under the new Act.

As the State Planning Commission prepares these documents, it will test the Charter and its application to allow for its ongoing evolution. During this time the Commission welcomes ongoing feedback to assist in monitoring and improving the Charter.

A copy of the Community Engagement Charter can be downloaded from the SA Planning Portal http://www.saplanningportal.sa.gov.au/our_new_system/community_engagement_charter:

Kaufland have confirmed their interest in the Anzac Highway Le Cornu Site

By presenting a development application Kaufland have confirmed their interest in the Anzac Highway Le Cornu site.

 

Anzac Highway LeCornu siteThey recently lodged a development application for “a new retail development”. The proposed development is only for the front 60% of the existing LeCornu site . A development that will include a major supermarket, a range of small tenancies and office space.

A development which will not contain any residential component. Accordingly the 5 storeys height allowed under the new development plan will not be reached.

Other developers will be offered the remaining eastern rear 40% in due course. When this happens it may well be a 5 storey development.

The State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) will determine the application and not Council.  Under the current planning laws we are allowed only a commentary role. We are limited to matters of direct involvement. Such matters as:

  • public realm improvements.
  • street trees.
  • stormwater.
  • traffic management.
  • waste management.
  • encroachments, or the like.

Our Administration will review the proposal.  In due course draft comments will be provided to Elected Members for our perusal and feedback before we submit them. We will then present them to SCAP.

Furthermore, the application will be subject to Category 2 public notification to adjacent properties. Notification will however be limited only to direct neighbours and property owners on the opposite side of the streets of the site within 60 metres of the boundaries of the site. Once the timing for Cat 2 notification is known, I will alert readers of this blog via my Facebook page.

In the meantime, I will seek audience with our administration so that I may view the detail of the proposal and offer assistance to Council’s input. I am aware of a number of concerns of near neighbours. I will ensure their concerns  are considered in our submission.

Planning Process Pains Perpetuated in Fullarton

A sitting of Unley’s Council Assessment panel last night saw how Planning Process Pains Perpetuate. This was in evidence with the approval of a 2-storey development on the corner of Culross Avenue and Fullarton Road.

Approved Development for Culross Avenue and Fullarton Road.

Neighbouring residents turned up on mass to protest a development proposed for that site. They left disillusioned by the Planning Process.

Several neighbours made verbal representations, backing up their written submissions. Unley MP David Pisoni, likely to be the planning minister in the new Government, also made representation.

The Panel approved the development. They did so because the application because it was not significantly at variance to the development plan. This was much to the dismay of the gallery.

Much of their dismay centred on understanding that development plans are not prescriptive, but a guideline. They felt that a minimum in the plan should be just that, a minimum.

Planning is not an exact science. This can even confuse those in the industry.

Opportunity missed in the Planning Process

Most of their dismay centred however in an arena they had control over a few years back. Last year this section of Fullarton Road was rezoned. The then Planning Minister signed off, as part of the planning process, on a development plan amendment.

Residents had an opportunity some 4 to 5 years ago to make representation at this stage of the planning process. Back then there was a proposal to alter our development plan to contribute to the Governments 30-year plan.

Not many did, unlike those in the west. The people in the west turned up in force to protest the changes. More to the point they were successful.

Back then, Jennie & I doorknocked all affected residents in Black Forest. We did so to ensure they received and understood the advice provided them by Council. We found many had not bothered to check the mail. Many also did not understand the potential impact on their neighbourhood. Our mentoring helped them, obviously with contrasting results to what happened in Fullarton.

Ultimately the DPA was split into two. The east was approved by the minister with the west left to be argued later (indefinitely).

This has resulted in a development approved that may not have been contemplated had the east been as informed and proactive as the west obviously was. One of many to come, one suspects.

Please Minister, Follow Unley’s Lead

As the government tries to take the lead on Planning Reform I implore them to follow Unley’s lead.

 

The Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure (DPTI), on behalf of the Minister, wrote to us late last year. They put a proposition to us  to co-operate with them as they push ahead with the Government’s planning agenda.

In attempting to take the lead on planning reform they have asked councils to collaborate with them. They are asking us to sign a formal agreement to work with them. An agreement intended as a living document that will adapt as things evolve and change. An agreement recognising the need for a more “formal” elected member involvement and direction.

