$22 million development on the corner of Surf Coast Highway and Grossmans Rd (85 Geelong Rd)

Graphic of proposed development.

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Some people are excited about having a KFC in town but spare a thought for the residents who have to live with this development as their neighbour.

After seeking an amendment to the Surf Coast Shire Planning Scheme in 2016, that would allow a service station on the site on the corner of Grossmans Rd and Surf Coast Highway, a Planning Application for development by the Liuzzi Group is now being advertised. The amendment to Schedule 5 to the Special Use Zone (SUZ 5) includes Precinct T1 (only Lot 3 of LP213066W) in the list of precincts where a planning permit application can be made for the use of the land for a service station. The site is also subject to a design and Development Overlay.

Prior to the amendment being granted, the Surf Coast Shire supported the amendment despite the objections of nearby residents, including the Lion’s Village retirement homes that adjoin the property.

3228RA objected to the inclusion of a service station in the allowed uses for this site on the basis it was too close to residents. Because of the high volatility of substances in a petrol station, there is always a risk of a fire and/or an explosion. With a child care facility only metres from the petrol station it is surprising that this could be considered suitable.

Also, the entry/exit on Grossmans Rd would place children going to and from the 2 schools in Grossmans Rd in danger requiring extra monitoring.

Other issues identified as incompatible with the residential setting was noise and light pollution. This is now a real threat with the the proposed 7/11 petrol station, the convenience restaurants and the medical centre operating 24 hours a day and the Cinema until 11.00pm according to the Acoustic Assessment Report provided by the proponent. The numerous waste collections, 21 per week covering all uses, will also cause more noise.

Large Illuminated signage will affect those in the neighbouring streets and across the road from the proposal.

Schedule 5 to the Special Use Zone says “A use must not detrimentally affect the amenity of the neighbourhood, including through the: § Transport of materials, goods or commodities to or from the land. § Appearance of any building, works or materials. § Emission of noise, artificial light, vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, vapour, steam, soot, ash, dust, waste water, waste products, grit or oil.” Not sure this proposal complies.

Objections to the proposal close on 22nd August. The related documentation can be viewed on the surf Coast Shire website on their e-planning portal - https://eplanning.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Account/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fSecure%2fContent%2fEPlanning%2fUserHome.aspx

Phone Surf Coast Shire for more info - (03) 5261 0600 or 1300 610 600

Email submissions to :planningapps@surfcoast.vic.gov.au

STILL TIME TO HAVE YOUR SAY on THE Great Ocean Rd action Plan

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The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is seeking your views in helping develop long-term objectives and a shared vision for the Great Ocean Road region. Please have your say by completing the online survey: https://engage.vic.gov.au/great-ocean-road

For those interested the 3228R submission:

Registered Number – A0058442K

 Submission to the Great Ocean Road Action Plan

 As a community organisation whose members live within the area that is to be covered by the GOR Action Plan, 3228RA would like to make comment on the implementation of the proposed Plan. Our input is based on attendance at the initial consultation in 2017 and the most recent sessions held in Torquay as well as extensive reading of the available documents – see References below.

We acknowledge that the focus of the plan has been broadened from what was initially proposed ( tourism and the visitor economy focused) to include the importance of environmental protection, the effects of climate change and LIVEIBILITY of communities along the GOR.

 As a town - Torquay/ Jan Juc has been targeted  as a “ growth node” over the past 15 years and coupled with the increase in tourists our town has already reach a point of crisis in terms of liveability -  

Liveability is the sum of the factors that add up to a community's quality of life—including the built and natural environments, economic prosperity, social stability and equity, educational opportunity, and cultural, entertainment and recreation possibilities.”( Partners for liveable Communities, bmcnulty@livable.org)

It seems that the state government has finally recognised the importance of protecting our coastal towns and is now listening to the community - the instigation of the DAL process and, we hope, the Statement of Planning Policy will protect our town from future overdevelopment and unrealistic expectations of population growth by defining our town boundaries and building heights in line with community expectations.

