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Mon 25 May 2020
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Welcome everybody to tonight's meeting of the urban planning special committee. My name is councillor Garry Thompson and I chair this committee. The health and safety and the well-being of the community has and will always be paramount consideration of the council. Council continues to be guided by the government directives and wants to be able to do the right thing for the health of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 omnibus emergency measures act 2020 passed by the Victorian Government on the 23rd of April 2020 included changes to the Local Government Act 2020 which affected the conduct of council meetings. The changes became effective from the 1st of May. Council is now able to hold virtual meetings and councillors can participate in the meetings remotely by electronic means of communication. 

This has necessitated changes to the existing operation of the urban design special committee meeting. Unfortunately we will not be able to facilitate members of the community or applicants addressing councillors at this meeting. Please be assured councillors have been informed of your written submissions and will consider it in their assessment of the planning application. Councillors will also have the opportunity to visit the planning application site.

The urban planning special committee meeting is being live-streamed on council's website so you will be able to view the Proceedings of the meeting, councillor deliberations and voting. The meeting will also be recorded and will be made available on the council website as soon as practically possible after the meeting. Should a technical problem occur or be encountered tonight by the committee then the meeting will be adjourned under resolution or postponed.

I'll start by introducing my fellow councillors and officers who are present for this meeting of the urban planning special committee. Present this evening councillor Jack Wegman, councillor Felicity Sinfield, councillor Jane Addis, councillor Lisa Hollingsworth, councillor Jim Parke, councillor Steve Hurd, councillor Phillip Healey, and councillor Coral Ross and the mayor councillor Cynthia Watson. Also this evening we have the director of City Planning Shiran Wickramasinghe, manager of statutory planning Simon Mitchell, coordinator of statutory planning Erin McCarthy, manager of governance David Thompson, governance projects officer Elizabeth Manou.

The purpose of the urban planning special committee essentially is to deal with issues under the Planning and Environment Act and the building act. This committee has delegated authority to make decisions on behalf of council. Councillors are familiar with the report which includes a summary of objections received. Before we move on to that I believe councillor Sinfield you have some audio problems are they okay or not okay. Audio is fine councillor Thompson, I believe councillor Parke is having some audio issues. Councillor Parke I believe you've got some audio issues, we'll just get someone to assist councillor Parke as we move to that.

I'll move on to the order of the business as listed in our business papers. Mr. Thompson are there any apologies this evening. Through you mr. chair there are no apologies for this evening. Thank you mr. Thompson. 

Adoption and confirmation of the minutes of the UPSC meeting held on the 4th of May. Councillors I'm in search of a motion. Councillor Hurd. As printed chair. Thank you. Do I have a seconder for councillor Hurd, Councillor Hollingsworth. To assist councillor Hurd is there any opposition to that, there appears to be none so I'll put that motion to the vote all those in favour. I'm going to call you out individually councillor Healey in favour, councillor Hollingsworth in favour, councillor Addis in favour councillor Wegman you had your hand up in favour, councillor Ross in favour, councillor Sinfield in favour, councillor Hurd in favour, and have I missed any other councillors other than myself, I am in favour. Councillor Parke, just looking for councillor Parke, you're here and you're in favour I can't see you on my screen councillor Parke, and councillor Watson you are also in favour thank you.

I will move on to the next item declaration of conflict of interest of any council or council officer this evening, are there any conflicts of interest? I will be declaring a conflict in item 3.1 68 to 70 Riversdale Road when that item comes up. I'll move onto that item. So councillors as flagged I do have a conflict of interest in this item under Section 79 B of the Local Government Act I have a conflicting personal duty as a councillor. The director of the architectural practice who's done the design of this building that's before us this evening I've recommended that to an employer of my wife and they have been engaged on my recommendation. I seek leave of the committee to abstain from voting on this item in accordance with section 79 B of the Local Government Act as I have a direct interest in the decision because it directly affects my obligations, I'll be seeking a leave from Council. 

