In this month's e-news: Planning Scheme amendment C134 goes to Council; Councillor faces gun charges; Hi-Rise apartments on sale; pre-election forums; and much more
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Brunswick Residents Network newsletter, September 2014

Council proposes rezoning of Brunswick factory precincts

At this week’s Moreland Council meeting, councillors will discuss the latest version of amendment  C134 - a proposed change to the Moreland Planning Scheme to covers the major north-south traffic corridors along Sydney Road, Lygon Street and Nicholson Street and the Upfield railway corridor. Our feature article below discusses the changes.

Moreland councillor faces gun charges

Moreland Council has been rocked by media allegations against Councillor Michael Teti, an ALP Labor Unity member who represents the North-East ward. According to The Age newspaper, Council Teti has been charged by police with firearms offences and recently had an arrest warrant issued after he failed to appear before court. The paper reports that Teti's charges relate to a weapon discovered in his car by uniformed police officers in 2013.
The newspaper reports that “several of his associates are suspects in the shooting up of Woodstock pizza restaurants.” The Woodstock pizzeria in Lygon Street, Brunswick was damaged by shots fired in October last year, on the same night as attacks against restaurants in Essendon and North Fitzroy.
Moreland Mayor Lambros Tapinos has called on Councillor Teti to stand aside from his position on Council until the legal matters are resolved.
“Labor man Michael Teti's Mafia links”, The Age, September 1, 2014

“Mayor urges Moreland councillor Michael Teti to stand down”, The Age, September 1, 2014
“Pressure on state Labor to suspend local government figure over weapons probe”, The Age, September two 2014
"Shots fired at award-winning Woodstock pizza shops in Brunswick, Fitzroy North, Essendon", Herald Sun, 31 October 2013


Council proposes rezoning of Brunswick factory precincts

At this week’s Moreland Council meeting, councillors will discuss the latest version of amendment  C134 - a proposed change to the Moreland Planning Scheme that covers the major north-south traffic corridors along Sydney Road, Lygon Street and Nicholson Street and the Upfield railway corridor.
A crucial change has come in the latest version of the Amendment, following the State government’s introduction of “Plan Melbourne”, which was incorporated into all Victorian planning schemes on 30 May 2014. In essence, because of the long process of adopting amendment C134, it has now been overtaken by the new state government plan for urban growth. For this reason, Council will consider major changes to the amendment relating to Sydney Road and the Upfield railway corridor.
Plan Melbourne designates Jewell Station and the Brunswick to Batman rail corridor as ‘urban renewal’ areas, where the State government intends to accommodate a significant amount of population and housing growth.
The planned “urban renewal” of the Upfield rail corridor means that the State’s Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) is planning urban growth and densification much greater than Moreland Council has previously planned for (the MPA target is for 20,000 new dwellings in the corridor, compared to 12,500 forecast in Moreland Council’s existing plans for Brunswick and Coburg). In addition, MPA has indicated a target of new 31,500 jobs, significantly more than the 18,803 jobs currently planned for in the Corridor.
Moreland Council first adopted a Brunswick Structure Plan (BSP) in August 2010 and adopted further revisions in June 2012. However there has been a long delay in introducing this plan into law: amendment C134 was first proposed years ago, exhibited to the public in late 2012 and only put before a planning panel in June 2014.
Based on feedback from residents, Council agreed in early 2014 to a number of revisions to Amendment C134, including the introduction of mandatory rather than discretionary building height controls (a policy resisted by most planning bureaucrats and developers). Since the June 2014 planning panel, Council staff are now recommending further changes to the Amendment as it applies to the Sydney Road/Upfield corridor.
The revised Amendment will include a combination of mandatory street walls and upper level setbacks and preferred (NOT mandatory) maximum heights along and near Sydney Road (this could mean that there might be a four or five storey facade but with massive tower behind it). On some larger sites in the areas behind Sydney Road, there is an increase in overall height compared to previous proposals, ranging from 1 to 4 storeys (buildings may be up to 25 metres or 8 storeys in some locations).
The resolution to go to Council this month includes the rezoning of seven areas full of old factories or industrial warehouses (so-called MILUS or Moreland Industrial Land Use Strategy precincts). Five of these MILUS areas are located between Sydney Road and the Upfield railway line near Jewell and Brunswick stations and would be changed from industrial to Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z).
There are another two precincts to the east of Sydney Road: one near the intersection of Barkley and Ewing Streets, another between Victoria and Albert Streets, from Sydney Road to the Fitwear factory on Thomas Street. It is recommended to rezone these precincts to the Mixed Use Zone (MUZ).
If Council passes the resolution this month, people within or immediately adjoining the zones will be notified of the changes and can make submissions to Council, which will be reviewed between November and next February. Council will then present the finalised amendment to a planning panel hearing in March 2015.
Full details of these changes can be found in this month’s Council meeting papers on pages 483-589 (see especially the map on page 494).