 It is unfortunate that the consultation for the DAL and the GORR action Plan consultation were held at the same time – many people found it confusing and conflicting, especially when one of the lead questions re the GOR was “what infrastructure is needed to enhance the visitor experience?” This was a poorly worded, leading question as it put all the emphasis on the “visitor” and none on the residents. Many in the community see the increase in the “visitor” numbers as part of the problem, not the solution. Economic benefits from tourism only flow to a few in the community and more often flow out of our communities to large commercial interests by way of “profit leakage” (Profits going out of local area because the business owners are outside the community. Also although there is often a lot of emphasis put on “escape expenditure”, this is often not a true description as any larger commercial interest is more likely to purchase wholesale from outside the local area. The sum of profit leakage and wholesale escape expenditure results in an overall loss to the communities. Along with that, tourism related jobs are often low skilled and low paying and with property prices in the coastal communities very high, we need to the emphasis to be on medium to high paid jobs.

 We would also like to comment on the current management arrangements that the GOR Action Plan seeks to overturn. We consider that the GORCC is and has managed the coastal strip under its management extremely well with the limited resources it has under its control. We value the ease of communication with them, their understanding of community expectations and their willingness to work with local community groups. We fear that the proposed GORCPA will not be as easily accessible to our community and will not provide the same level of consultation/ input into decisions which affect our community and environment, especially planning decisions. We can’t speak for areas beyond the GORCC managed strip and it may be that those areas have management issues.

An over arching body will only be acceptable to our community if it includes, in its legislated form, the inclusion of defined community involvement in the decision making process for our area which includes the coastal strip and the hinterland.

By this we suggest that a community consultation group (or groups) be formed and that these groups are more than just ‘advisory”. Alternatively we suggest that a minimum of 2 members of the board for the new authority are drawn directly from the local residents as community representatives and that the remainder of the board are persons with expertise and of which 80% are local residents.

If the suggestion above is not feasible because the local residents do have the required expertise, then we suggest that the experts are brought together as an advisory group and the board is made up of local residents.

 We are also concerned at the lack of definition of terms which reoccur throughout the documentation. The most repeated word without definition is “ sustainable” - sustainable tourism, sustainable visitation, environmentally sustainable - without a definition for sustainable these terms are at best confusing and at worst, meaningless. Without definition there is no way to assess if the implementation of the Action Plan is achieving what it stated outcomes are.

We suggest a glossary of terms be included in the document and that ‘sustainable’ be clearly defined.

 Objectives of the Action Plan

 1.Protect the ecological and landscape integrity of coastal and marine environments.

We agree with the 4 Principles of this objective but feel that the contribution of local community groups towards the protection and rehabilitation of coastal and marine environments should be recognised and their future involvement should be improved with defined requirements for consultation.

2.Increase Traditional Owner inclusion

Acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the Great Ocean Road Region is long overdue. Their involvement should not be restricted to planning and management but there should be an effort made for the truth of their past existence to be told. There is an educational opportunity to that would benefit us all by providing information on all aspects of indigenous culture.

 3.Protect Distinctive areas and landscapes

We agree with 3 the principles of the objective and in particular we believe that the inclusion of “heritage and cultural values, and distinctive characteristics of the GOR it’s landscapes and towns” is of great importance to our town which is at risk of inappropriate and excessive development. We believe that each township along the GOR have a defined town boundary and defined building height limits set for each zone within or outside the boundary. We also believe that significant restrictions be placed on commercial developments outside the town boundaries.

 4.Grow the local, state and national visitation economies

It was been stated in the Issues Paper that the GOR now attracts more tourists than the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru.

If that is true, then there is no need to attract even more visitors, but rather to entice those visitors to ‘spend’ locally. However, the intention of this objective is unclear. Does it mean grow the numbers or does it mean grow the value?

We agree the GOR, its land and seascapes are important for the liveability and wellbeing of local communities but as stated, we are not convinced that our economic prosperity is necessarily dependent on the visitor economy.

Enhancing the touring route experience and its destinations must not be at the expense of coastal communities’ liveability.

Many places in the world are now experiencing a backlash against over tourism and a subsequent drop in visitor generated income. We need to manage our tourism and not be managed by the tourism. We need to enhance the visitors experience. Eg; The twelve Apostles is now being touted by some as a place NOT to visit as it is crowded and the visitor experience is poor. This has arisen due to poor management, the numbers of visitors on a popular day are too large for the area to cater for.

