Unley Community responds to the Unley Central DPA

What a night it was last Tuesday. Council hosted the community around the Unley Central Precinct. A night of emotion. A night to remember.

Unley Central PrecinctIt is back to the drawing board as the Unley Community responds to the Unley Central DPA.

Last Tuesday night Council’s City Strategy and Development committee hosted a public forum. The forum allowed rate payers to further clarify their written submissions to Council’s Unley Central DPA.

Approximately 200 people provided written submissions and around 40 backed up these submissions on the night. Most but not all were against the draft proposals.

We received some valuable input from many. Input as to how we might change the draft before putting it to the Minister for approval.

I am sure the Committee and indeed Council will take these on board.

We must be careful though not to allow ourselves to get sucked into accepting misplaced submissions. There were several these. I have thoughts on this that will be the subject of another Blog post.

Many rate payers have forgotten that we (Council and rate payers alike) all agreed back in 2006 to put a proposition to the Minister. The proposition was to protect our historic conservation zones and our streetscape zones. We offered the Minister increased density in the main street corridors and in Unley Central.

What we have found as we have rolled out the various localised DPA’s is that many in our community have forgotten this. We have also found that the keep forgetting that this is not Council driven but Government driven. Our ongoing communication, written and verbal,  is probably responsible for this.

I remind our community that if we don’t conduct these DPAs the Minsiter will do it on our behalf. If this were to happen we lose all control and the result will NOT be to anyone’s liking.

We have also found that our rate payers inevitably believe that we should be focusing on other areas to rezone. In other words, they are in opposition to rezoning their area in favour of rezoning other areas. What these people do not understand is that all areas of council apart from the zones including the Le Cornu site which was raised several times in the submissions received.

What do you think of Unley Council? That is what I was met with this morning by one of our Rate Payers.

She was clearly distressed. They are tearing down the Council Chamber she declared. “We have to stop them” she said repeatedly.

 

central-squareHer concerns related to Council’s recent announcement about investigating redeveloping the Civic Centre Site. She understood Council was about to demolish the Town Hall and the Library. She believed that Council had sent her a letter confirming this.

Newspaper articles have refrained from identifying the Civic Centre site. They have used words like “towering over Town Hall”.  Words like “radical proposal to cannibalise its own Council Chambers”. Ratepayers and others are also distributing flyers indicating Council WILL be building 8 storeys on the Village Green.

Please, please, please! Pay no attention to this alarmist dialogue. It is untrue. For the truth I invite you read my recent blog post.

And let me stress:

1    The Council is only considering whether or not to redevelop the Civic Centre Site. The Civic Centre site houses Council’s administration.

2   We are not demolishing the Town Hall or the Library. They are State Heritage listed buildings. As anyone who knows, we are very proactive in protecting our heritage.

3   We are not going to build over the Town Hall or Library.

4   We have no intention of building an 8 storey building on the Village Green.

5   We have not sent any letter saying otherwise.

6   We are simply looking into what opportunities a redevelopment of the Civic Centre site will provide to better serve the community of Unley.

7   The investigation will take some 12 months.

8   Our community will be asked to contribute what they believe we can achieve in considering such a redevelopment.

We will soon be asking you to help us determine what would be the best use of the Civic Centre site for our future community.

Can I close by asking you this question. Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

 

Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct

Inspired by what we learnt through the Development Plan Amendment for the Unley Central Precinct, Council has developed a vision for the Civic Centre site. We have determined to lead the way in revitalising the precinct with a potential redevelopment of the Civic Centre.

Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct has been for a long time now to revitalise the heart of Unley. We expect this by generating new activity in the precinct and providing more opportunity for residential living. Redevelopment of this site is an ideal catalyst to achieve this.

oxford-terrace_montagecentral-square

We have taken notice of feedback received during the DPA process. Rather than just facilitate it we realise we can play a crucial and lead role in shaping the Unley Central Precinct and in rejuvenating Unley Road. This should spark interest by others in seeing the potential of developing other sites in the Unley Central Precinct.

Our Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, has said in his public announcement of the project “I back a redevelopment of this site 100 per cent and I am excited about hearing our community’s ideas as they engage in the process.

I fully back our Mayor. This is an exciting project which has so much potential for our community.

We have no set view on what any redevelopment might include other than:

  • it will fit within the guidelines (particularly height) of the Development Plan and not stretch beyond,
  • it will be a mixed-use facility in the true sense of the development plan, providing new civic and (importantly) community facilities,
  • it will include extensive residential use in the upper floors,
  • the heritage buildings now housing the Library & the Museum will be retained,
  • the Village Green will also be retained, possibly enhanced.

Council will investigate over the next 12 months how the redevelopment of the Civic Complex on Unley Road might look. With the help of our community we also determine what services it might provide the community of Unley.

By selling the air rights above the Civic Centre we can fund the project without impacting on rates. This means we can provide improved or enhanced current facilities and/or provide new facilities our community is asking for, whatever they may be at no cost to the community. We would remain as manager of what would be a community title for development.

Watch this space as Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct evolve with your help.

