Is Monash Council ignoring the Monash community? 15 storeys high!

A supporter of  EM&U has sent this letter to Councillors:

Dear Councillors

Thank you for your time at the recent Listening Post and Public Meeting.

I write to seek your support opposing the proposal to grant approval for a 15 storey building at 52-54 O’Sullivan Road, Glen Waverley, at least in its present form.

Last Monday’s public meeting at Mt Waverley demonstrated considerable community opposition to the scale of the proposal – a matter which has not been addressed in the officers’ report.  Last Saturday morning, Prof Kim Dovey, from the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at Melbourne University, suggested on 774 Melbourne radio that a 20 minute city can be achieved with no more than five to eight storeys.  This proposition is borne out in many European cities.

Setting a precedent of 15 storeys for this development will only encourage more, very tall buildings on Monash’s high points.  Already there is talk of the RSL site as the next skyscraper.  Concern has been expressed about this as a precedent for other “activity centres” such as Syndal, Mt Waverley and even Pinewood.  This is an opportunity to set a precedent which says we won’t allow developers to compete to see who can build the biggest – set a realistic limit today and it can be used to control and manage the future.

A major justification for approving the height is that it is consistent with the “opportunity for heights in excess of 10 storeys” in the draft structure plan about which there is still considerable detailed community consultation to be completed.  That same plan includes a sustainable transport plan which does not appear to have been considered when providing for transport options other than private motor car.

  • There’s one fifth of a bike parking space per apartment vs one whole car space; it seems unlikely that five families will share just one bicycle!
  • There’s NO on-street bike parking for visitors to the shops and businesses on the ground and podium levels.  Bikes parked out of sight are frequently subjected to mindless vandalism so, unless there’s a chance to keep an eye on the bike, most people won’t ride and shop thereby undermining the sustainable transport plan.
  • The pedestrian space on the western side appears to be a walkway 1.5m wide with an additional street trading area between the path and the kerb.  Stroll down Kingsway and it quickly becomes apparent that this is insufficient space to provide for “active and vibrant” pedestrian traffic.

The proposal requests a reduction in car parking provision and Council appears to be willing to grant this on the basis that the rules haven’t been applied in the past so it’s not appropriate to apply the rules now.  Last month’s Council meeting should have put officers on notice that Councillors do not condone that approach and nor do residents.  In defence of the reduction (25 car parks) the report notes the proximity the Euneva Avenue car park as an alternative.  Given that traffic officers and Mayor Lake reported recently that there are only six unencumbered parking spaces in Euneva Ave (thereby explaining that the currently unused parking space cannot be used as a temporary revenue source or to provide relief to commuters and Syndal and Glen Waverley residents during next year’s temporary closure of 150 spaces at Syndal railway station) it seems inconsistent to suggest that these six spaces can provide a permanent replacement for the missing 25 spaces in this development.  Once again, it seems that council is allowing developers to use ratepayer funded parking for private use instead of protecting it for public access when needed.

Last Monday night council officers suggested that an additional 200 vehicle movements per day will be unnoticeable.  That presupposes that the residents drive out in the morning and return at night but makes no allowance for school runs (buyers’ children will not be within easy walking distance of secondary schools – GWSC is full!), visitors to the site (reduced parking provisions notwithstanding) or any other traffic.  The GWAC structure plan speaks of “activated laneways” – the alleyways which will provide access to this tower will be heavily trafficked and incapable of “activation”.  I fear that traffic congestion at the Springvale Road entry to the laneway and the alternative into O’Sullivan Road – these are likely to become major congestion points at peak times.  The exit route westward on O’Sullivan Road will conflict with the existing pedestrian crossing between The Glen and Village Walk – no provision appears to have been made to address this already congested and busy crossing.

Residential intensification is a necessary fact of the future and, done properly, can add vibrancy and livability to a city.  I suggest this proposal needs to go back for more careful consideration before being done properly and with sensitivity to the needs and wishes of existing residents of our city.

Residents in the 276 apartments will use this lane off Springvale Road to enter the apartments
Residents in the 276 apartments will use this lane off Springvale Road to enter the apartments

 

The planning permit will go to Monash Council for approval on Tuesday 25 November 7.30 pm. 
Residents and ratepayers of Monash may submit questions to Public Question time by 12 noon on Monday 24 November. 
The public are welcome to attend the meeting in the Council offices, 293 Springvale Road, Glen Waverley, 3150
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