No space for ‘unchanged’ subdivision

The double-storey and single-storey forms of the current Edith Street dwelling.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A proposed subdivision in Noble Park that little changes the existing building has been rejected by the state’s planning tribunal.

In her reasons on 23 June, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal member Cindy Wilson said the 6 Edith Street corner site’s private open space was not generous enough for two dwellings.

It didn’t fit the neighbourhood’s “open front setbacks and generous private open space that create a spacious and open context”.

Under the proposal, the two-storey part of the current building and the single-storey part would be divided into two dwellings by an internal fire wall.

The applicant had argued the existing, lawful building would appear “relatively unchanged”.

“The applicant says the only real matter of relevance is whether the existing dwelling will continue to be used as one dwelling or two dwellings with improved landscaping and permeability,” Ms Wilson said.

The two-storey, four-bedroom dwelling’s private open space fronting Walter Street would be two metres wide, including a clothesline and water tanks hidden behind a 1.8-metre tall paling fence.

It had another “highly useable” 42 square-metre outdoor area facing north and accessible from the lounge room, according to the applicant.

Ms Wilson stated it was “unacceptable” to locate the secluded open space in the front setback. Taller privacy fencing would not fit neighbourhood character, Ms Wilson said.

The second dwelling’s private open spaces were between 2.5 and 3.7 metres wide – short of the 5-metre minimum for the General Residential Zone.

Its “generous” total area still didn’t allow for “substantial landscaping and canopy trees” or a “high quality useable private space”.

A double-storey extension had been granted for part of the building by Greater Dandenong Council in 2009.

The council had taken “enforcement action” to make the building comply with the permit, but agreed at VCAT that the building was lawful.

 

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