  1. Modernise governance

As already stated we are satisfied with the current governance of the GOR area covered by GORCC.

In our previous submission we suggested that any governance model developed be local resident focussed and the best way to achieve that outcome is to have significant representation from the local community, especially in relation to decision making that specifically relates to their area. The proposed GORCPA should be significantly answerable to the local communities along the GOR, not just the Minister.

Actions:

Action 4 – GORCPA -It is unfortunate that the composition of this body is still lacking detail as is the detail of how coastal communities will be involved.

The priorities of preserving the scenic beauty needs to continue as the first and major priority, with the local community’s social needs as an important second priority when decisions are made. If the governance model has the local community and the maintenance of the environment as its focus, all other issues will follow from those positions to continue to have the GOR as an iconic destination for tourist and a desired place to live for the residents.

Decision makers, who are not residents and whose only concern is an overall tourist dollar increase, irrespective of whether the spend is local or non-local, will not make good long-term decisions for the region and will be more likely to use statistical figures on ‘Victorian economy’ or ‘Australian economy’ to justify poor planning and infrastructure decisions. We fear that the emphasis will be on visitors rather than residents, and that will result in long-term poor outcomes, both economically and for the liveability of the region and for the State.

We have particular concerns about the future management of Bells Beach, which is currently under Surf Coast Shire control and the future management of Taylor Park in Torquay (currently GORCC managed). We understand that the Shire is interested in taking over management of Taylor Park with the intention of “gentrifying” the park, extending the leased area of the bowls club and using the park to hold more events. This is despite extensive community consultation resulting in a desire to keep the park as it has historically been – an oasis of green in our town centre. Allowing the council to control Taylor Park would be a clear indication of how the local community is NOT being listened too. The management of Bells Beach has seen some very turbulent years in the past but is currently being well managed by the Shire, this is in no small part due to the Bells Beach Advisory Committee that is made up of concerned local community members. The loss of this current relationship and effective stewardship would be a major blow to the community that fought so hard for their voice to be heard.

Action 5 -  Work Closely with local communities is obviously very important to our community. This must include the community being part of the decision making around planning decisions and what is appropriate for our community and not just ‘consultation’ which often does not translate into the uptake of community values.

Action 6 – Traditional owner capacity is an important initiative that will benefit all Victorians and visitors to the region as well as recognising the significance of the cultural heritage of our first nations people.

Action 7 – Sustainable funding – Too often the financial burden for the provision and maintenance of infrastructure and services along the GOR falls to the councils/shires through which it passes.

It is imperative that a sustainable funding model be developed that does not place an unreasonable burden on local communities through its rate base.

Action 8 Community involvement – Balancing the long term objectives and vision of local communities that protects the distinctive landscapes and their liveability while providing a great visitor experience can only happen with strong community involvement. How that will be delivered is not currently clear and we would urge the creation of permanent planning structures that are not just a token of “community consultation”. These structures should be implemented as part of the creation of the authority and not be left to develop in the future. We look forward to further discussion on how this can be achieved.

Action 9 – A GOR Strategic Framework Plan  is a very important piece of strategic work for the region. We expect that there will be more community consultation prior to the production of the  final plan. The 50 year outlook seems unrealistic unless reviewed on a more regular basis than the currently suggested 10 yearly review. We suggest that 5 years be the maximum between reviews. This will allow for the framework to alter in line with altering trends, whether that be population growth, visitor numbers or climate change effects.

The fact sheet on the Framework Plan states that it seeks to streamline and improve the uniformity of planning procedures across the GOR. Given the diversity of the areas, communities and the landscapes we question whether this approach will provide the best outcome.

We are also concerned that the Plan may require the Planning Schemes of individual councils to be amended. If such amendments are required will the normal process of public exhibition still occur?

“It will deliver the right balance between appropriate protection, sustainable development and facilitating the visitor experience” – how are appropriate and sustainable defined and who decides whether these conditions are met?

Who decides on the planning guidelines on land use and design standards and who will regulate these standards?

