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?

 

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.

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.

Building Heights along Greenhill Road the next challenge.

High Rise Development on Greenhill Road facing the south parklands was always expected under the Governments 30 year plan and Unley’s urban corridors DPA that was approved by the minister for planning back in January of last year. But what building heights will be seen when compared to that which was envisaged under the plan.

 

I am of the understanding that an 8 storey mixed use development is proposed for Greenhill Road at Wayville. If that is the case then once again we see the first application received under the new Development Plan testing the limits.

An Informal Referral from DPTI inviting Council’s comments on an 8 Storey Mixed Use (office and serviced apartments) development at 56 Greenhill Road Wayville has been received. Like the recent 7 storey development proposed for Cremorne Plaza on Unley Road the height of this development is outside that permitted in the Unley Development Plan.

The development plan permits 7 storey development along this stretch of Greenhill Road. 8 storeys will obviously push the envelope and this will no doubt attract some intense interest from the public at large.

DPTI I believe aim to table the application at the 24 September 2015 IMDAC (Inner Metropolitan Development Assessment Commission) DAC meeting. The required Category 2 public notification will have to happen shortly for that to be achieved. It may therefore commence as early as late this week for a period of 10 business days.

The application information will be supplied by DPTI for inspection in council’s Civic offices foyer by the public upon commencement of the Category 2 public notification.

It is proposed that elected members will be briefed on the development which is encouraging. There is no compulsion for this so it is appreciated. This will provide an opportunity for your elected representatives to contribute to Council’s comments.

Once the application is available for the public to view I invite you to check it out. Please then contact me if you have any questions that you believe needs to be addressed before the briefing.

 

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.

Council Responds to Ministerial DPA

Unley Council this week responded to Minister Rau’s request to work with him on his Ministerial DPA. We have determined we would prefer to cooperate than to alienate.

In so doing we are cautious about how much we cooperate given the government’s history of decide and defend as its method of consultation rather than Council’s approach of engaging with our citizens.

 We have tried to find the right balance between following the Governments DPA lead and ensuring the most sensitives areas of our council area, namely Goodwood Central and King William Road, are not treated with a governmental broad brush of one size fits all. We have also been mindful of what we can achieve given our limited resources.

In an attempt to retain some control where it is needed most we approved the motion below moved by myself as our response to the minister.

That:
1. The report be received.
2. The Administration provide a response to the Minister outlining initial concerns, including but not limited to:
(a) exclusion of the sensitive historic and complex Goodwood central village area to the south of Leader Street to allow the timely preparation of a Precinct Plan by Council;
(b) exclusion of the complex King William Road commercial areas to the south of the Glen Osmond Creek until further targeted investigations and consultation can occur;
(c) consideration being given to establishing purely residential zones in appropriate areas, eg Leader Street (south side), Anzac Highway and Goodwood Road south of the train overpass;

(d) recommending a review of the current Urban Corridor Zone public notification criteria whereby development above the designated height or built form envelope limits be Category 3.

3. The Administration provide policy input as appropriate.
4. When there is greater understanding of proposed State Government consultation arrangements, further guidance be sought from Council as to the extent of involvement by the Administration.

In keeping the recent comments in my blog posts Council has recognised a need for us to influence as much as we can the results of this Ministerial DPA. We have, in doing so, recognised that there are certain areas that need our intimate approach more than others and have singled them out as areas best left for us to develop a DPA of our own in time.

Two key DPA areas that need our intimate approach are King William Road and Goodwood Road just south of the tram line.

Ministerial DPA to challenge Council

By speeding up the process of DPA’s to accommodate their 3o year plan the State Government has created challenges not anticipated by Council. All have the potential to compromise us publically and impact our bottom line budget.

 

I indicated in an earlier blog post that Minister Rau is seemingly hell bent on rushing the DPA reforms necessary to implement their 30 year plan. This is particularly so in relation to the inner metropolitan areas. He has advised an Inner and Middle Metropolitan Corridor Infill DPA is to be undertaken at this time.

This urgent priority for an unusually rapid progression of the re-zoning will require substantial effort by Council if we are to positively influence the outcome on your behalf.

Obtaining the best outcome for our rate payers means full cooperation with DPTI. It will require some contribution to the formulation of appropriate policy outcomes. It will also require some involvement in community engagement. This will require significant resourcing and will unfortunately put us in the public eye on the same page as the Government.

We risk being tainted by appearing on side with the Government’s broad brush approach. This is an approach which has been seen as confrontational.

Our approach is to take a more empathetic local approach bringing our citizens along with us rather than in opposition. Our forward DPA program (of some 5 years) is being ignored by the Minister however as it is taking too long. Ensuring detail always does of course.

Full cooperation will test our resources and significantly impact on our budget. Doing nothing and divorcing ourselves from the process will mean we abrogate our responsibility to our citizens by vesting complete control in the hands of the Government.

We have already felt the impact of his decision. We have had to divert the focus of our senior planner to address his request for observations from us and to advise how we might assist them. He required this from us with minimal time to respond.

This has meant we have delayed bringing our General DPA to a point where it can be consulted with publically. Returning DPA 2 to the public arena has also been delayed.

The next challenge is how much do we participate in their DPA with our have limited resources.

We can choose to co-operate fully including in the public consultation process. We can choose to simply respond from a council point of view as part of the public consultation process. or we can do nothing I guess.

Whatever we choose on Monday night there will be implications on our budget.

I will report on what decision we make after the minutes of the Council meeting are made available.