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.

City Strategy & Development Committee concurs with Local Knowledge Assessment

Last night our City Strategy & Development Committee met and discussed the Ministers two DPAs. Refer my recent blog on the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment.

We concurred with the Local Knowledge Assessment by our Mr Brown of the Ministers (Specific Sites) DPA. Led by my observations in support of his assessment and a motion moved by me the committee has recommended Council go further than his recommendation.

As noted in my last blog post Mr Brown provided an in-depth analysis of the Ministers DPA. This analysis demonstrated that the Specific Site DPA did not relate to his Design DPA. It fell well short of the parameters that Unley has previously demonstrated with our DPAs. Parameters that his Design DPA had been based on.

The Committee saw the Ministers DPA this way.

The most significant observations were the zoning the Le Cornu site as a Transit Zone and Unley Road Malvern as High Street. The other observation is the classification of the street behind Cappo as a primary street.

We concurred that the street behind Cappo is a narrow suburban street that should be classified a secondary street. Our recommendation will provide setbacks not provided in the proposed zoning. Setbacks that will soften the interface with the surrounding residential zone. Setbacks that will reduce the height along Chinner.

Both the Le Cornu site and the Malvern site unmistakably should both be business zones with setbacks along both Anzac Highway and Leader street, the latter to protect the interface with the residential zone to the south.

So long as setbacks are recognised we had no difficulty with the heights proposed at Le Cornu. We did however on the Unley Road site. We determined in discussions a height of 4 storeys, or even 3 with Business zone setbacks rather than high street. But we went further.

We determined that it was inappropriate that this site be included in the DPA. In a climate of low population growth, it was not necessary to isolate this site from its surrounds. Council has provided opportunity for significant growth (say 200 people) just down the road in the District Centre. This site we believe would potentially compete in a low market with the District Centre and the latter surely should be encouraged first.

Now, let us wait on whether Council concurs in two weeks or whether they would prefer changes to this recommendation.

The importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment

Tomorrow night we will see demonstrated the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment (DPA).

 

A report from our Policy Planning Officer Mr David Brown on the Minister’s Corridors DPA will be received by Council’s City Strategy and Development Policy committee tomorrow night.

The DPA is a site specific DPA, including (in Unley) 4 sites;

  • The Le Cornu site at Forestville
  • The Cappo site on Glen Osmond Road
  • 12-30 Anzac Highway Everard Park
  • 299-307 Unley Road, Malvern

We will consider the DPA with the help of his analysis. The committee will then make recommendations to Council.  Council can then consider in to weeks times making similar representation to the Minister.

Honestly, the Minister could do with having David Brown on his staff at DPTI. David’s analysis has identified a plethora of anomalies/discrepancies in the DPA.

There are discrepancies between the DPA and Unley’s previous parameters set in our Corridor DPA. Discrepancies also indeed between this DPA and his concurrent running (design) DPA (also being considered tomorrow night).

Too many to highlight in a blog post. Sufficient, that said, to demonstrate the folly of the Government’s move to progressively take Council out of the planning process. Sufficient to demonstrate that a State or Regional Government does not and cannot identify with local nuances.

I will be keen to hear the input of our independent members into the DPA and into David’s analysis.

His analysis should be the catalyst for quite a comprehensive representation on our part to the Minister. It is to be hoped that he takes on board our observations and suggestions, whatever they wind up being after Council considers the committee’s recommendations in two weeks’ time.

I believe the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment will be demonstrated tomorrow night.

If you want to see David’s in depth analysis check it out here, item 9.

Unley Central DPA has finally been put to bed

The Unley Central DPA has finally been put to bed in what has been a lengthy process. A process of continual community consultation stretching between 2 and 3 years. Hopefully.

Council last night sat to decide on the final draft of the Unley Central DPA and in so doing, the Unley Central DPA has finally been put to bed. The final draft that will be submitted to the Minister for his decision.