We suggest that the above questions be addressed prior to the authority being formed and as stated above, we suggest that the terms be defined so that it is clear to everyone what is being put forward. Again focussing on the word ‘sustainable’ – economically sustainable may mean anything from large profits to break even. Environmentally sustainable may mean anything from have little impact on the environment to having a mega development that is self-contained.

Studies to inform the Strategic Framework Plan:

We understand that three studies: infrastructure, accommodation and landscape will be undertaken to provide a better understanding of current conditions. We consider that there is also other essential studies that should be completed.

We at the 3228 Residents Association have been advocating for an extensive ‘Impact Study’ so that future decisions are based on solid cohesive knowledge and not ad hoc information taken at differing times.

There should be a study into the carrying capacity of all beaches along the GOR and impact studies for all coastal towns who are impacted by tourist visitation. The assumption that the economy of coastal towns is greatly benefitted by tourist visitation needs to be tested against the benefits of encouraging other jobs growth which generally provide greater income and job security than tourist industry jobs and against the environmental losses that will inevitably occur when visitor number grow.

In particular we would like to see a study on the social, economic, environmental and cultural  impacts on Torquay/ Jan Juc of increased tourist visitation combined with the ongoing development of housing estates.

It is vital that the development of the Plan pays particular notice of the effects of climate change to our region.  We know that there are already an increase in extreme weather events. Barwon Water has studies that indicate that there is a stepped decline in water inflows into our storage system directly due to climate change.

Of particular concern is the increased risk of bushfires which historically have been the cause of much damage and loss of life. The safety of community and visitors should be a high priority when decisions are made about the Plan.

We note that the recently adopted (by Surf Coast Shire)Rural Hinterland Futures Strategy has been expanded to make greater consideration of bushfire risk and makes reference to bushfire risk in all development references in the document including principles. “Page 51 now outlines key matters to consider when planning developments in high bushfire areas. The indicative map showing areas “Well Suited to Tourism” has been altered to respond to the bushfire assessment report of the Shire.”

“A better planning approval process” – what does better mean and for whom? “the Victorian Government will strengthen the planning system to properly protect the GOR and its landscapes from inappropriate development.” What is the definition of “appropriate” and on what basis is it judged?

Action 11:  The GORR Standing Advisory Committee:

We note that the GORR Standing Committee has been appointed by the Minister for Planning and the Terms of Reference were signed off on the 13th April 2019. There are a lot of “mays” used and not enough “musts” - who decides what should and shouldn’t be done?

We find it concerning that this committee has been convened prior to the legislation to protect the GOR region has been adopted. We understand that they will be advising on the GOR Strategic Framework Plan and will also be available to advise on planning matters prior to the Strategic Framework Plan being finalised.

The Terms of reference are extremely broad and appear to be geared towards development of anything that might increase the visitor economy. Without the protection of legislation, decisions by the standing committee are at present not required to consider the wishes of local communities.  Nor are they required to comply with the local Planning Scheme provisions but merely to consider them.

Despite the Terms of Reference for the GOR Taskforce “requiring it to make recommendations on governance to increase tourism while supporting local communities (what does this mean?) and protecting the environment: (P2, 18 - Terms of Reference for GORSAC) there is no requirement for it to consider the views of the community. This is despite 12 points that it MUST consider including the views of the proponent. We see this omission as detrimental to our community and something that should be amended.

This is a major flaw and appears to be making a statement that the local residents are not truly  being considered in the processes.

The actual extent of the committee’s influence is still unclear. We have grave concerns that development proponents will now automatically refer to this authority if they perceive their developments may not be acceptable to the local community. We are aware of several developments that have been rejected (by council and the community) for Torquay that we suspect may refer to the committee prior to the legislation (DAL) that is meant to protect the area.

 

 Page 3, 19 – 21 - We are also unclear about the reference to “Notice”, and particularly concerned that the committee must agree to the “scope of public notice” – why? Is this to be different to what is currently accepted?

P3 – Hearings – 22-26  - It is of concern the committee will regulate its own proceedings and that it may assess a matter without the need for a public hearing. This lacks transparency.

