Off the block

By CASEY NEILL

DEBATE over “residential growth” at last week’s council meeting ended in a knockback for a Dandenong apartment block.
The applicant proposed a three-storey building with basement car park and 14 two-bedroom apartments in Wedge Street, which is zoned Residential Growth – Schedule 1.
But a City of Greater Dandenong report found the proposal was “inconsistent with the surrounding area”, noting four objections from nearby residents.
“The subject site is in an area which contains two-storey townhouses and double-storey apartments,” the report read.
It recommended approving a two-storey building and said the proposal was well-designed, met community demand for different housing types and would deliver more affordable housing closer to jobs, transport and services.
But Cr Matthew Kirwan said cutting one storey from the building only culled two apartments and the project was an overdevelopment of the site.
“This is not a large site. This is a predominantly single-storey street,” he said.
He said the property was near the Residential Growth Zone periphery, and approving apartments there was stopping development in the centre.
Cr Peter Brown supported the two-storey proposal.
“I think it’s a fine compromise,” he said.
He said approving it would set parameters for a VCAT appeal and that he wouldn’t be surprised if the applicant did appeal a refusal.
Cr Brown said the development was ideal for the Residential Growth Zone and the architectural design was “particularly appealing”.
Cr Sean O’Reilly said that if councillors didn’t pass the recommendation “we are objecting to the middle ground”.
“The recommendation from the officer seeks to temper some of the concerns of the objectors,” he said.
He said the site was zoned Residential Growth and that reasonable applications in growth zones should be supported.
“We need to be giving some consistency and certainty to developers,” he said.
The recommendation to grant a permit only received support from Crs O’Reilly and Brown and was defeated.
Cr Kirwan successfully moved an alternative motion to refuse the permit.

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