New draft design standards

The Better Apartments project is a joint initiative of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA).
Draft Design Standards
In August 2016, the Victorian Government released Better Apartments Draft Design Standards for public consultation. Consultation on the draft standards closed on 19 September 2016. The feedback received will help government finalise the standards later this year.
http://delwp.vic.gov.au/planning/policy-and-strategy/better-apartments?remap=delwp.vic.gov.au/better-apartments

Vanessa Bird, president of the Victorian chapter, told ArchitectureAU that while some of the government’s initiatives add to liveability, the Institute believes draft standards “haven’t gone far enough.”
“Minimum metric standards are really about weeding out the worst of the worst,” she said. “It’s like all regulation, it’s about weeding out what’s at the bottom and you balance that with allowing some flexibility and innovation though a parallel process that allows design excellence. That’s always been our position.” http://architectureau.com/articles/victorias-draft-apartment-standards-released/

Apartment rules overhaul: still tiny but at least they’ll have windows by Aisha Dow
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/new-apartment-standards-for-windows-ceiling-heights-but-not-floor-size-20160812-gqropx.html

New rules for better apartments in Victoria by Nick Lenaghan
http://www.afr.com/real-estate/new-rules-for-better-apartments-in-victoria-20160812-gqriai

Of course, many developers think the apartment rules overhaul is a draconian imposition on developer rights.

Submissions to the BADDS are public. Salta’s submission to the DELWP:

01_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_102_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_203_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_304_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_405_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_506_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_607_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_708_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_809_salta-submission-to-delwp_page_9

Future-eye report to Minister

Below is the consultant report for DELWP from the consultation held on the 15th October. This report was forwarded on  21st November – the day before the Yarra City Council Meeting. According to the consultant, 70% of the attendees were firmly opposed to both Options A and B. The consultant then recommends the adoption of Option B.

Of particular note is the letter from Bicycle Network to Urbis, which is in direct contrast to their earlier position that: “the riders from the Main Yarra Trail, Walmer Bridge and the switchback ramp are all funnelled into a small area – this creates a worrying conflict zone given the volume of riders as well as pedestrians and the disabled passing through the area”; and “The switchback ramp as a connection from the bridge level (Lower Plaza) to Walmer Plaza significantly reduces the level of service for riders as they will now have to navigate through a tight angled ramp. The switchback angles through this section will make it difficult for bike riders to pass each other coming in opposite directions and the Landscape plan even refers to it as a ‘pedestrian ramp’. There is currently a switchback ramp in place connecting the Main Yarra Trail to Walmer Street, however this was built a number of years ago to a now outdated standard and is unacceptable in 2016.”

Other bicycle user groups, pedestrians and disabled people who actually use the Main Yarra Trail would certainly dispute that the longer legs on the descent section of the shared bike/pedestrian paths are unlikely to be bothersome to path users.

We would also like to point out that the statement made in the late report by Council Officers, after considering these options, that: “Both schemes propose 3.1m wide paths. In areas along the embankment and within the Plaza, this is not a concern as space can be borrowed from the land abutting the path”  is misleading, as all the paths will need safety railings  on the downward side of the path due to the steepness of the embankment, and the land on the upward side will slope up. Where precisely are people supposed to “borrow space” from?  We are talking about 22m of sloping riverbank, which is apparently going to contain about 15m of switchback paths and 5m landscaping. Part of the proposed path runs under the building and so close to a cafe that cyclists can reasonably expect to crash into chairs and tables, as well as pedestrians.

It would really be a great relief to all people, both cyclists and pedestrians, who actually use the Main Yarra Trail, and Walmer Street, if people who seem never to have been to the area, and have not considered any proper 3D cross sections of the area, would stop making incorrect and misleading statements.