The Minister may yet come back to us and seek a change or changes. It is my belief that if he does it is unlikely to concern our recommendations on the east side of Unley Road, the Civic Centre and Village Green site.

Looking back at my blog post of 21 February I can say that Council and its community have worked together. The input of two representative groups, FOCUS and SOS Unley Village Green, were invaluable.

They both recognised that we needed to be careful not to put something to the Minister that would prompt him to reject our work and take the DPA over. They have contributed to a result I trust is acceptable to the Minister, John Rau.

Those two groups showed leadership with their revised submissions at last Monday night’s council meeting. It took “guts” to do this. It did displease some of the FOCUS members. That is leadership.

We will be submitting the following to the Minister focusing on maximum building heights in each of the following areas:

  • west of the Soldiers Memorial Gardens – 18.5 metres (5 storeys).
  • north of the Memorial Gardens and south of Arthur Street – 18.5 metres (7 storeys)
  • north of Arthur Street (Target, Bazaar and Haddad sites) – 32.5 metres (9 storeys)
  • east of Unley Road north of Oxford Terrace – 18.5 metres (5 storeys)
  • on the northern side of Oxford Terrace – 11.5 metres (3 storeys)
  • Council Civic Area – also 11.5 metres (3 storeys) with 1 storey to Edmund Avenue, Rugby Street & eastern end of Oxford Terrace – the Committee recommended 5 and 2 storeys respectively

We also determined to keep the Village Green in its current location and to exclude residential development from the Community Area east of Unley Road to the south of Oxford Terrace.

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future?

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future or not? I trust and hope that they still are. We will find out during the next month or so.

Council has been working on a series of Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) over the last 10 years or so. These DPAs have systematically been working through changes to our development plan to accommodate the State Governments 30-year plan.

Legislation requires us to develop and adopt development plans that are in accord with the State’s overarching development plan. If we fail to do this the Government, through the Planning Minister, can do it for us.

Throughout the 10 years we have consulted widely with our ratepayers. When the process began we and our community where clearly of one mind. That was to prevent our heritage conservation zones and our streetscape zones from being highjacked in the name of development by the Government. We were also of the same mind in avoiding wholesale 2 for 1 development throughout our suburbs.

My understanding is that our community understood that there was a price to pay for these protections. I was not on Coucnil back then. The price was that there would be high rise development potential made possible in the major corridors and in what we call Unley Central.

We won those protections. The State Government is therefore placing their trust in us to deliver as promised. To date our commitment has been partly met. The development plan now caters for higher development in the two main corridors. That is namely Unley Road and Greenhill Road.

Unley Central

The next step is to deliver on Unley Central. Are Unley Council and their residents working together on Unley Central?

I implore our community to remember if the Government is not satisfied with our recommendation they can amend the plan. They will do that in a manner of their choosing. We won’t get a say in it.

That could be to not change the unlimited heights possible now and simply facilitate development by allowing mixed use. Mixed use I suggest is the element that has probably prevented any redevelopment in this area to date.

No-one other than the Government (oh and developers) would want this option to win the day.

During March, Council will have three meetings at which the Unley Central DPA will be discussed. All three will be open to the public to attend and watch us go through our deliberations. Watch as we power our way through the results of a recent public consultation to determine what recommendations we put to the minister and his government.

Without pre-empting the result, I am sure that Council have listened. Adjustments are bound to be made to the draft plan. Heights will surely be reduced in some areas.

Whatever changes are or are not made I trust our community will respect what we do.

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.

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?

 

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.

Unley Central to progress to Design Lab

My Development Strategy & Policy Committee and subsequently Council have been briefed on the results of the recent public consultation. Council has accepted the encouragement of the Committee to move to the next stage of the DPA process.

After some confusion over the public conversation in December the Committee the considered whether or not it was pertinent to continue general consultation before engaging with stakeholders. They felt that we received worthwhile feedback from the public and of sufficient quality to proceed to the next step. Council concurred.

Unley-Central-Concept-Image-for-YSUThe next step is to conduct what we are calling a “Design Lab”.