Councillors acknowledging that councillor Thompson has declared a conflict of interest and now left the meeting we need to elect a temporary chairperson, I therefore call for nominations for the position of temporary chairperson. Councillor Healey. I nominate councillor Watson our mayor who is the previous chair as now protocol calls for in such circumstances. Thank You councillor Healey I see councillor Ross is seconding that nomination. Are there any further nominations. There being no further nominations I declare councillor Watson elected as temporary chairperson. 

Councillor Watson. Thank You mr. Thompson. I'd like to now proceed to item 3.1 which is the presentation of 68 to 70 Riversdale Road Hawthorn and I believe we're having a presentation this evening from Erin McCarthy who's the coordinator of statutory planning so thank you very much Erin. 

Thank you through you ms chair an application has been made to Council to amend the existing planning permit to 68 to 70 Riversdale Road Hawthorn. The existing permit allows partial demolition and construction of an extension to the existing significant heritage building known as Killamount which includes construction of a new three-story extension to the rear of the existing building. The planning permit was issued by Council at an urban planning special committee meeting on the 3rd of December in 2018, during that meeting an alternate motion was made and carried to remove level three, the fourth storey, which comprised a sunroom and a roof deck. 

The current amendment seeks to construct an external staircase to provide a rooftop garden to unit one along with rooftop balustrade and planter boxes. Three conditions are sought to be deleted to facilitate this change. Given the existing planning permit in place for the overall development the scope of considerations in the current amendment application are confined to the impact of the proposed rooftop garden area and the associated staircase, balustrade and planter boxes only. The current application does not propose any additional enclosed floor area the only buildings and works proposed are an open staircase and balustrade and planter boxes surrounding the rooftop garden.

The proposed staircase will be located on the eastern side of the building behind the main ridge line of the existing roof. The rooftop garden will be enclosed by a 1.1 meter high solid rendered balustrade. The balustrade will be set back 1.3 meters from all parapets. The rooftop garden will feature new planter boxes behind the balustrades around the perimeter with widths of 800 to 940 millimeters. The proposed rooftop garden and associated staircase balustrades and planter boxes comply with council's Heritage Policy and the Heritage overlay. No change is proposed to the principal form or façade of the  heritage apartments. The proposed staircase and balustrades are located behind the existing roof form and under the sight line in Councils Heritage Policy. 

The staircase and balustrade do not dominate the significant heritage building and are clearly read as a secondary element. Council's heritage advisor is also supportive of the amendment application. The proposed works also respond appropriately to adjoining properties. Subject to the recommended permit condition to ensure all planter boxes are notated as fixed on the plans the proposal fully complies with the amenity requirements of res code specifically standard b-17 side and rear set back standard b21 overshadowing and standard b22 overlooking of clause 55. Full details of the proposal discussion of all objections and assessment against the relevant controls and policies are contained in the officer report. Overall subject to the recommended condition it is recommended that the amendment proposal is supported thank you.

Thank you very much Erin for your report. Councillors are there any questions for miss McCarthy this evening. Councillor Ross. Thank you madam mayor I  have a few questions should I ask them individually or in a mass. Councillor Ross I think if you ask all your questions together that would be the best way to proceed this evening. Okay the first question is just to confirm again so that there is no confusion that this application is purely for the rooftop garden and the access stairs. My second question is what is meant by generally on page both 14 and 23 of the report which says that the application is generally consistent with the heritage statement of significance.

Thank you through you ms chair I can confirm that the application is only for the rooftop garden and the Associated access stair and the balustrade and the planter boxes. With regard to the word generally contained within the report it is acknowledged that the word is contained in the abstract and in the report however officers are of the view that the proposed amendment fully complies with councils local heritage policy the proposed amendment complies with the tests outline within the policy and then it doesn't alter or obscure any original fabric of the building the materials proposed are also complementary and the siting of the proposed works are appropriate and don't dominate or detract from the existing building and therefore those are the tests outlined in the policy so officers are of the view it fully complies. 

