By Casey Neill
High-rise plans for Lexington Gardens have been grounded.
Greater Dandenong Councillors refused the application from the Springvale aged care village at their Monday 24 July meeting.
The council received five objections to the 114-122 Westall Road proposal, which included 40 independent living units within a five-storey building.
The objections related to concerns about the building height, increased density, traffic, high accident rates in Windsor Avenue and a lack of parking.
“It is considered that the overall net community benefit of the proposed sustainable building within an existing residential village outweighs the potential for visual impact due to the proposed height at this location,” a council report said.
“The visual impact in itself will be regarded as minimal due to the existing development on site, retention of vegetation and enhancement and provision of landscaping.
“As such the proposed development is considered acceptable and should be supported.”
Cr Tim Dark agreed. He said the population was ageing, the development suited the location, it was only another 40 units and “they’ve met most of the guidelines, if not all of them”.
Cr O’Reilly said the site previously housed the Enterprise Migrant Hostel.
“At that time the Enterprise met the needs of South East Asian refugees,” he said.
“Now there’s an increased need for people that are retiring in our community.”
He said the site was on Westall Road, a main carrier road.
“Any problems with neighbouring residents would most certainly be mitigated by this location,” he said.
“This particular demographic and age group is less likely to be driving their own cars and therefore less of a disturbance to surrounding residents.”
Cr O’Reilly said the council had a requirement for open space on the site so “you can only go up”.
Cr Loi Truong said this development would allow older people to stay in the Springvale area, close to their family, friends and culture.
But Cr Matthew Kirwan led opposition to the proposal.
He said he felt a sense of deja vu talking about the application, referring to a discussion at the 10 July meeting about a five-storey proposal for Dandenong North.
“The arguments for this application have little to do with planning or our planning scheme,” he said.
He said that like the Stud Road proposal, this one failed planning policy because it was too tall.
“This is another case of trying to force a five-storey development into a general residential zone,” he said.
Cr Kirwan said a development like this was designed for an activity centre, not an area zoned for incremental change.
He said this site was not near central Springvale, and also failed to comply with parking provisions.
He said the city needed more places for older people to live but “in the interests of our city, we also need applications to comply with our rules”.
Cr Kirwan said the area was “very single-storey” and low-density.
He said a three-storey plan would have been justifiable but five storeys “will dwarf their homes“ and was “large, inappropriate development“.
The Journal contacted Lexington Gardens but did not receive a response.