Mixed ruling on homes | Dandenong Star Journal
By Cam Lucado Wells
Two proposals to build multi-family homes in Noble Park have received very different rulings in the state planning court.
Three two-storey townhouses on a 638 sq m site at 34 Schprith Street were demolished during the recent VCAT appeal.
Meanwhile, three similar-sized townhouses have been approved on a larger block at 25 Ardgower Road.
Both applications were rejected by Greater Dandenong Council. Both sites are currently occupied by a single house and are in areas of increasing change.
At Ardgower Road, the council objected to parking and traffic impacts – there were too many units in the street, too little on-street parking and it was near a five-way roundabout.
The council said residents had already reported problems with parking and traffic.
“The Ardgower Road is usually shortened to one lane for vehicle travel in both directions.”
Neighbors were concerned about increased traffic due to other redevelopments and the kindergarten and Uralla facility on the same street.
However, the council’s transport planning department had no objection, VCAT member Tracy Watson noted.
Watson concluded that the traffic and parking impacts were “acceptable.”
Each townhouse will be provided with a double garage, according to the planning plan. There will be up to 13 extra vehicle trips along the street each day – meaning traffic remains “well below maximum capacity”.
“I also note that many local streets in Melbourne operate with a single lane of traffic at points where cars stop on both sides of the street.
“This situation currently occurs within Ardgower Road, and the proposal has minimal impact on this current situation.”
Watson agreed with a council officer’s report which found the proposal was “fully compatible” with the increased change area, but for “a very minor issue of design detail”.
“In fact, Ardgower Road has been subject to a reasonably high level of medium-density housing redevelopment, with several examples close to redevelopment that are comparable to or more dense than the proposal before me.”
However, VCAT agreed with Greater Dandenong Council that the townhouses on Shepreth Avenue did not suit the neighbourhood.
Objectors argued it was excessive development, had insufficient landscaping, and would cause traffic congestion and impacts to amenities.
VCAT member Shiran Wickramasinghe pointed out that the two proposed lanes at the site conflicted with the natural character of the area, particularly with the lack of canopy trees in the front garden.
“I don’t find that including the grassy area within the driveway provides a meaningful landscaping opportunity.
“Due to the passable nature of the corridors and the potential impact of vehicles on these areas, their ability to make a landscape contribution to the site and neighbourhood is limited.”
Wicramasinghe stated that the street was filled with single-storey houses dating back to the 1950s and newer residences up to two storeys high.
The futuristic character included well-designed townhouses up to three stories high.
“Although the proposal generally complies with the numerical criteria, I find that the proposal will not contribute to the desirable character of this neighbourhood.”
The member did not agree with the objectors that there would be “unacceptable traffic congestion.”