Staff are busy preparing now for the Design Lab. They are taking on board the information solicited from both the public and the committee. Again we received a rich contribution from the independent members of the committee.

Public feedback was quiet constructive. People recognised the need for may I suggest “controlled” high rise redevelopment. What we did hear among other things was an eagerness for us to take into consideration such things as traffic flow, shared roads with safer bicycle and pedestrian access, parking, and a soft interface with surrounding residential zones.

The Design Hub which is likely to occur mid April will take the form of a long workshop. Participants will be encouraged to provide some input into detail. We can then progress the Development Plan Amendment to a point where it can be presented to the public for final comment. This I expect will be somewhere between June and November. It can then proceed to the minister.

Participation will be by invitation only. They will be drafted from what you might call key stakeholders. This would include as I see it:

selected major property owners,

potential developers,

community,

heritage and environmental groups such as FOCUS,

bike user groups,

representatives of The Unley Business and Economic Development and Infrastructure and Sustainability Committees,

the Unley Road Traders Association,

Council staff and Elected Members

and relevant State Government departments.

 

The ‘Design Lab’ will be structured to test a number of potential design and land use options for the precinct.

The intent of the Design Lab is to identify a preferred option that best meets stakeholder and community aspirations within the Governments objectives.

That is our challenge. Wish us luck.

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.

Development Plan Amendment Update

TakingUnley-Council-Development-Plan-30-January-2014 a break from Brownhill Creek I thought it appropriate, after advice from our administration, to provide you with a Council Development Plan Amendment Update.

It is a busy time coming up for the Development, Planning & Strategy Committee. For this councillor it will be a good change from dealing with the politics of Brownhill Creek.

 

DPA 2 – The portion east of Goodwood Road has been progressed and we expect that the Minister will authorise this before the end of the year.  The remaining areas to the west of Goodwood Road have partly (Anzac Highway) been captured in a ministerial DPA. Areas in Everard Park, Black Forest and Clarence Park are wrapped up in a Part 2 (West) of the DPA.  This is currently expected to be pursued by DPTI, but there is no urgency (yet), and there may be a review of some elements required, particularly Leader Street in light of the Corridors DPA described below.

 

District Centre Zone (Unley Central) DPA – Consultants have been appointed and will be meeting with the DSP Committee on 21 September to discuss the proposed Community Engagement Plan for this DPA.  This DPA looks at changes to the District centre Zone to more overtly encourage residential development, and possibly make minor amendments to the zone boundaries.  It is anticipated this DPA will be completed by early 2017.

 

General DPA – This DPA was designed to address a number of anomalies and required updates in the Development Plan.  Many of these have now been captured in the Ministerial DPA’s.  Council resources have been diverted towards providing feedback/input into the Ministerial DPA’s (which was unplanned and extensive) and consequently the General DPA has not progressed significantly.  Once it becomes clear the exact extent of how other DPA’s have subverted this one, it may need reconsideration of whether, or how, to proceed with this DPA.

 

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.

Why the hurry Minister Rau

With plenty happening on the development front in the City of Unley I ask Minister Rau, why the hurry.

 

Most people would be aware of a  proposed 7 storey building proposed for 246 Unley Road. They would be aware also that Council is about to embark on the next of a series of development plan amendments focused on the Unley Central. This on top of starting the general DPA which focuses on such things as Laneway Housing and hopefully finalizing DPA 2.

We now have the Minister for Planning indicating he wants to kick the pace up, announcing a raft of ministerial DPAs across the inner metropolitan areas. I said in my last blog post the minister seems to be in a hurry. One might well ask why the hurry?

It appears that while the original population growth predictions of the 30 year plan have not been met growth in the inner suburbs has in fact exceeded the projections. That puts a pressure I guess on the minister to want to push ahead.

But with a concern that running multiple DPAs in the City of Unley may serve to confuse and irritate the residents I really do wonder why the hurry. Unley certainly does not have the resources to conduct more DPAs than we are already. The Government on the other hand, with more fiscal resources, can outsource it if necessary.

