Bentleigh and Carnegie Activity Centres Planning Scheme Amendment C184

Amendment C184 was prepared to implement land use and development controls from the Bentleigh and Carnegie structure plans. Following exhibition, Council has resolved not to proceed further with Amendment C184 and to undertake a reset of the process.

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What is Amendment C184?

Council developed structure plans for the Bentleigh and Carnegie Activity Centres in 2017–18. Following adoption of the plans, Planning Scheme amendment C184 was prepared to implement land use and development controls from the plans into the Scheme. It included guidance for where new housing, retail and commercial space should occur and its design, through changes to local planning policy, zones, overlays and operational provisions.

Council received authorisation from the Minister for Planning to exhibit Amendment C184 in March 2020. During exhibition of Amendment C184, 128 submissions were received. Council considered all submissions at Council Meeting 16 March 2021. View the submission online.

Resetting direction for Bentleigh and Carnegie

At an Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday 16 March 2021, Council resolved not to proceed further with the amendment process and to undertake a reset of the process.

This decision followed consideration of all submissions, and the challenges and key issues highlighted by the community.

These challenges are linked to changes made to the amendment over its development and approval process.

To address the issues raised, Council has resolved to cease the current administrative process and commence a revised process.

From here, officers will:

  • revise the Bentleigh and Carnegie Structure Plans to address the matters raised during the Amendment C184 process
  • prepare two new planning scheme amendments for each of the commercial centres which are based on the structure plans
  • prepare a housing strategy that will consider neighbourhood character. The housing strategy will provide a clear vision for housing over the next 15 years and provide strategic support for future work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a planning scheme amendment?

An amendment is a formal statutory process, that makes changes to local planning schemes.

The Planning Scheme regulates the use, development and protection of land within Glen Eira. It is constructed from a ‘toolbox’ of standard policies and controls that provide a consistent and coordinated framework for planning schemes across Victoria. Each council then supplements these State wide policies and controls with provisions that relate to their local areas.

The formal process to make changes to the Planning Scheme (the amendment process) includes a number of steps.

  1. Authorisation
    Council seeks authorisation from Minister for Planning to prepare the amendment.
    Following this, notice (exhibition) of the amendment will commence, inviting public submissions
  2. Exhibition
    Community and stakeholders can make a written submission.
    If there are no submissions Council can adopt the amendment and send to the Minister for approval.
  3. Consider submissions
    If there are submissions, Caouncil cab choose to abandon the amendment in accordance with the submitters' request, or request the Minister to appoint an Independent Panel to hear the submissions.
  4. Planning panel hearing
    If a Panel is appointed, submissions are heard and the panel reports its findings to Council in the form of a recommendation. The Panel may recommend changes, approval or abandonment.
  5. Consider panel report
    Council considers the panel report and makes its own decision.
    Council is not bound by the panel's findings.
  6. Approval
    If Council adopts the amendment, it is then referred to the Minister for Planning for approval. 

What did Amendment C184 aim to do?

An amendment to implement land use and development components of the Bentleigh and Carnegie Structure Plans, Amendment C184 applied to the Major Activity Centre areas of Bentleigh and Carnegie and proposed to:

  • apply a Design and Development Overlay (DDO) on commercial and mixed-use land with permanent controls to manage the building heights and setbacks of new development and ensure a scale that allows for growth while also protecting the heritage streetscapes and maintaining sunlight to key public spaces;
  • rezone some residential land to allow for more residential growth;
  • rezone some public use and commercial land to allow for housing and employment growth within the activity centre boundary;
  • make changes to local policy in the Glen Eira Planning Scheme that supports the intent of the planning controls;
  • introduce new schedules to the residential zones which include setbacks to manage how new buildings address the street and adjoining land; and
  • rezone land at 99 Brewer Road, Bentleigh from Industrial to General Residential and applies the Environmental Audit Overlay to manage potential land contamination.

If you would like to access the Amendment documentation, please contact the City Futures team by email cityfutures@gleneira.vic.gov.au or phone to 03 9524 3333

How was Amendment C184 developed?

Why has Council resolved not to proceed with Amendment C184?

