Developer’s second try refused

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong councillors have overruled council planners by refusing a proposal for three townhouses at 16 Callaghan Street, Noble Park.

The trio of two-storey residences was regarded an overdevelopment of the 730-square-metre block, councilors argued.

Previously the council had rejected a plan for four townhouses on the site. VCAT upheld the council’s position in January 2019.

Cr Peter Brown, in an alternate motion on 10 February, said there were strong arguments for VCAT to refuse the latest iteration even if “planning is an inexact science”.

The two-storey design’s bulk and narrow setbacks would impact adversely on Blaby Street neighbours.

It failed to respect the preferred neighbourhood character, with looming overshadowing and overlooking.

“In Callaghan Street … old dwellings have been replaced by new stand-alone single-storey dwellings which characterise the street.

“The proposed development is antithetical to the concept of practical incremental change in the immediate area.”

Cr Tim Dark, in support of refusal, noted the adjoining Noble Park Secondary College raised concerns about traffic congestion.

Council planners had recommended approval on the basis that the proposal “appropriately responds to strategic policy for residential development in the area”.

“The future character of incremental change areas will evolve over time to accommodate well-designed and site-responsive single and double storey dwellings.

“The subject site has a direct interface with the Mile Creek reserve and the provision of double-story dwellings along this interface would allow for greater passive surveillance opportunities.”

The council’s transport planning unit had “no concerns” on traffic and parking issues, noting the proposed on-site garages.

Planners found no overlooking impacts, as well as appropriate setbacks and attempts to minimize visual bulk.