As presiding member of our (Unley’s) Development Strategy & Policy committee I am concerned that there may be too much for residents to have to contend with when we consult them over the many plans. The public consultation of the recent DPA2 is evidence of this. This was a complex DPA that was too confusing for residents to take on board and they deserve to be not only consulted but be provided something that they can understand and provide a responsible representation to.

Anyway we (Council) will find out soon I expect what he (Minister Rau) has in mind and over what time frame and who is to run them these extra DPAs will be conducted.

 

 

Higher Focus on Higher Density Development

Higher Density Development is back on agenda for the City of Unley. The Minister for Planning John Rau has announced stage 2 of the State Government’s Inner Metro Growth project.

 

It appears the minister is in hurry to get his inner metro plan down. While the City of Unley is about to commence our next DPA he is ready to role out a plethora of others nearby. It appears it is likely that Unley will experience a frenetic period of DPA’s.

While we focus on Unley Central it looks like we are going to be competing with a bunch of ministerial DPA’s. This will include one each for the following areas:

Goodwood Road,

the remainder of Unley Road,

Anzac Highway,

King William Road,

and Leader Street.

Higher density development by way of higher density DPA’s Hope this does not confuse everyone.

His press release follows.

stage2dpaconsultation

 

stage2dpaconsultation2

 

New General DPA delayed by DSP committee

My DSP committee on Monday night voted to delay making any recommendations to Council on the General DPA. Rather than recommend it go to the Minister for approval for Public Consultation the Committee wanted more time to understand the detail in the DPA.

 

The DSP committee is, as readers of this blog page would be aware, is a new committee with 4 new specialist independent members. At the very least these members wanted time to disseminate the detail. I believe the elected members on the committee wanted this too.

So while the DPA was work-shopped for elected members this was back (from memory) in 2012 so the information is new to them as well.

The committee therefore agreed to re-workshop the DPA and our next scheduled meeting will indeed be a workshop rather than a formal meeting to facilitate this. This will be on May 18.

There are a  multitude of recommendations in the report.

They include but are not limited to the following:

Laneway housing, which allows for ancillary housing on allotments of land without subdivision, public notice changes, complying and non-complying development review, car parking review with dispensations for various concessions, shop/office floor area review, advertising signage review, and facilitating the commercial adaption of buildings of heritage significance.

Each have some depth to them and more thought needs I suggest to be given before we confuse the public with them. Each have the potential to be significant in their own right and to impact the City, taking I would suggest some pressure off the high rise focus that we currently have.

It was good to see the input on the night by our independent members. I look forward to what they will be able to contribute when we start something new rather than address something that is well down the track. The Unley Central DPA which should be coming up soon will likely be that opportunity.

 

 

Presiding Member of the Development, Strategy & Policy Committee

I have pleasure in confirming that last night I was elected by my peers as the Presiding Member of the Development, Strategy & Policy Committee.

 

This is a move from my former assessment role with our Development Assessment Panel (DAP). I believe I can better serve Council and you in helping to set policy by not only being a member of but being the Presiding Member of this committee.

This is a Section 41 committees, set up by council under the Local Government Act 1999 (section 41 would you believe). It exists to assist the council in the performance of its functions. It is not a decision making body. It is charged with providing advice and giving recommendations to Council. All decisions of the Committee constitute recommendations to the Council.

This particular committee is also constituted under Section 101A of the Development Act 1993. So unlike the other sections 41 committees we have set up voluntarily this one is one we have to have by statute.

To gain an understating of the responsibilities of this committee the Council website has a page devoted to it.

The committee will be 9 members strong consisting of 6 elected members including myself and 3 independent members. While we await responses to our calling of interest publicly for independent members the other 5 elected members of the panel were also elected by their colleagues last night. They are Councillors John Koumi, Anthony Lapidge, Luke Smolucha, Cr Salaman and my co Councillor Jennie.