 We respectfully suggest that this be reviewed with the utmost urgency as the last thing the local communities want for the Great Ocean Rd is an organisation that is just a ‘rubber stamp’ for development at any cost.

Victorians love the Great Ocean Road and the local residents wish to continue to share in its custodianship by having a significant say in its continued success as a liveable region that attracts visitors from all over the world. After all, it’s the past and present local residents that have made this region the success it already is today.

 

Action 15 – Improved road access and safety.

Increased numbers of tourists (particularly from overseas) has seen an increase in accidents on the GOR. A strategy is needed to improve awareness of visitors of the road regulations. Certain sections of the GOR are susceptible to landslides – significant investment is needed to remedy this ongoing problem.

 Action 16 - Crown Land administrative arrangements - We note that Government Gazette: No. S 361 Wednesday 1 August 2018 declares Taylors Park(Torquay) not to be Marine and Coastal Crown Land (for the purposes of that act)- http://www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2018/GG2018S361.pdf#page=5 We assume that this will mean that Taylor Park will now not have the same level of protection that is afforded land that is declared Marine and Coastal Crown Land (for the purposes of that act). As already stated we are concerned about the management of Taylor Park and who the managers will be.

 

Contact: Committee, 3228 Residents Association Inc.

info@3228ra.org

PO Box 368 Torquay, 3228

 

Changes to the Surf Coast Shire website to view Planning applications

The Surf Coast Shire has changed the way you can view planning applications online. We believe they have made it more difficult to navigate so we are providing some instructions

 Instructions to access the planning proposals;

  1. Go to council’s home page

  2. Select “planning and building”

  3. Select “planning”

  4. Select “”Planning

  5. Select “jump straight to ePlanning portal”

  6. On right panel, fill in the reference number if known (in this case its 18/0274) or address, if you want to browse the entire list select “search”. No need to register unless you want to make a submission.

For general browsing of all current applications, go to item 7 below, for a search of reference number go to item 8.

  1. For an easier and more relevant search of the entire list, in the “status” drop down list, select “advertising”.

  2. This is where it gets tricky – Click to the ‘>’ next to “Actions”

  3. In the list, if the “make a submission” is visible (and greyed out if you are not registered), then click “View” (not make a submission). Wait for next page to load, may take a little time. But if the “make a submission” is not in “action” list, then generally that seems to mean there are no documents ready to be seen. And you need to go back in a couple of days.

  4. Scroll to bottom of screen. There you will find a list of Attached Documents which can be downloaded. These are all the documents from the proposer. Unfortunately, it means looking through the documents to find the plans and reports.

GOOD LUCK!

 

Application for 5 storey Hotel goes to VCAT

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Details of the hearing:

VICTORIAN CIVIL AND ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT DIVISION
PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT LIST
VCAT REFERENCE NO. P1423/2019
APPLICANT Barnes Capital Pty Ltd

RESPONSIBLE AUTHORITY Surfcoast Shire Council

SUBJECT LAND 2-4 Geelong Road and 48-50 Bell Street & Lumley Close TORQUAY VIC 3228

WHERE HELD Melbourne BEFORE Tracey Bilston-McGillen, Member

HEARING TYPE No hearing

DATE OF ORDER 24 July 2019
ORDER
Hearing date 24 February 2020

Commencement time 10:00 AM

Duration 5 Days

Location 55 King St, Melbourne

Major Cases List -  No

Short Cases List  - No

Compulsory conference date -  19 November 2019

Commencement time 10:00 AM

Duration 0.5 Day

Location 55 King St, Melbourne

1 This proceeding is listed for a hearing and a compulsory conference in accordance with the details set out in items A & B above. Any changes to the hearing or compulsory conference details will be notified by further order of the Tribunal.

Town Boundaries and Building Heights - your chance to HAVE YOUR SAY!

THIS IS IMPORTANT! attend one of the consultation session to get more information and have your say on how our town evolves if future.

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How do you feel about building heights in Torquay/Jan Juc?

What is your opinion on urban development within Spring Creek?

Are our foreshores and reserves important to you?

What are the values and character of Torquay/Jan Juc that you want retained?

