Developer Discretion #1
This week I heard the term ‘developer discretion’ a lot of times. Mainly it was used by developers in an attempt to justify the reduction of a minimum 800m2 lot size in the new Neighbourhood Residential Zone. They argued that such a minimum ties their hands in doing something interesting and responsive on blocks. There should be no such stipulation they argued, we should be able to use our discretion.
Then today I had a lovely walk in the sunshine and saw this example of ‘developer discretion’. This block is being developed after numerous hearing at both council and VCAT where the local community got the dwelling numbers down from 16 (!) to 10 and with some changes to support diversity of roof-line and materials. Imagine for a moment we didn’t get those changes, this could have been so much worse.
However it could also have been so much better. This was once a beautifully undulating block with trees and motion and movement. You can see on the right hand side of the block where they have dug down so far that the truck fits below what was once the ground level. This is so developers can use their ‘discretion’ to build on flat concrete slabs, instead of reacting to and responding to the environment.
Then down York Street I found another example of developer discretion. These developers fought the community, the council and their neighbours to build high density for the area. Many of the neighbours have sold up and moved out, disappointed that their council would not protect them from such developments. At mediation the developers argued that it was ‘all good’, they had heart they said, they were going to build beautiful sustainable buildings. They argued it made up for the lack of private open space.
Hilariously called ‘York Gardens’, there will be no room for gardens, and they have cut down a lot of the greenery that existed. The developers are now selling the development along the permit. Where is their conscience in creating the dream they sold to council planners?Ironically those who have vandalized the sign have unwittingly given the development 50% more greenery than what is on offer.
Possibly the East Development Curse has struck again? We have heard of many developers who don’t finish what they start here in the East. Maybe they are not used to the rebel spirit out here for fighting unsustainable development, maybe they run of money trying to deal with such a beautiful but unyielding environment, maybe they realise its just not worth the hassle to try and make the East fit into ‘green field’ model?
We love our area, please developers treat it with more respect, and maybe a little less of your discretion!