This committee has a high workload this year (higher than any of the other section 41 committees). It will be dealing with finalizing the DPA2 which was the subject of many of my blog posts last year, the general DPA and a DPA we are looking to start called Unley Central. We are expected to meet maybe 9 times during the year. This will include a number of public meetings.

I believe I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this committee with my private life being around the built form.

What I promise as the Presiding Member is to ensure that we include you as much as possible. I will be looking to provide you with as much chance to contribute to and influence the final submission that goes to the Minister for approval on any DPA that comes before us. We will always respect your views and ensure they are made known to the State Government. This is of course tempered by remembering at all times that Council, with the help of this committee, is charged with finding the best way to meet the Government’s 30 year plan.

In my role as Presiding Member I look forward to working with you and for you. If you have an interest in the future built form of this Council area please subscribe below to this website blog page to ensure you are kept up to date with my thoughts.

 

Greens come to defence of Inner Rim Councils

The Greens, through Mark Parnell MLC, have come to the defence of local government and the inner rim councils. 


He has foreshadowed a motion in the upper house which he will be bringing to a vote on the next Wednesday of sitting after the winter break, being around the middle of September
The motion concerns the Governments preempting the Expert Panel report on planning reform. They did this by determining that the planning approval powers of the inner rim councils be transferred to the development assessment commission for all developments over 4 storeys in height. 
The presumption we are told is that councils are not equipped to deal with this scale of development. 
Not that we have had much such development in Unley but we have shown in my opinion that we most certainly can. The recent redevelopment of the old Julia Farr Centre for a multi storey residential retirement village is proof of this.
Mark called for submissions from the affected councils, and their elected members, to demonstrate that we at local government supported his bill. We did, across the board, showing that he was not pushing his own barrow.
In his report he made reference to Unley’s joint submission and to separate submissions by Cr Hewitson and myself. I responded in your(our) defence because your(our) opportunity to contribute to what is developed is under threat by the Government’s action.
His speech can be found on his website.
PS. He has correctly identified that the Expert Panel’s ideas will also need great scrutiny as well, as I indicated recently in another blog post. I will comment more on that in a future blog post.

DPA2 Have we already got the numbers?

Along with how many extra people can be accommodated by DPA2 this is a question that must be asked?……and answered!

I have blogged before that Unley believe we have accommodated the numbers the Government calculated would be Unley’s contribution to the projected Adelaide population growth over the next 30 years. This was achieved with the Corridors Development Plan Amendment DPA 3.
The DPA allowed for up to 7 storey development along Greenhill Road with panoramic views over the South Parklands. Increased density with 30 degree set backs to reduce the impact on the visual amenity and with plenty of green open space at their front door to compliment the increase in population.
It also allowed for 3 storey development and the possibility of 5 storeys along the northern end of Unley Road, down to Unley central. This DPA provided for mixed use development potential allowing for retail on the bottom floor and residential above.
Beyond that and not highlighted in the publications provided for DPA2 the Council is looking at rezoning what we call Unley Central. That is the tract of land including the Unley Shopping Centre on the west side of Unley Road, and north up to Mary Street.It also takes in the Civic Centre on the east side of the road.
This is an area that currently has no height limitation but is restricted in the type of development that can occur. This restriction I am sure has inhibited potential redevelopment in the past. Like the northern end of Unley Road above we are considering mixed use in this area.
A height restriction will be introduced but it is likely to be in the order of 7 storeys, maybe as high as 10. Mixed use options will allow scope for imaginative development that allows for retail and residential, cultural and entertainment at the lower levels and vast open space that would work to serve the residents that would live in the higher floors.
The potential  is that we could provide the opportunity for a self contained, self sufficient and therefore sustainable “village” in what is the heart of Unley. This would surely provide sufficient extra population numbers to satisfy the governments growth projections.
Having seen preliminary sketches of the open areas I am certain that this is a much more worthwhile DPA to pursue than the current DPA2, which surely cannot produce numbers sufficient to warrant it being implemented.