What We Have Heard, But the Question is Have They Listened.

The State Planning Commission have published “what we have heard” from the recent public consultation on the proposed South Australian Planning & Design Code. The question is have they listened.

Planning & Design Phase 3The Commission has advised us we’ll prepare an engagement report on what we have heard for the Minister for Planning. Any policy decisions he makes will inform the final version of the Planning & Design Code.

But will that report just be a copy of the what we have heard document provided the community. Or will it be a document responding to our observations and making recommendations to the Minister regarding each of the observations we have made.

From what they have told us this is not evident. Accordingly there are many in the community doubting that their input has been valued.

What I can tell you after perusing what they have heard document is that they appear to have acknowledged all the observations we have made.

 

Black Forest and Clarence Park residents can take some comfort that they have recognised our many submissions. Particularly where requesting the zoning be upgraded from the generic general neighbourhood zone to a suburban neighbourhood zone with technical numerical variations matching that which currently exists.

The wider Unley community should likewise feel their submissions have been heard. This includes recognising the many heritage issues raised including contributory items and demolition controls. Likewise recognition of our observations regarding tree canopy cover, soft soil zones.

They have even recognised lifting cill heights of 2nd floor windows from 1.5m back to the 1.7m that exists in our development plan.

Also acknowledged is our request to delay the process, redraft the Code and give us another opportunity to contribute.

 

Recognising what we have said is a great 1st step.

 

The question remains, have they (or the Minister) listened enough to make the alterations we have asked for. Unfortunately what we are hearing is the Minister has no intention to delay the implementation.

Please Mr Knoll. Hear us.

Informed Decision or a Popular Decision on the Norman Terrace Vote.

Making an informed decision or a popular decision is one of the challenges facing those in leadership. This is what I and Council was confronted with last night.

Our City Strategy & Development Policy Committee was faced with making a recommendation to Council. The topic, a development plan amendment of an aged care precinct. The precinct is bounded by Norman Terrace, Fourth Avenue and Ross Street Everard Park.

To help inform us in our decision making we sought the input of our ratepayers. Many believe that this is a vote and the majority public view should be the view expressed by Council when they vote.

Councillors are elected to represent the ratepayers. That is true. It is one of their two basic roles. The other is to make decisions for the good of the community as members (if you like) of a board of directors.

We are duty bound then to seek the views of those we represent. We must however make informed decisions. To do this we must make every endeavour to be informed (beyond the views of ratepayers) before making a decision.

 

Informed decisions will often therefore be unpopular decisions. Such was the case with the residents of Everard Park.

 

An Informed Decision or a Popular Decision

Line of sight from the footpath and from the front door opposite

This was the dilemma facing our rate payers and (last night) council. Being able to envisage what a 4 storey development would look like in the streets behind 2 storey houses. Many a councillor I believe was reluctant to make the decision we know we should make. We did not want to alienate the community.

The question. Do we make an informed Decision or a Popular Decision.

This is when it was important for me to step up to the plate.

In my work life it was necessary for me to be able to visualise built form before construction. This is a skill very few people have. I know this, as many of my clients back then often said to me at practical completion of their project “so this is what it was going to look like”.

I moved what was a motion for an informed decision. The reasons behind can be found here, along with diagrams I produced to make sure my line of sight assessment was accurate. While members followed this lead with a 10 to 2 vote, we all felt for the ratepayers who honestly believe other than what I debated.

Planning & Design Code is now up to the Government

The South Australian Community has spoken. Our local (Black Forest & Clarence Park) community has spoken. And boy did we locals speak. The Planning & Design Code is now up to the Government.

 

Planning & Design CodeI am proud of my local community, my neighbours. We have taken the trouble to understand how the draft Planning & Design Code would impact on us if adopted. In other words, we took the trouble to be informed.

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As a result, we took the trouble to contribute to the conversation. To respond to the Government’s public consultation process, which has now come to an end.

I am proud to have taken the lead in this, along with Jennie. To ensure you were informed. Just part of my election commitment to provide local leadership and work for you.

I am proud also of how we found a small army of volunteers to spread the word. We could not have achieved the response rate we did without them. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Council too, has down its bit. They have provided an in depth analysis with recommendations for improvement.

We’ve done our bit. Now it is up to the Government, through DPTI and the SA Planning Commission. Fortunately, they have made a start by extending the implementation date.

They had no choice. There is a significant amount of work to unpack the observations made by all of us. They have committed to publicly advising what they have heard. Once they have done this they must make amendments to the draft that they recognise is necessary.