For those that don’t have time to wade through hundreds of pages of planning jargon, Brunswick Residents Network will be organising a public information night to explain the changes. We’ll put the crucial maps on the BRN website if the resolution is adopted by Council, and let you know how to tell Council about your concerns.

Substandard apartments?

A recent report to Melbourne City Council highlights concerns that “a generation of residents in high-rise towers are at risk of being forced to live in substandard homes.”
One major feature of many of the new apartments being built in Brunswick is that they contain just one or two bedrooms, which restricts the number and type of families that can use the apartments as a home. Many new projects in central Melbourne include a large proportion of small apartments with limited amenity (such as restricted natural lighting or limited disability access).
The Victorian government architect is preparing to recommend that all new apartment towers adhere to strict new guidelines, following the report which shows that:
  • some of the city's newest developments were up to 10 times as dense as permitted by planning laws in other urbanised centres.
  • 40 per cent of the city's newest apartments were smaller than 50 square metres.
  • investors were buying 85 per cent of Melbourne apartments, driving demand for smaller properties that were unsuitable for families
“Strict design standards needed now for Melbourne high-rises: architects”, The Age, 28 July, 2014

Controversial hi-rises proceed

VCAT approves more multi-story buildings
Once again, VCAT has overridden the wishes of local residents, by approving the construction of multistorey buildings in Lygon Street and Nicholson Street which are far taller than the limits set out in the Brunswick Structure Plan (BSP) - a plan which has still not been introduced into the Moreland Planning Scheme and which Council is planning to override again in Sydney Road.
In July, there was an important VCAT ruling on a project at 304-310 Lygon Street (a 12-storey building proposal which will sandwich the single story Maternal and Child Health Centre against the existing 10-storey concrete monolith Elvera).
In a major decision a year ago, VCAT gave an extension of the planning permit for the third time, in the face of Council opposition. The permit was first issued in early 2006, some seven and a half years ago, but construction was delayed due to “a downturn in the market for apartments, the GFC and an associated turnover of land owners” (VCAT) and the default of the mortgage. In September last year, the mortgagee, the Commonwealth Bank, won an extension of the permit to 17 September 2015 to begin construction.
This 2013 decision in favour of the Commonwealth Bank highlights the practice of warehousing in Brunswick, where developers obtain a development permit but sit on it, “with the permission intended to be preserved principally to maintain the value of the land for on-sale purposes, rather than to actively pursue it.”
Now the new developers Beyshore Pty Ltd have applied to VCAT for an amendment to the permit to increase in the number of storeys from ten to twelve! The BSP for this part of Lygon Street specifies a maximum height of 7 storeys, with a street wall of 4 storeys, for development on this land. As VCAT notes: “It is self-evident that the approved development substantially exceeds the overall height, and also exceeds the street wall height by one storey.”
The developers proposed a reduction in the size of the two light courts (meaning 16 one-bedroom dwellings on Levels 1-4 will depend on borrowed light , rather than being lit from an internal courtyard or light court). They were also seeking an increase in the number of dwellings from 42 to 64 (achieved through the removal of all three and four bedroom dwellings) and a reduction in the number of car spaces from 48 to 41. Once again, VCAT has approved a multi-storey building in Brunswick full of one and two bedroom apartments, in breach of proposed limits for Lygon Street.
Beyshore Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2014] VCAT 828 (11 July 2014)
In Nicholson Street, Moreland Council has proposed a limit of three storeys to increase housing density along with major north-south thoroughfare. Once again VCAT has overruled the proposed height levels in the Brunswick Structure Plan, by approving a five storey building on the corner of Nicholson and Victoria streets.
BE Resident Holdings Pty Ltd v Moreland CC (Correction) [2014] VCAT 982 (8 August 2014)
The heart of Brunswick?
Brunswick HeartOver many years, the BRN newsletter has reported on the proposed 14 storey shopping, residential and commercial complex at 284-292 Albert Street, Brunswick (west of Sydney Road, near the Woolworths supermarket).
The original issuance of the permit for this project in 2010 was the subject of an enquiry by the Local Government Inspectorate. Council has repeatedly extended the permit, when successive developers have failed to begin construction.
With the project passing to the latest developers, the CBD Development Group, they have begun selling one and two bedroom apartments off the plan for the 14 storey complex, now dubbed “Brunswick Heart.” (The model pictured here is on display in their sales office.)
The amended proposal for Brunswick Heart has a building with shops and residential apartments, with one basement level dedicated toward car parking. The building has four concealed above-ground car park levels surrounded by 21 retail outlets of varying sizes and uses, restaurants, office space and 236 apartments (an increase of about 28 per cent on previous plans from the original developer Citimark). With a proposal for 222 car parking spaces, vehicle parking increases by 20 percent. The basement car park will funnel vehicles through only one exit directly into Albert Street (bad luck for cyclists using Albert Street to get to the Upfield bike path!).
The CBD Development Group was founded in 2011 by a group of Melbourne-based businessman originally from Fuzhou, China, including director Chen Guo Jing and principals Michael Chen, Bert Xu and Robert Chen. Chen Guo Jing’s company C and K Group Investments has been involved in property development in other suburbs (for example with the Bentleigh Centre in Centre Road, Bentleigh). As well as the Albert Street project, CBD Development Group is working on major multi-storey projects including the Panorama apartment in Doncaster, Holmeshill apartments in Chadstone and the Banque 88 tower in Southbank.
"CBD Development Group director Chen Guo Jing wants Albert St, Brunswick land safe for development", Moreland Leader, 9 August 2014
Alarm over VCAT fee changes

