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Central Ward Meeting April 2020

20 April 2020

An invitation from Cr Rosemary West: 

I am inviting you to a virtual Councillor Ward Meeting, via zoom, to discuss Council’s revised housing strategy and neighbourhood character study before Councillors are scheduled to vote on it.

Council has responded to the overwhelming ‘no’ vote you gave the first housing strategy draft, released last May, when only six out of 1603 submissions – less than 0.4% - were in support.

Most of the feedback opposed:

• The up-zoning of about 25% of Kingston residential areas from a 9m, (two storey) limit to an 11m (three storey) limit

• The proposal to phase out policies to discourage two storeys in the backyard

• Limit the number of dwellings on an average-sized lot to two, (proportionally more on larger lots.)

While the project has been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to make sure the community is kept informed about the new plan before Council progresses any further.

I’m pleased to report that the consultants working with Council on the new Housing Strategy have agreed with community feedback, and now propose to include much of the one and two storey incremental change areas – which were originally proposed for General Residential Zone (GRZ, 11m, 3 storey limit) – in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ, 9m, 2storeys).

We hope to have new, more up-to-date maps reflecting this work on-screen at the virtual ward meeting. Officers have produced a table proposing 75% of Kingston’s residential area to be NRZ.

But this includes the Coastal DDO areas, which are already limited to two storeys, in the NRZ. And I am very concerned that about 10% (of the 25% that was previously going from GRZ3 to GRZ) will still be going to GRZ (3 storey).  And that an estimated 2.89% of Kingston’s residential areas are proposed to be up-zoned from a three storey maximum GRZ2 (11m height limit) to the Residential Growth Zone (13.5m, four storeys).

What can you do?

• Take part in an online Zoom meeting on Thursday 23 April

• Share this with your friends and neighbours to invite them to take part

What comes next?

When the project resumes, Council will vote to adopt a final draft version of the Housing Strategy and Neighbourhood Character Study to go out for consultation. Council’s vote will be followed by notices to all households and further community consultation for a planning scheme amendment. In 17 years on Council I have never seen much change in any Planning Scheme Amendments once they go to exhibition. I am holding this meeting on the last day that ward meetings are permitted before the Council election in six months’ time, to keep citizens up to date with where we are up to now, and to hear your feedback.

DATE

Thursday 23 April from 6.30pm-8pm

LOG IN AT:

https://zoom.us/j/91246802077 or go to https://zoom.us/ and ‘join a meeting’ with the ID number 912 4680 2077.

If you have trouble logging in, please contact Governance Manager Phil DeLosa on 0400 508 214 for help.

If you are unable to attend the virtual meeting and/or would like an email or hard copy of the map, please email governance@kingston.vic.gov.au and we can work out the best way to get it to you.  Or if you prefer you can email any questions to governance@kingston.vic.gov.au rather than asking them in person on zoom.

This is our first virtual community meeting, and we hope it runs smoothly, but please understand if it doesn’t.

Other issues I am concerned about:

1. Mr Jim Papadimitriou, a senior planning officer with DELWP, told the 2019 Central Ward Meeting that Council could if we wished protect areas of existing one and two storey character:

“So this notion of managing this growth, providing for it has to be balanced against areas where that existing character, particularly the one to two storey character needs to be protected. The minister specifically introduced a 9m maximum height limit with a 2 storey height limit, along with a mandatory garden inner area requirement. So there is certainty both in terms of how high you can go vertically and how far a development can go horizontally on a block of land.”

When residents spoke to their Government MPs, they were advised it is Council’s responsibility to nominate where to locate the new zones.

2. Councillors agreed to higher density in the Activity Centres because we were told us this would enable us to protect our residential areas. Now we are told we must have more development in the residential areas around our Major Activity Centres, with most clustered in the Centre Ward.

3. Given that over 600 residents who attended the 2017 ward meetings said they wanted:

• A village atmosphere

• Low density, large lots and older buildings

• Natural environment, open spaces, large trees, peace and quiet.

And they didn’t want:

• Over-development,

• Poor quality and design, especially over three storeys

• Apartment developments, associated with poor materials and population growth.

Why is Council proposing a Housing Strategy that will give more density and development?

4. Council’s demographic consultants Currie & Brown found that we could easily meet Kingston’s demographic targets at our existing rate of growth (2063 people annually since 2006), and that at this rate we will easily reach our population target of 24,000 new residents by 2036.

How many more people a year will we be adding by Council’s new plan for increased growth? And why is this extra development needed

Why has Council not provided residents with information about the extra development impact of Kingston’s proposed housing strategy?

5. In the flier sent out last year, Council said residents should support the proposed Housing strategy “to avoid State Government determining what’s best for” us.

Why is Council blaming State Government for the extra development officers have recommended we provide for in Kingston’s draft HS? I believe Council should take responsibility for “determining what’s best for Kingston?” And for fully informing residents so that their feedback can be meaningful?

Surely the public’s right to know should come first.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

To discuss any of this, call Cr West on 0428 800 968 or email rosemary.west@kingston.vic.gov.au

 

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