Casey Council's C198 amendment: Prioritising council & developers and not residents.

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SAY NO to:

  • Prioritising council and developers interests over the local community voice
  • Rezoning the local areas to provide developers with more power to build 3-4 storey buildings in our friendly family community
  • Overcrowding the local area with smaller houses and less freedom to maintain ‘country feel’ living
  • Overdevelopment that will impact on the welfare, wellbeing, and safety in and around our local community.

Don’t destroy the history and identifying features that makes the City of Casey a great place to grow, learn, and live. Once we destroy the character of the city, we cannot rebuild it.

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In addition the following objection has been raised alongside the above arguments.

...we are writing to you in response to the Amendment of C198 rezoning proposal by the council, in a letter dated the 31st October 2017. Amendment C198 from the provided documentation is the council’s response to the growing population in and around the City of Casey municipality, estimated to surpass 36,000 by the year 2031 (Housing Strategy, 2016, pg. 13). In recent years, the affordability of housing and accessibility to jobs and transport has been of great concern, and the council hopes that the amendments to C198 will seek to rectify these issues.


The objection is to the rezoning and strategic basis for rezoning outlined in the entirety of C198, particularly with respect to areas previously zoned GRZ now zoned RGZ3, such as the north side of XX , in virtue of the proposed expansion of the commercial precinct north of the Princes Highway. The basis is that it materially prejudices the character of affected streets and the livability for existing residents
in local areas, erases the established character of the community and has not adequately consulted the community or adequate research in accordance with Ministerial Direction 16. It seems to these residents that the City of Casey are aligned to prioritize the interests of commercial developers first and residents a
distant second, as evidenced by the considerable imbalance and absence of adequate consultation.

It is understood that some consultation was undertaken during the drafting of the Housing Strategy 2015, however our area was not consulted with respect to it as at that time our area was zoned as GRZ and not proximate to any high-development precinct. As of the proposed rezoning under C198, our street is now a border of an RGZ enclave north of XX, and as such, any proposed high-rise or high-density
housing developments will directly affect the character of our home and that of our neighbours. The infrastructure of our street is barely adequate to serve its existing needs and will not cope with additional demands. The only justification offered for this development is that due to the expansion of the “activity centre” north of the Princes Highway, our area is now within 400m of this zone and thus an area for
targeted “higher density residential development”. We contend that this rezoning and any such development is inappropriate and based on an inadequately surveyed basis of factual demand and resident intent.


Amendment C198 cites Housing Strategy, City of Casey, 2017. The Housing Strategy 2016 (as amended 6/9/2016) is the most recent document locatable with respect to a City of Casey housing strategy to the document of this citation; no more recent document appears avaliable on the City of Casey’s website. This Housing Strategy (City of Casey, p. 12) states “The 2013 State of Supply Report emphasises that housing stock is heavily weighted towards detached dwellings, rather than smaller dwellings like townhouses, units and apartments and that there needs to be more of these dwelling types to provide genuine choice.” The 2013 State of Supply Report (NHSC, p. 20) states that “when budget constraints and other trade-of s are considered, the prevalence of that preference [for large detached housing located
near the city, shops and family] diminishes, with many switching their preference to higher-density housing.”


The State of Supply Report cites a single source for its claim: Kelly, J.F., Weidmann, B., and Walsh, M., 2011, The Housing We’d Choose, Grattan Institute, Melbourne. This paper conducted an online survey intending to represent the populations of Melbourne and Sydney, a combined population of 7.877 million, on the subject of a mismatch between housing type demand and supply. With 572 respondents to this
survey (Kelly, Weidmann & Walsh, page 41), it is dubious to believe that this is a sufficiently large sample size to represent such a large population for such a relatively small effect.


The 95% confidence interval for a population of 7.877 million and sample size of 572 people gives a margin of error of 4.1%, which is greater than most of the effect sizes noted on page 20 of the Grattan Institute’s report. Casey is represented by Melbourne Zones 3 (Cranbourne, Hallam) and 4 (Berwick, South Casey) in the survey (Grattan, pg. 50) and all results for non-detached housing are within or
extremely close to margin of error. Non-detached housing is the type the City of Casey is describing in its Housing Strategy as requiring more thereof.
It is also to be noted that this survey represents a diverse population of 7.877 million people in two states, and not in any strict or discriminating manner the 299,301 residents of the City of Casey – over 96% of the represented population are not from the City of Casey and there is no evidence any of the respondents
in this survey are Casey residents either. The Grattan paper does not provide better granularity than its four archetype zones and thus its results cannot be differentiated from those applying to surrounding areas, such as Frankston and Mornington, and entirely unrelated areas, such as Nillumbik and Whittlesea (Grattan, p. 50).


The City of Casey also presents the Housing Market Assessment conducted by Charter Keck Cramer (City of Casey, pp. 15-16). This report merely notes that the “proportion of townhouses, units and apartments is... significantly lower than for the rest of the Metropolitan area”. This Assessment actually notes that most Australian households “still prefer a detached house” and that in most parts of Casey
“detached houses are still relatively affordable” - further, that “developers will sometimes have difficulty securing finance to develop more intensive housing in the outer suburbs.” The Assessment considered three scenarios but the City of Casey, without explaining any basis for doing so, simply express the assumption that Scenario 3 – that there will be “a further trend towards medium density housing and in particular townhouses” - “most closely aligns with what is likely to occur over the next 15-20 years”.


As neither the State of Supply Report nor the Housing Strategy point to any other figures corroborating the Grattan Institute’s claim, and its commissioned Housing Market Assessment presents its final conclusion with no apparent evidence, it must be concluded that the City of Casey has failed to adequately research its Housing Strategy as directed by Ministerial Direction 16 and its claim that “there needs to be more of these dwelling types to provide genuine choice” rests on a dubious factual basis.
There is no evidence that the City of Casey has conducted or taken into consideration any similar such examination of its own population, whether current or anticipated.


Clause 21.07-1 of the Casey Planning Scheme as proposed by Amendment C198 states that the City of Casey’s form will be that of a “generally suburban environment, punctuated by dynamic ‘urban’ activity centres” and “framed with a non-urban area that consists of landscapes of agricultural, natural, cultural and heritage significance, that combine with the suburban areas to form the overall image of Casey as having a ‘country feel, city living’ [sic.] character.” Let the councillors be under no illusions that high-density housing developments proximate to or directly within existing detached residential areas contribute in no wise to a ‘country feel’ for local residents, and unless there are substantial accompanying
infrastructural augmentations, such as at interfaces between highways and local roads in the proposed RGZ3, will not accommodate any kind of ‘city living’ beyond dramatic local traffic congestion as residential density increases.

Furthermore, Clause 21.01-3 acknowledges that “the biological diversity of the City [of Casey] is in a state of decline, primarily from residential, industrial and agricultural development pressures”, and further that “the resultant land use impacts have reduced the pre-settlement biodiversity of the municipality to about 7 per cent [sic.] of its former extent”. This is a strange claim when the recent Bunjil Place
development excavated and destroyed wetland habitat, and the Victor Crescent wetland precinct has commercial development to within mere metres. It is strange then that the council should be concerning itself with only the land impacts of ‘recreational’ users when the primary impact on biodiverse habitat
destruction is residential and commercial development.
The City of Casey should reject or delay this amendment until more local research and explicit community consultation has been performed, including community forums. Now that Bunjil Place exists, there is certainly no longer an enduring case to be made that the City of Casey lacks the facilities to conduct such fora any longer.

Sincerely,

City of Casey resident

 



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