C184 is a large amendment. The exhibition process has highlighted the complexity of the Amendment as well as strategic and technical challenges. These include:

Strategic and policy issues:

  • The need for a sound strategic basis for the amendment through a housing strategy to show how growth will be managed across the municipality, taking urban design matters into account.
  • Inconsistency with the sustainable land use and development principles of Plan Melbourne major activity centres are expected to accommodate growth and areas with the most valued character or heritage to accommodate limited but some change.
  • Inconsistency with Planning Practice Notes (PPN) 59 The role of mandatory provisions in planning schemes and PPN 60 Height and setback controls for activity centres.
  • Amendment is overly large and therefore complex it applies to two centres and addresses both residential and commercial matters.

Technical issues with the rezoning proposals:

  • Rezoning in the commercial areas in Bentleigh does not precisely reflect the proposals in the structure plans.
  • Rezoning in the residential areas of both centres, includes back zoning of RGZ land to GRZ and NRZ when the land is not affected by a Heritage Overlay.

Technical issues with the Design and Development Overlays (DDOs):

  • Proposed street wall height in Neerim Road does not reflect the clearly emerging street wall height.
  • Proposed heights in Bentleigh are lower than some existing buildings.
  • Extended laneways are largely unachievable without a Public Acquisition Overlay which is not proposed by this amendment.
  • The shadow controls have not been independently tested and in some cases may not be supported by independent experts, making it difficult to support Council’s case at a planning panel.

Technical issues with the residential schedules:

  • Seven metre front and five metre rear setbacks proposed by the RGZ and GRZ5 schedules appear to be inconsistent with the purpose of the zones.

Changes to the amendment were made to address concerns expressed by some stakeholders and further changes were then made to try and meet State objectives. The integrity of the amendment, along with its strategic and technical basis have been challenged throughout this process and this has been highlighted by submissions.

This indicates a low likelihood of the planning guidance in the amendment being successfully considered and authorised for inclusion into the Planning Scheme.

In resolving not to proceed further, Council can reset and look further at the issues highlighted by submitters. This will include undertaking a new process that reduces complexity, incorporates up-to-date information and aligns with State expectations. This is supported by the development of a new Housing Strategy.

What does ‘abandoning’ Amendment C184 mean? Will the existing structure plan work be wasted?

Abandonment is an administrative option available to Council under legislation following an exhibition (consultation) process.

 ‘Abandonment’ refers to the process, not the structure plans. Choosing this option just ceases the administrative progression of C184. It allows Council to pause and reset before progressing further. 

The recommendation to abandon C184 does not mean that work undertaken to date will be wasted. This work, including the Bentleigh and Carnegie Structure Plans, community feedback, submissions to C184 and relevant background material, will result in new amendment processes.

What are the next steps for Bentleigh and Carnegie? What will Council do now?

With support from a new Housing Strategy, Council will now review the Bentleigh and Carnegie Structure Plans. Following this, we will move to separate amendment processes for the two centres and separate commercial and residential components.

New amendments will improve alignment to Plan Melbourne. The residential components of the amendments will be strengthened by the dedicated Housing Strategy, that will help to make clear to all stakeholders how and where Council will manage growth.

What about the current interim controls?

Interim planning controls apply to parts of both Bentleigh and Carnegie activity centres.  These interim controls are a Design and Development Overlay (DDO8 and DDO9) covering some land zoned commercial, mixed use and residential. The controls are a temporary measure to deter inappropriate development while Council goes through the amendment process for permanent controls. These interim controls principally control height and are in place until September 2021. Officers will continue to liaise with the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and seek extensions to the interim controls as required.

What is a Housing Strategy? What role will a Housing Strategy play in the next steps for Bentleigh and Carnegie?

A Housing Strategy is a municipality-wide and detailed document that addresses housing demand. It looks at where and how growth needs to be located and how we will meet community needs for housing. The Housing Strategy will include an assessment of neighbourhood character to assist in a clearer understanding of preferred future character for residential areas across the Glen Eira.

Council has a City Plan that provides an overarching strategic framework for activity centres across the City. However, a Housing Strategy provides more granular detail to articulate future housing needs. The need for this detail has been highlighted through the Amendment C184 process.

A Housing Strategy will help to address the strategic justification to support new amendments for Bentleigh and Carnegie (as well as other areas of our City) and build the case for successful introduction of planning controls for these centres. The Housing Strategy will be the subject of its own amendment process to guide future residential outcomes.