 

Unley Central Precinct DPA is ready for final consultation

After nearly two years of deliberations, the Unley Central Precinct DPA is ready for final consultation. This the final chapter in shaping the future potential of the Unley Central Precinct.

The DPA encompasses the recommendations of the Development Strategy & Policy Committee. I am proud to have chaired this committee.

The criteria adopted is the result of all previous consultation with our community.  It includes what we learnt earlier this year from the successful Design Lab . We do not need to go to the extent many (including the government ) thought was needed. We believe the DPA will be approved by the Minister. It should achieve his government’s goals. We trust it will be acceptable to our community knowing we have to achieve the governments population forecasts.

shaping_the_future_unley_central_precinct_brochurep1

shaping_the_future_unley_central_precinct_brochurep2

There is no limit currently to the height of buildings in this precinct. Building heights in the precinct will now be limited. They are to be kept within our previously successful high street 30 degree envelope strategy. Keeping inside this envelope will provide the best interface with surrounding residential areas we could expect to achieve.

Significantly the area will now become a mixed use zone. Development will no longer be limited to retail or community opportunities. Opportunity for residential development in the upper floors of the buildings will now be possible.

Walking zones through the precinct have been created. This will provide for safer access than exists now, in both the north-south and the east-west directions.

Traffic flow management is not included as it is not a planning consideration under the Act. This will be addressed separately by council after the DPA is approved by the Minister.

The Unley Central Precinct DPA has commenced.

You have until November 18 this year to contribute. Another chance to input into the final draft before it is presented for the last time to DPTI and the Minister. Please take the opportunity. There is still room for fine tuning. Your input may prove pivotal to the best outcome.

 

Unley Central draft DPA considered by DSP committee

The Unley Central Draft DPA was considered last night by the Committee I chair. We considered a very in depth report from our administration and URPS, the consultants.

Unley Central DPA draftAccompanying the report was the Unley Central draft DPA. Both documents required significant reading. In my case I devoted the weekend to so doing. It is my belief the report has captured well the concerns and opinions of the public involvement to date whilst addressing the Minister’s requirements.

The report and the draft DPA can be found as attachments to the meeting agenda. This can be found here on our web site.

With strong input from independent and elected members alike the committee was quite supportive of the work that has been done. They did make a number of minor observations.

They highlighted appreciation in particular for the work done to ensure a gradual transition from existing neighbouring residential zones. The detailed work done to arrive at appropriate set backs and envelopes was appreciated.

Concerns were almost unanimously expressed regarding infrastructure needs and traffic flow. Infrastructure improvements is of course a council responsibility. A study is under way as we speak investigating this. It does not impact directly on the Unley Central draft DPA however as the DPA is purely planning.

Traffic flow was also considered in the report. It included an analysis by another consultant, Infraplan. They have made a number of observations. Once again this will be the province of council and have no direct bearing on the Unley Central draft DPA. Our independent members were supportive of the analysis by Infraplan. Elected members had concerns over such things as no right turns along Unley Road.

Council still has much work to do in these areas. The committee was keen to recommend Council pursue this. They did this by including an amendment inspired by myself to the motion (item 4 below) which was passed unanimously. The motion is below:

1.             The report be received.
 
2.            The URPS Unley Central Precinct DPA Summary of Design Lab stakeholder consultation documentation be noted.
 
3.            The draft Unley Central DPA (and the summary of proposed minor amendments) be noted.
 
4.            It be noted the traffic investigations supporting the current DPA proposals indicate there are no significant implications in the short-term. The issues identified for the longer-term should be considered via  Council’s broader strategic planning processes.
 
5.            A finalised draft Unley Central DPA (addressing the minor amendments) be prepared and presented for endorsement as suitable for public consultation to Council at its meeting on the 22 August 2016.

Now — Over to Council to endorse the Unley Central draft DPA with changes to come back to council in August. We are one step closer to public notification. I suggest this is looking like October/November. Over to council also to separately continue to pursue answers to infrastructure needs and traffic flow challenges.

E-Planning

One of the best news in my opinion to come out of the State Budget is the news that the introduction of E-Planning has been included in the budget.

The budget allocates $ 24.8 million over 4 years to carry out this modernization and simplification to the planning system.

John-Rau-3883-850x455This is by far the most important reform in the suite of planning reforms put forward under Minister John Rau in the last 4 years.

A reform that, more than any other, will simplify and make easy the task of individuals accessing the planning system of this state. The government through Minister John Rau says the reforms will unleash the potential of new developments to create jobs and strengthen the economy

For too long the public debate has been about the role of Councils in the planning process. For too long the focus has been on blaming local government for the inadequacies of the current system. During the long debate over planning reforms I have personally advocated for one reform above all others.

E-Planning, seen by the government as too expensive until now to implement, is the cornerstone of an efficient system. E-Planning is digital technology with a focus on “data base” programming rather the “word” programming as is currently the case.

By creating a state wide data base E-Planning will enable anyone, whether a building or planning technician or a mum & dad property developer to know exactly what form of development is permissible on any property. It will allow YOU to put your address into a search engine and be provided instantly with the planning parameters applicable to that site.