If you have an opinion on our town’s future we NEED you to come along to and express your views!! This forum is the most important opportunity that our community has seen and may ever see.

PLEASE attend these forum’s being run by DELWP Thursday May 23rd and Friday 24th and have your say!!

See brochure above for details.

Great Ocean Road Action Plan Consultation

n October 2018, the Victorian Government unveiled an action plan to protect our iconic Great Ocean Road coast and parks. Work is now underway on the implementation of this Action Plan. Decisions are being made about the future direction for land-uses, landscape, visitor management, and sustainable economic development.  If you care about our coast and want to protect our iconic landscapes and ensure the liveability of our local community please attend one of the following community forums:  Torquay:  St Luke’s Anglican Hall, Corner Pride and Price Streets Friday 24 May 2019  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM  06:00 PM – 08:00 PM  Saturday 25 May 2019  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

n October 2018, the Victorian Government unveiled an action plan to protect our iconic Great Ocean Road coast and parks. Work is now underway on the implementation of this Action Plan. Decisions are being made about the future direction for land-uses, landscape, visitor management, and sustainable economic development.

If you care about our coast and want to protect our iconic landscapes and ensure the liveability of our local community please attend one of the following community forums:

Torquay:
St Luke’s Anglican Hall, Corner Pride and Price Streets
Friday 24 May 2019
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
06:00 PM – 08:00 PM

Saturday 25 May 2019
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Changes to the Local By Law - Council Meeting Procedures

We have grave concerns about the proposed changes to the By Law that governs council meetings. In particular Clause 20 - Public Question Time and Clause 21 - Notice of Motion.

The proposed changes have not been justified and we see them as a restriction on our rights to ask questions at council meetings and for councillors to work on our behalf.

We have spoken at the Hearing of Submissions on 7th May and expect council will decide whether to proceed with the changes at their May 28th meeting.

For more information go to the link - https://www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/About-us/Your-Say/Closed-Consultations

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Premier Says Duffields will be Town Boundary

Premier Dan Andrews has announced that the Surf Coast will be declared a Distinctive Area and Landscape!

This is the first step in protecting Spring Creek and the surrounding communities from inappropriate development that would damage their beautiful and unique character.

The consultation for this process will start in May. The community will need to demonstrate their support.

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Community Forum hears concerns about 5 Storey, 128 room, licensed Hotel.

Last week the community forum hosted by 3228RA and Independent candidate for South Barwon Damien Cole, attracted around 50 people. We would like to thank those who attended at such short notice. Amongst the attendees were Councilor Martin Duke, Corinna Eccles representing the Wadawurrung traditional owners the developer Martyn Barnes and Darren Cheeseman who is the Labor candidate for South Barwon.

From the questions raised and comments made, it was obvious that there is concern not only from residents but also some business owners in Bell St who fear their businesses will be greatly impacted by the proposed 20 months of construction if the proposal proceeds.

Common concerns voiced were:

- Height and bulk of the building

- 5 storeys in an area where the Design and Development overlay prescribes 2 storey up to 7.5m.

- Parking, in particular request to reduce the 263 prescribed car spaces by 74 and use of the public road reserve for hotel parking.

- Noise from the roof top terrace bar from 7.00am to 12.00 midnight.

- Overshadowing of neighbours

- Possible damage to neighbouring buildings during construction

- Another large hotel is not needed with 2 of the large hotels already struggling.

Positive comment from 1 participant:- Employment in Torquay would be increased

- Developer felt the building was “iconic” and so would enhance Torquay.

Concern from current businesses in Bell St that their businesses would be adversely impacted by the 20 months of construction.

Issues -doesn’t conform with our Planning Scheme - the development site is covered with a Design and Development Overlay - DDO7 - which prescribes a 7.5m building height and a 2storey limit. The proposal is up to 5 storeys plus lift well extension taking the height to 20m, almost 3 times the official height limit for this site.

Objections close on Thursday 18th October at 5.00pm. To make an objection please use the below link:

Application number: 18/0419

Address: 2-4 Geelong Road and 48-50 Bell Street, Torquay

https://www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au/Property/Planning/View-applications-or-make-a-submission/Applications-on-public-exhibition

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