The challenge for them will be satisfying us that we have a workable Code. A Code we all can work with. One that does not destroy neighbourhoods, but one that permits appropriate development with a simple easy to use system for gaining development approvals.

This, at the end of the day, was the original goal.

Black Forest & Clarence Park speak up.

Watch as the rate payers of Black Forest & Clarence Park speak up against a false promise by the Minister for Planning.

 

The Minister (Stephan Knoll) and the Chair of the State Planning Commission (Michael Lennon) have publicly suggested by inference that their current Council Development zone RB350 will be transitioned with little or no change in to the new Planning & Design Code. The ratepayers are only too aware however of the significant differences that are and that this is NOT FACT. Differences highlighted in my blog post of 16 December.

PDC Public Meeting

Residents attending Black Forest/Clarence Park PDC Public Meeting

Around 100 people attended a meeting held by my Co-Councillor & I. Many more have also attended house meetings I spoke at.  I have, as I am sure Jennie has, spoken one on one with many others. Even more have learned by word of mouth.

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PDC in Black Forest

Residents attending Black Forest/Clarence Park PDC Public Meeting

The community is engaged. They have responded to my blog post of 8 January among other things. As a result, they are likely to inundate the Department, with expressions of feedback. Likewise the Minister.

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Thanks to my in-depth analysis noted in my 16 December blog, they are aware of the changes. An analysis that 95% of people simply would not be able to do for themselves.

The community is frustrated. Many, believing they are being targeted, are incensed at the Government.

Some believe these changes are deliberate. Others, like me, believe it is just dumb stupidity. Either way,  the result is the same. It is indeed enough for the rate payers of Black Forest & Clarence Park speak up and be heard. It is likewise enough to unseat this Government if what we are experiencing is occurring on mass elsewhere.

Their submissions will add depth of voice to Council’s own submission to the Department, and our lobbying behind the scenes. The Government will surely see that the Community is backing up their Council.

Look to another blog post soon covering Council’s response.

If You Don’t Speak Up Suffer the Consequences

Suffer the consequences if you don’t speak up. That is what is facing you right now if you live in Black Forest. It also applies if you live in Clarence Park west of East Avenue or a small section fronting Goodwood Road.

 

Suffer the ConsequencesFrom you ask. From the possible replacement of current housing stock with not just 2 for 1 but 3 for 1 or worse. Developments such as the one in the adjacent photo. From 60’s style flats.

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The Government is seeking public comment on their new Planning & Design Code. The Code, a single document, will replace all current 72 Council Development Plans. Future development in our streets will be judged on this Code.

So what. The Minister has given public assurances that the zones in the old Council Plan will be transitioned into the new Code without change.

 

Sorry Minister. You are mistaken.

 

The zone called RB350 in the City of Unley Development Plan is NOT being transitioned without change. It has significant, negative change which can’t surely have been intended on your part.

Thinking about it, transitioning 72 equivalent RB350 (or the like) zones can’t possibly be achieved without change. The numerical date in each of these plans differs. Rolling them into one therefore cant be achieved without change occurring.

 

In the case of Black Forest & Clarence Park, that change is dramatic. It is so dramatic we all need to speak up against it. If we don’t we will suffer the consequences.

 

Suffer the ConsequencesYou will be receiving a flyer in your letter box in the very near future seeking you to help us help you protect the amenity of our neighbourhood.

I have also been speaking to as many of my neighbours, from both suburbs, to explain the extent and the gravity of what is proposed. I have explained to each of these people what I see is the simply answer to the challenge we face.

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Please pass this blog post onto your neighbours and contact me so I can explain to you what this is all about. It will take approximately an hour so to do during which time I can give you case studies of what might happen. I can give you guidance as to what the solution is and what you can do, and trust me, it is simple.

Please also come along to the Clarence Room in the Clarence Park Community Centre at 7.00 pm on Friday 24th January where Jennie and I will present further, answer questions and guide you on what you can do.  

Are the Trees in Black Forest Going Missing. And Clarence Park.

The saga of trees in Black Forest going missing continued yesterday with a tree in Byron Road being felled.

 

I found myself cutting my shopping short early yesterday. A distraught rate payer rang me concerned that a lemon scented gum on the property next door was being felled.

The third tree in the adjacent area within twelve months. The second on a neighbouring property to this resident. Changing forever the amenity of this neighbourhood.

