Friday, November 27, 2009

coldstream carved up

report from the roundtable – 24 nov

This week’s council meeting saw five applications for second dwellings in various locations in the Coldstream estate. The Coldstream Neighbourhood Character study shows that the Coldstream community values:
- the rural landscape and quality of the landscape and vistas surrounding the town
- privacy from intrusive new developments and extensions
- retention of existing large trees and providing space for new trees
- the sense of openness and the sense of connection to the landscape of the Yarra Valley.

All of the proposed developments were in areas of ‘least change’ according to council’s adopted Housing Strategy, which indicates these are areas with a minimum lot size of 1,000 square metres. We have been through extensive consultation over the housing strategy, we understand clearly what our community’s aspirations are in relation to their townships.

Every application proposed far smaller lots than 1,000 square metres, varying from 1:446, 1:445, 1:446, 1:434 and 1:446. These lot sizes fall well short of community aspirations for the township as evidenced by recent housing strategy consultations.

One of the councillors supporting the developments argued that the additional dwellings would create demand and improve bus services, whilst another spoke of VCAT, a recent decision and how a refusal would fail and we had no choice.

What I ask is did that VCAT member live in Coldstream, did that VCAT member understand the expectation of single dwellings within Coldstream, did the VCAT member understand the neighbourhood character of the area, did the VCAT member understand the community’s aspirations for the township?

To suggest that additional dwellings would create demand and mean greater delivery of infrastructure and services is misguided. Experience in the highest growth corridors shows that this is far from the reality. Currently bus services do not come within the Coldstream estate and I do not think that these second dwellings will have any bearing of the level of service currently delivered to the township.

Objectors to all five applications furbished a petition from local residents which contained 596 signatures from local residents, with 686 signatures in total. In a quick reconciliation I calculated that 60% of households within the Coldstream estate opposed the developments.

By the time the third application came up we heard the neighbour speak passionately about what she valued in Coldstream, however her pleas fell on deaf ears. I urged councillors to reconsider, it was terrible to see Coldstream being carved up before our very eyes.

The fourth and fifth applications were for render/colourbond homes, completely out of keeping with the character of Coldstream. In the case of the fourth application I could only say colourbond/render/tin shed poor outcome for Coldstream.

The fifth application proposed a home constructed of colourbond and render coloured Monza Red. It was clear by this stage that a voting pattern had formed and would not be broken, but a red tin shed is a terrible outcome and the events of the night have set a dreadful precedent for Coldstream.

A division was called on each application, in every case the vote was:
For: Councillors Heenan, Warren, Higgins, Cox and Avery
Against: Councillors Dunn, McRae, Cliff and Templer

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