Whether you are building a new home from scratch, an extension to your home, or a pergola/verandah you will know what you can safely submit to Council. You can enjoy an expectation of approval if you design within those parameters.

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.

Your Say on the Future of Unley Central

To help guide new development and achieve the goals of the Government’s 30 year plan Council needs to change it’s development plan to accommodate the future of Unley Central.

This is something we must do as our development plan is required by law to reflect the strategic planning of the State Government. Noting this, Council’s vision for our city is that we be recognised for our “vibrant community spirit, quality lifestyle choices, business strength and innovative leadership.

To help realise this vision we conducted a study into the potential for higher and denser building forms to achieve new commercial and residential developments in and around the District Centre of Unley.

The result was we produced in 2014 the Unley Central Precinct Plan.Unley-Central-Concept-Image-for-YSU

This 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

We have now engaged a consultant team lead by URPS to provide recommendations on the desired urban design, built form, land use, traffic, transport,  and parking to guide the preparation of the planning policy. This is where you come in.

We encourage you to have your say by reviewing the information on the web site or by attending one of our forums as listed below this week. You can then provide your thoughts and suggestions by completing a survey, meeting a member of the consultant team, reviewing the website or by contacting Angela Hazebroek or Michael Arman at URPS on 8333 7999 or [email protected]

The forums are as follows:

at the Unley Library

on Thursday 19 November 2015 between 6.00pm and 8.00pm

on Saturday 21 November between 1.00pm and 3.00pm

at the Unley Shopping Centre

on Thursday 19 November between 3.00pm and 5.00pm

on Saturday 21 November between 10.00am and 12 noon.

This is about the future of Unley Central. If you care about Unley now is the time to contribute. It will be too late under the Minister for Planning’s proposed changes to the Development Act if you wait to respond to development on the block next door to you in 5 years time. Please provide us your views by Friday 4 December, 2015.

 

 

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.

Where we are with DPA 2

Further to my post on this website today about Council’s program of Development Plan Amendments I can comment more specifically on where we are with DPA 2.

 

After the strong contribution to DPA 2 by you, particularity those residing in Back Forest and Clarence Park, we conducted a preliminary review prior to the Council caretaker period for the November 2014 elections. The elections unfortunately delayed further progress until a complete review was presented to the new Development, Strategy & Policy Committee and then to Council in April 2015.

The review took on board your contribution and in respect of Black Forest and Clarence Park has all but recommended we maintain the status quo. In other words the proposed changes have been withdrawn almost in their entirety. Higher Density is still contemplated for the aged accommodation precinct at the South Road end of Norman Terrace, Everard Park.

Council also agreed with a suggestion from DPTI to split the Residential DPA into two parts:

Part 1 – east of a line along Goodwood Road, tram-line and East Avenue for final approval by the Minister for Planning

Part 2 – west of a line along Goodwood Road, tram-line and East Avenue for approval to release for re-consultation.

Part 1 was submitted in June 2015 for approval by the Minister for Planning. Approval is anticipated later in August 2015.

The necessary preparation of a revised DPA Part 2 (for the western areas – excluding Anzac Highway and Leader Street as these areas are now part of the Corridors Ministerial DPA) is being prepared.

Conclusion and submission of a revised draft DPA Part 2 to the Minister for approval to release for public consultation should occur by August 2015. The timing and coordination of the public release of the Residential DPA Part 2 will need to be considered in the context of the Minister’s Corridors DPA, and also with the Council’s General DPA, to avoid confusion and convergence of resource demands.

Where we are with DPA 2 right now. Watch this space as time marches on.

Where are we with our Development Plan Amendments

With the recent announcement by the Minister that he plans a wide reaching Development Plan Amendment (DPA) focused on Activity Centres it is timely for me to report how we are going with our Development Plan Amendments.

 

The three current DPAs being pursued by the Development, Strategy & Policy Committee I chair are progressing as follows:

1   DPA 2

This has been split into 2 parts as you may remember from previous posts on this website.

– Part 1 (EAST) submitted for Approval of the Minister – June 2015. We await his rubber stamp on this.

– Part 2 (WEST) is being prepared for submission for approval to release for further public consultation, probably in August 2015. I will comment further on this DPA in a separate blog post. If you live in Goodwood or Clarence Park Wards this should be compulsory reading.

2   General DPA

The draft proposal was examined during this committees workshop in May 2015. We are now refining some of the proposals and the final draft being prepared subject to resolution of Minister’s DPAs on Activity Centres and Corridors.

The recently announced Activity Centres and Corridors Ministerial DPA’s will however affect the General DPA non-residential zones proposed revisions. It may slow this one down. This in turn may slow down DPA 2 as well as we had planned to take both out together to the community for your input.

3   Unley Central Precinct DPA

Our statement of Intent submitted in January 2015 was approved by the Minister on 31 May last. A tender is currently being processed to appoint a consultant team by August 2015 to engage stakeholders and the community and to prepare a draft DPA. We would expect to see this being completed by say March 2016. This is presuming that the Ministerial DPA I spoke of back on the 26th May does not require us to redirect resources to contribute to the Ministerial DPA.

The committee is poised ready to work through the next stages of each of these Development Plan Amendments.