A major developer has welcomed legislative changes that could make councils and residents pay fees of several thousand dollars a day if they lose an appeal in the state’s planning tribunal, according to the Maribyrnong Star Weekly.

The paper reports that Evolve Development says it has racked up more than $165,000 in fees for successful appeals to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) relating to a single Williamstown development site. Evolve’s Port Phillip Woollen Mill development in Williamstown is on the major cases list that involves substantial hearing fees.

Hobsons Bay Council last week expressed concerns about the new VCAT Amendment Act (2014), under which the tribunal can order one party to pay the fees of another, including application and hearing fees. This is separate to the tribunal’s power to award costs, which is rarely used.

Moreland Council newsLibrary

Brunswick Library re-opens at last
Readers have welcomed the return of the main Brunswick library to newly-renovated premises after a lengthy exile in cramped quarters upstairs. As you can see, the old Town Hall looks beautiful, there's a new computer room and the expanded facilities are being well used.

CEO Peter Brown resigns position

After more than 12 years as Chief Executive Officer and two years as Director of the Moreland City Council, Peter Brown has announced his resignation. Council will seek a new CEO, who will take over from Peter Brown in January next year.
Read the Council media release

Council urged to end fossil fuel investments

Climate Action Moreland has launched a campaign to encourage Moreland City Council to divest from banks which lend to dirty fossil fuel projects.
A draft divestment motion has been circulated to councillors, and the group is seeking signatures to a petition calling for disinvestment by Moreland Council: so far nearly 1000 people have signed the petition.

