Residential voices are faint

Local resident Bill Allan told the panel assessing Amendment C270 that CBD residential voices were often not heard.

“I will suggest ways in which residents could (and should) be given more opportunities to be involved in the planning and development process and help implement a better vision for the CBD,” Mr Allan said.

“To be clear, I, and I think most residents, support the C270 amendment and the use of 3D modelling to ensure that built form controls are stronger and applied more rigorously in the CBD.”

“The case I want to make, however, is that the reforms do not provide for either improved definition of CBD residents’ amenity rights or better resident access to up-to-date information on planned and approved neighbourhood developments.”

“In Melbourne CBD in particular, residents not only have little formal rights of appeal, at present it’s not very easy to find out what’s going on.”

“Planning applications have to be researched by individual residents from City of Melbourne (CoM) application files and most residents have limited professional expertise in going through complex plans and architectural drawings.”

“Persistent groups can arrange meetings with city officials and can press their case and get advice on likely developments, but this process is hard work for everybody and it’s most often been the case that developers have enough resources to get their way eventually in VCAT.”

“Individual residents in apartment buildings are lower down the political hierarchy than any other citizens. A single unit in an apartment building has very limited power relative to any property owner of a suburban sole-owned site.”

“The owners’ corporation is effectively the only entity with a significant political voice on behalf of its constituents, but it’s not always the case that OCs will take up owners’ interests against intrusive or undesirable neighbourhood developments.”

“It requires a considerable effort for any individual owner to influence the OC, and, in any case, typically OCs lack resources or serious commitment to influence neighbourhood development,” Mr Allan said.

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