Councillor describes subdivision as “a slum”
A proposed residential development in Drouin has been described by a Baw Baw Shire councillor as disaster and the potential to be the “new slum” of Drouin.
Cr Michael Leaney described the development in Monica Drv as a “dog of a development.”
He said it was a modern example of a property with no yards and no design.
“It has no character…it’s boring. Everything is crammed in to get the maximum dwellings onto this site.
“It is potentially creating a new slum in the centre of Drouin. This will be an absolute disaster for Drouin,” he said.
Details of the proposed 22 dwelling development were presented to council last week, with officers asking councillors to form a position on the matter ahead of a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing this month.
Councillors directed officers to not support the proposed development at VCAT.
The matter has been taken to VCAT before council considered the application because the developer lodged an appeal against council’s failure to make a decision within the prescribed timeframe.
The proposal attracted significant opposition from surrounding residents who said it would destroy the neighbourhood character and amenity of the area.
The officer’s report said south of the subject land was a unmade section of McNeilly Rd which contains a large row of mature indigenous trees, while the Whisky Creek reserve and wetlands were east of the site.
A previous application in 2014 for 27 houses on the site was refused by council and upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Officers said the current proposal had responded to concerns raised by VCAT by reducing the number of dwellings and increasing the setback from Whiskey Creek.
Officers said the proposed development was consistent with state and local planning policy.
The report said the interface with the McNeilly Rd reserve and impact on significant vegetation had been resolved through an appropriate design response with dwellings generally setback to minimise encroachments within tree protection zones.
But, Friends of Drouin’s Trees members disagreed, saying it would threaten a stand of 20 trees in the McNeilly Rd reserve that were hundreds of years old.
Group representative Judy Farmer told council this was bad planning and would lead to safety concerns for the trees.
She urged council to implement a tree risk management policy.
“This is the wrong place for this high density development,” she said.
Cr Peter Kostos said the application was originally presented in 2014 for 27 dwellings.
“It’s still an over development of the site. People don’t want to see another Pakenham and this is exactly what the people don’t want to see,” he said.
Cr Kostos said if the application was approved by VCAT, it had the potential to be later subdivided into individual titles.
“If this was a subdivision it wouldn’t be allowed because it doesn’t meet standards for amenity,” he said.
Cr Tricia Jones said council needed to make it clear at VCAT this it was not interested in that type of development.
She said the residents had numerous concerns and fears and the developer had done nothing to allay their fears.
“This is a beautiful location. The developer is proposing 22 cookie cutter developments on the allotment.
“In my opinion this was an over development of the site and doesn’t respect in any way the character of the neighbourhood.
“We need to make a point to VCAT and other developers that plan to give us below par developments that it’s unacceptable to the community and the shire,” she said.
Cr Mikaela Power said one of the resident who submitted to council summed it up best – “we don’t want those houses that close to these trees.”