The pair of trees in the centre of this picture are both gone missing.

The two neighbouring trees, between them, were a significant contributor to the amenity of the neighbourhood. With both gone there is nothing.

I am not saying nothing left. I am saying nothing. The loss is immeasurable.

I share grief of this rate payer (and others who have contacted me). A fourth tree on my side of the Seaford Line (in Clarence Park) was felled recently. A tree behind my rear boundary. Our amenity has been forever compromised as a result.

 

The Question has been asked, was Council responsible for this occurring?

The tree was on private property. It is one of many trees in the last decade on private land within the Unley Council that have been removed.

Council therefore was not involved. If it were a street or park tree, then obviously it would be Council.

 

A subsequent question raised is what Did Council Do About it?

Prior to ringing me the rate payer had rung the Council, who advised they would contact the contractor. Such was the level of her stress however, I simply had to make sure Council was responding appropriately. If this tree was a regulated tree and approval not sought, then we would need to put a stop to the tree damaging activity

I contacted our Regulatory Management, completed my shopping, deserted my wife and headed down to Byron Road. The removal of the tree was already well advanced when I arrived a short while later.

So! Was the tree protected or not? Was the felling of this tree legal or illegal?

On completing their inspection our inspection team reported to myself and the neighbour. Their conclusion was the tree was not protected under the State Government’s Development Regulations.

The species being cut down has no protection under the regulations if it is within 10 metres of a building. This tree would you believe was 9.7 metres from a building on a neighbouring property.

Does this mean the saga of trees in Black Forest going missing will continue?

Yes it will. The felling of trees such as the four mentioned in this blog post will continue to be felled, unless there is change in the State Legislation.

What can we do about it?

As I noted earlier in this blog the controls are State Government controls, via their Development Regulations. If you want change, you need to speak with your local member of Parliament.

The legislation rightfully must consider the danger the tree may present to person or property. It is however meant to protect trees from indiscriminate felling. Notwithstanding this, it often appears that too much emphasis is put on removing the tree just for the sake of moving it, or because it is simply inconvenient to the home owner.

Out here in the west of the City of Unley that is Jayne Stinson. The member for Badcoe. Elsewhere in the City of Unley the local member (and a member of the Cabinet) is David Pisoni.

I am happy to assist in this process.

You might also benefit from joining a lobby group, the Friends of the City of Unley Society. Their focus is the preservation of our history. That includes saving our trees. Check out their website.

Tree Canopy CoverFortuitously, they will be discussing increasing the green cover of Unley at their next meeting.

The other side of the storey.

But wait. There is more. There is another side of the storey. One that will play out in Council next week. I will blog on this after the Council meeting.

 

 

Unley seeking to liaise with the Government on the North South Corridor.

What is happening to South Road through Black Forest and Everard Park. Don’t know? That is why the City of Unley is seeking to liaise with the Government.

 

Residents & property owners are desperate to know what Government’s plans are for our section of South Road. That includes the section that runs through the City of Unley.

Many ratepayers have expressed concern, anguish and/or just a keen interest in what will happen to our section of South Road. And for good reason. Everywhere work has already occurred the landscape has changed dramatically.

Access into and out of Black Forest will change dramatically.

It is possible that rat running through Black Forest will disappear. Likewise we should see a reduction in traffic on East Avenue. On the other hand, residents are likely to have to use a different route to leave and return home.

And it is not just properties on South Road that are affected. It is those properties in the side streets connecting to South Road and beyond.

The last Council made overtures to the then State Government for Council to be informed. We remain without knowledge. Information has been scarce and lacking sufficiency to allay concerns and fears that many in our community have.

The current Government recently publicly announced a desire to provide a tunnel solution through our section of the north-south corridor. This is as much as we know.

Assuming a leadership role to ensure we can all be on the same page, I moved at our last Council meeting the following motion on notice.

This approach will hopefully encourage a better recognition and co-operation with local residents and business owners than we experienced during the electrification of the Seaford Rail Corridor.

Seeking to liaise with the Government, their trusting us to contribute positively does work. We saw that with a range of development plan amendments a few years back with the previous Government.

I am looking forward the Government will respond in kind. Commencing of course with a briefing of Council.

Providing Local Leadership: Managing Higher Density Development.

Managing higher density development in Clarence Park Ward commenced a few years back in the City of Unley .

 

Managing Higher DensityIn particular the suburb of Black Forest was under threat of a development plan encouraging extreme high density development potential. Another suburb similarly exposed was Clarence Park.