If I could ask just a couple of extra questions then. Regarding the heritage one of the tests is the sight line from the street just to confirm that it complies with the views from the street. Thank you through you ms chair the sight line test contained within the policy is specific to contribute to greater dwellings nevertheless officers have used the assessment because we consider it a useful tool for assessment of upper floor additions against significant buildings as well and the rooftop garden and the associated balustrade and stair case are clearly well below the sight line so they do comply with the sight line test. 

Further questions. one is to do with screening one of the objectors has contacted me regarding the screening and question why there is no necessity for screening at the top of the rooftop garden, and the second one is are to confirm that it has full compliance with res code regarding overshadowing overlooking and regarding setbacks. 

Thank you through you ms chair I can confirm with regard to overlooking and screening the rooftop garden proposes a balustrade of 1.3 meters around the perimeter of the garden and then there are planter boxes behind those balustrades ranging from 800 to 940 millimeters wide. Sight line diagrams were submitted with the application that show that view lines are clearly not possible when a person is standing up on the rooftop deck furthermore overlooking and the res code requirement considers overlooking within nine metres of where a person is standing and those views clearly do not allow for views down into the adjoining properties. I can also confirm that the proposed rooftop deck has full compliance with res code with regard to overlooking with regard to overshadowing and with regard to the side and where setbacks. Specifically overshadowing has also been considered and any shadow that's cast from the staircase or from the balustrade falls within the subject site and will not affect adjoining properties. With regard to the setbacks the setbacks are well within the side and rear setback provision of res code so therefore it achieves full compliance thank you.

Thank you. Thank you very much councillor Ross for those questions and ms McCarthy for your reply. Are there any further questions for officers this evening. There being none councillors I'm in search of a motion. Councillor Ross. Thank you madam mayor, as printed please. Thank you very much and councillor Healey, happy to second. Thank you very much. Is there anyone opposed to this motion this evening. No. Councillor Ross as mover of the motion would you like to speak.

Yes I would thank you madam Mayor. This is a difficult application and I can't say I'm completely comfortable with the proposal but it is fully compliant with the res code as you've heard and with the Heritage Guidelines. This then means that I cannot see any reason why we shouldn't approve this application. I believe that this is probably if my memory serves me right the third set of plans that we've seen for this heritage property and in this particular case as we've heard that one of the extra conditions which is on this which was of a concern some of the residents was that the planter boxes will now be fixed. As I said this is now the third set of plans for this so I would like to thank the applicant for changing the plants and to the local residents who have diligently pored over each of the applications so thank you and I commend this application or the motion to my colleagues.

Thank you very much councillor Ross. I'll now put that motion to the vote, all those in favour and as I call your name if you could please put your hand down. Councillor Healey, councillor Ross, councillor Sinfield, councillor Parke, councillor Wegman, councillor Addis, councillor Hollingsworth and councillor Hurd and myself that concludes the voting tonight and say that the motion is carried and it is unanimous. So that concludes item 3.1 so I'll now hand back the chair to councillor Thompson at the appropriate time. Councillors if you bear with us a moment we will now bring councillor Thompson back online. 

Thank You councillor Watson for standing in as temporary chair. We'll move on to item 4 any items of general business. Councillor Hurd. Very briefly chair and councillors many of you may have noticed the article yesterday in the Herald Sun around VCAT decisions in local areas. One decision was mentioned which was Grattan street in Hawthorn. Just to note the concern that I feel with the people that spoke in the paper yesterday about issues like Grattan street that one really did surprise me given the history of it and given the locale that it went the way it did of we course we can't second-guess these decisions but I just wanted to note the concerns of residents and tell them that I share those concerns.

Thank you councillor Hurd that's duly noted. Any other councillors general business, there appears to be none. Item five any items of urgent business, there appears to be no items of urgent business. Any items of confidential business, appears to be no items of confidential business. So thank you councillors and thank you members of the community who've been viewing this online I will now declare the urban planning special committee meeting closed at 6:55pm. Thank you.