More events and stuff

Discuss Melbourne's growth, population, tunnels, and trams: plus pre-election forums and Council meetings
TOMORROW: Planning in Melbourne
On Tuesday 9 September, there will be a public meeting to discuss the politics of planning and the role of developers in determining Melbourne’s boundaries and urban density.
Speakers: Cr Lambros Tapinos (Mayor of Moreland City Council) and Prof Michael Buxton, Professor of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT and a leading commentator on planning in Victoria.
Entry to the Australia Series talks is $15 ($5 for students, unemployed and pensioners). To confirm your place, please contact the New International Bookshop on 9662 3744 or email:
WHAT: Public meeting on the politics of planning
WHEN: Tuesday 9 September, 7.00pm
WHERE: Trades Hall Meeting Room 1, enter from 54 Victoria St, Carlton
Park for a Day
On Sunday 28 September, Friends of Edward Street will host another 'pop-up' park in the Dods Street car park. There will be turf, mulch, sand and trees. Join in with the breakfast BBQ, coffee, food vans and activities. It is also a chance to imagine a permanent park in the Edward/Dods Street carpark – come along and decorate the 'dream wall', to imagine a great future with enhanced public space.
WHAT: Park for a Day
WHEN: Sunday 28 September, 10 AM - 4 PM
WHERE: Car Park between Dods Street and Edwards Street (opposite All-Day Doughnuts)
East West tunnel public meeting
As we move closer to the state elections in November, the Napthine government is still aiming to sign contracts for the East West tunnel. Moreland and Yarra councils have joined together to launch a legal challenge to construction, and other legal proceedings will be finalised in September which may disrupt the process. On 9 October, Moreland Community against the East West Tunnel (MCAT) will hold a public meeting “Stopping the East-West Link - where to from here?”
The meeting provoked will provide updates on the MCAT campaign and Moreland’s legal challenge and debate next steps in the campaign.
•           Andrew Herington, author of East West Link blog, and former advisor to the Brumby government
•           Sue Bolton, Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel
•           Mike Naismith, Tunnel Picket
Organised by Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel.
WHAT: Public meeting on the East West Tunnel
WHEN: Thursday 9 October, 7pm
WHERE: Coburg Court House, 1A Main St, Coburg (near corner of Bell St)
FURTHER INFO: Councillor Sue Bolton on 0413 377 978
Population and planning
Federal MP for Wills Kelvin Thomson has long argued for population limits to address pressures on urban growth and density, a stand contested by many planning and policy experts. In October, Thomson will debate Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle about the link between immigration, population and urban growth.
WHAT: The Great Population Debate between Kelvin Thomson (MP for Wills) & Robert Doyle (Lord Mayor of Melbourne)
WHEN: Monday, 13 October 2014, 7.00pm
WHERE: Deakin Edge (formerly BMW edge), Federation square, Flinders Street, City
History of trams
For fans of public transport, the Brunswick Community History Group will present a talk by Keith Stodden on "The Trams of Melbourne", to celebrate History Week 2014.
WHAT: History of Melbourne’s trams
WHEN: Saturday 25 October, 2 PM - 4 PM
WHERE:  Function Room, Bridie O'Reilly's  (former Sarah Sands Hotel), corner of Sydney Road and Brunswick Road.
Uniting Church State Elections forums

Brunswick Coburg and Pascoe Vale Uniting Churches are organising a series of Friday forums to encourage discussion leading up to the November State elections.

“What kind of Education & Health for Victoria?
Cate Hall (High School for Coburg & Our Children Our Schools Working group)
Brian Howe (former federal Minister for Health), plus one more speaker
WHAT: Forum on health and education
WHEN 19 September, 7.30pm
WHERE: Coburg Uniting Church (Mel 29 H1)
“What kind of Infrastructure for Victoria?”
Tony Morton (Public Transport Users Association)
Carolyn Whitzman (Professor in Urban Planning, University of Melbourne)
Andrea Sharam (former Moreland City councilor and affordable housing advocate)
WHAT: Forum on State infrastructure
WHEN: Friday 17 October, 7.30pm
WHERE: Pascoe Vale Uniting Church (Mel 17 B6)

Brunswick Candidates Forum
On Friday 14 November, the Brunswick Uniting Church  will host a forum of candidates contesting the seat of Brunswick for the 29 November State election.
Sitting Brunswick MP Jane Garrett of the Australian Labor Party is being challenged by the Australian Greens’ Dr Tim Read, the Liberals will field a candidate and there will likely be other independent candidates throwing their hat into the ring. The Brunswick Residents Network encourages BRN supporters to come along to find out more about Brunswick candidates’ policies, personalities, pork barrelling and promises!
WHAT: Candidates’ forum for November state elections
WHEN: Friday 14 November, 7:30 PM
WHERE:  Brunswick Uniting Church, 212 Sydney Road, Brunswick (corner of Merri Street)
BUG regular bike events

The Moreland BUG (Bicycle Users Group) meets on the fourth Thursday of each month. It also organises fortnightly rides at a leisurely pace, on alternate Wednesdays, with the next one on 10 September.
JOIN THE BUG E-LIST: You can view or join at!forum/MorelandBUG

Full Council meeting - this week
Wednesday 10 September 2014 - 7 pm
Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre, Jukes Road, Fawkner
Special Council meeting
Monday 22 September 2014 - 6 pm
Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg
Full Council meeting
Wednesday 8 October 2014 - 7 pm
Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg
Special Council meeting
Monday 27 October 2014 - 7 pm
Coburg Town Hall, 90 Bell Street, Coburg
  • Check latest times and location at the Council website
  • Hint: If you go to an evening meeting at 90 Bell Street and find the doors locked, you can probably get in through the back door via Urquhart Street


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