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Providing Leadership most often is not determining for others what is best for them. It is providing them with the chance to make that judgement themselves. Beyond that, it is ensuring they take the opportunity to represent themselves.

This is what I did, along with my co-councillor Jennie Boisvert, when DPA2 was out for public consultation.

On the development front, the new and current government is proceeding in the same direction as its predecessor. In so doing we will see the evolution in the next period of time of the SA Planning Library.

As the Government works on the SA Planning Library, Black Forest and Clarence Park will again come under the microscope. The Planning Library is all about having generic rules that apply across all  of suburbia.

Unless we work together (you & I) at the appropriate time local nuances will potentially be ignored. By providing local leadership I will help fight for a sensible planning solution.

As in the past when first challenged with higher density, I will again work for you and work with you. And with the Government to seek the best solution that works for all.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

Providing Local Leadership: A glimpse into the future

For all we have achieved together, as I noted in my last blog we have much still to achieve into the near future.

Providing Local Leadership and Working For YouFor a glimpse into the future read on as I summarise what I see as the challenges going forward. Challenges which requires proving local leadership. The following summarises what lies ahead of the Clarence Park Ward. Watch for future blogs over the next couple of weeks for more detail.

Goodwood Oval Precinct Redevelopment.

Since Jayne Stinson secured a $2.0m grant from the previous government before the last State election much has happened. Much is still left however to do at Goodwood Oval however. I will release a series of blog posts in the next couple of weeks addressing each.

Millswood Croquet Club

 As the club marches toward its centenary it desperately needs a new clubroom. A future blog will review this in more detail.

Managing Higher Density

Watch for a future blog as I explain the need for continued vigilance to ensure any changes to our development plan are respectful of the amenity will all currently enjoy.

Local Economic Prosperity

Business and economic development for an area is a shared responsibility. Council should take the lead.

I am looking for Council to consider all of its businesses, including the forgotten majority. The home based businesses.

Ensuring Financial Responsibility

Rate Capping as one of a number of financial measures in setting our budget, and therefore the rate, ensures financial responsibility. Setting the rate first and cutting our cloth to suit.

This must be done by Council with you providing the oversight, not a State Government external body.

Communication with Council

Those of you that have issue with communication from Council would be well aware of my intention to see this improve. Look out for my strategy to achieve this.

I will always that said be ready to represent you and advocate for you when needed, to help you work your way through the bureaucracy.

Trees

Always a topical and emotional topic are trees. Providing Local Leadership to ensure the correct balance will the subject of a future blog.

Council matters outside Clarence Park Ward and outside City of Unley.

Believe it or not but there is life outside our boundary. I will explore some of these shortly.

Then there is need for providing local leadership input into State and Federal issues that impact directly on Clarence Park Ward.

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For more detail in each of these areas, and others, watch for my blogs on each. I will share each blog on Facebook.

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

Providing Local Leadership and Working For You

I am Clarence Park.

It is natural for me to be Providing Local Leadership and Working For You in Clarence Park.

Why? I am Clarence Park. I live, play, socialise, and walk in the streets of Clarence Park. I know the trees, the streets and the footpaths, the parks and playgrounds. I know so many of its people, its clubs, associations and community groups. I am your neighbour.

Providing Local Leadership and Working For You

Proud of the Past

As your Councillor I have been Providing Local Leadership and Working For You and working with you to make our neighbourhood what it is. I am proud of what we have achieved together in the past 8 years.

Successes include but aren’t limited to the following:

 

Success Bullet Points

Above all, by representing you and advocating for you, I have helped many of you with difficulties with Council’s administration.

Committed to the Future

There is more to do though, requiring continuing strong local leadership from whoever is representing you.

I am still committed to working for you and providing the local leadership you expect. Certainly, the leadership necessary to ensure that Clarence Park, Black Forest and Millswood will be the suburbs of choice for our children and grandchildren.

Whether it is developing the Goodwood/Millswood sporting precincts. Likewise, dealing with traffic and parking issues, or higher density housing. Certainly, better and improved communication with Council, or keeping your rates as low as possible I will represent you and advocate for you.

Watch this blog site in the coming weeks

for specific goals I believe you want me to pursue.

If you wish to suggest issues for me to consider please do by either ringing me on 0414820773 or by my personal email [email protected] I am unable to receive them on this website as doing so will be in contravention of the Local Government Elections ACT 1999.

Authorised & printed by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.

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.