I implore them to simply follow Unley’s lead. They have agreed with Unley’s approach to good design but this has yet to occur in other council areas.

This week our City Strategy & Policy Committee will be making a recommendation to Council in response to the Government’s request. I expect the committee (of which I am a member) and indeed council to agree to work with them. To facilitate the efficient and effective development and implementation of the new planning system, the co-operation and contribution of local government is pivotal.

In a spirit of continued co-operation and as an investment in better “local” outcomes, a genuine commitment to involvement is warranted. However, this must work both ways.

They (DPTI) need to recognise our understanding of the local environment. They need to follow Unley’s lead. Furthermore, other councils need to follow Unley’s lead.

We have already, with a series of DPAs, achieved the population accommodation required by the Government’s 30-year plan. We achieved this with selective rezoning. It has been achieved with planning principles for transitioning to adjacent residential zones not achieved anywhere else.

Please Minister, whoever you may be after the upcoming election, follow Unley’s lead.

The State Commission Assessment Panel not a rubber stamp

News fresh at hand would suggest the State Commission Assessment panel is not a rubber stamp. I have just received advice on there most recent decision. The new proposed Cremorne Plaza development has been deferred.

At their recent meeting they resolved as follows:

The State Commission Assessment Panel resolved to defer consideration of the proposal by Future Urban Group for DA 090/M008/17 at 244-246 Unley Road, Unley subject to the receipt of amended plans and documentation in relation to the following:
·          A review of the height of the development in the context of the planning policy and surrounding character of the area.
·          A review of overlooking impacts.
·          A review of the amenity of the south facing apartments and balconies in light of potential development to the south of the property.
·          A review of the visual bulk of the building.
·          Further examination of the finishes and materials proposed particularly on the podium.
·          A review of the parking provisions in light of the loss of available street parking arrangements on Hart Avenue, and the shortfall of carparks on site related to the provision of retail space.
·          A review of the Unley Road frontage and the Unley Road/Hart Avenue corner of the site to ensure feasible activation of the ground floor and public realm, especially as the outdoor dining area is unlikely to be supported by Council and DPTI Transport’s requirement for a 4.5m by 4.5m corner cutoff, under the Metropolitan Road Widening Act.
·          Consideration of the inclusion of areas for deep rooted plantings on the development site.
·          An updated waste management plan.
It is strongly suggested that further engagement be made with ODASA to resolve some of the above matters.

This may be evidence that the Unley Development Plan is succeeding.

Succeeding in restricting the ad hoc development we have seen elsewhere. It certainly goes to the heart of our Development Plan and our submission to the SCAP.

Time will tell if the SCAP is not a rubber stamp.

Community participation in government community engagement programs do impact

The benefit of community participation in government community engagement programs can be seen behind the headlines in yesterday’s Advertiser “New Laws pave way for $200m in high-rise projects.

The report goes on to indicate that Adelaide is set to go sky high. The State Government has approved taller building height limits for eight hubs across the metropolitan area. Actually 8 specific sites would be a more accurate description. This means four sites in total were removed from the DPA, including one in Unley.

The community engagement on the Development Plan Amendment (DPA) covered twelve sites, 4 of which are in the City of Unley. The sites removed were all hotly contested by the relevant local community. That included our own site 7 at Unley Road Malvern.

 “I have not approved rezoning for the 4 sites where the community was strongly opposed to the rezoning, and where impacts on adjoining residents would be more difficult to manage,” Planning Minister John Rau said.

“The size and location of those sites meant that the interface with existing houses would be challenging.”

His observations of the impact of such development at Malvern are “spot on”.

Had it not been though for the community reaction of the local residents would likely not have been made. Truthfully, they are that obvious the sites should not have been considered in the first place.

 A victory therefore for people power. But only because they stood up and spoke. It is rare for the community to stand up at the DPA stage of the process. Rather the end of the process when an actual development is likely not at serious variance to the approved plan.

Cr Michael Rabbitt is to be congratulated for alerting the residents in this area. This is like Jennie and I did a couple of years back when DPA2 was on the books and with similar result.

It will be interesting to see how the local residents react when a development application is lodged at the other 8 sites, including the 3 in Unley.