Absolutely no mention is made of the increased wind effects from the two nine/ten level buildings on either side of Walmer Street. The consultants report for wind effects created by 647-649 stated that they would be uncomfortable for walking. What will happen when the Park House is added to the mix? The two huge buildings on either side, creating a concrete canyon/wind tunnel, are certainly going to negatively affect pedestrians, cyclists and the river environment.
01_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0102_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0203_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0304_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0405_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0506_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0607_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0708_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0809_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_0910_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1012_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1213_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1314_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1416_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1617_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1719_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_1921_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_2122_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_2223_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_2324_161025-futureye-engagement-report-v-2-0_page_24

Council Meeting results

Extract from minutes of Yarra City Council – Ordinary Meeting of Council Minutes
held on Tuesday 22 November 2016 at 7.00pm Richmond Town Hall (extract dealing with Walmer Street;  full minutes here:http://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/your-council/meetings/2016-council-meetings/ )

*We note that this statement contained in the minutes below : “Council also notes the constraints on the design of a plaza by the VCAT approved basement entry from the development on the east side of Walmer Street”; is not in accordance with our understanding of the VCAT decision, in which the Tribunal stated that they “have no jurisdiction regarding issues affecting Walmer Plaza, and they do not form any part of the consideration of the proposal for 647-649.”
Attendance
Councillors
• Cr Amanda Stone (Mayor)
• Cr Mi-Lin Chen Yi Mei
• Cr Misha Coleman
• Cr Jackie Fristacky
• Cr Stephen Jolly
• Cr Mike McEvoy
• Cr Daniel Nguyen
• Cr James Searle
Apology
• Cr Danae Bosler
Council officers
• Vijaya Vaidyanath (Chief Executive Officer)
• Ivan Gilbert (Group Manager – CEO’s Office)
• Andrew Day (Director – Corporate, Business and Finance)
• Chris Leivers (Director – Community Wellbeing)
• Bruce Phillips (Director – Planning and Place Making)
• Jane Waldock (Assistant Director – Planning and Place making)
• Guy Wilson-Browne (Director – City Works and Assets)
• Joanne Murdoch (Group Manager – Advocacy and Engagement)
• Fred Warner (Group Manager – People, Culture and Community)
• Mel Nikou (Governance Officer)

Minutes Page 22
Yarra City Council – Ordinary Meeting of Council Minutes – Tuesday 22 November 2016
11.9 Development Plan Application No. DP1500043 – Walmer Street/ Bridge Design –
late report
Trim Record Number: D16/163830
Responsible Officer: Manager Statutory Planning
RECOMMENDATION
1. That Council note the officer report on the referral matter from the Department of
Environment, Land, Water and Planning regarding the development plan application for the connections and interface works of the proposed Walmer Street plaza with the Walmer
Street bridge design.
2. That Council note the engagement with the community on 15 October, 2016 and other
comments that have been provided to Councillors and the Yarra City Council.
3. That Council note that the opportunity to comment relates to proposed changes to relevant approvals by the then Minister for Planning in 2007, and that the Responsible Authority to determine the current proposed modifications by Salta (as the proponent), is the Minister for Planning.
4. That Council resolve to respond to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and
Planning with the following comments, suggestions and requests in respect to both options presented:
(a) Option A – comments:
(i) the steps adjacent the bicycle switchback should be set back a minimum of 1m
from the edge of the bicycle switchback to minimise conflict and maximise sight
lines;
(ii) opportunities should be provided for minimising the paved areas to provide
additional soft landscaping opportunities; and
(iii) that there be an extension of the shared path on Walmer Plaza to connect with
the switchback; and
(b) Option B – comments:
(i) combine the paths west of the bridge to minimise the path space along the
embankment to maximise landscaping opportunities;
(c) Comments applicable to both options:
(i) preparation of a Design Road Safety Audit to assess all movements along the
shared paths including along the Bridge/Plaza / Yarra Embankment and Victoria
Street;
(ii) consider relocating the basement car ramps to the western side of Walmer Plaza
in order to create further plaza space to the eastern side of the plaza;
(iii) access into the Walmer Street basement car ramps to have a raised threshold
level with the footpath;
(iv) the extension of the Walmer Street Bridge widened to a minimum width of 3.5m;
(v) the shared path between the basement car ramp and the building of No. 647
Victoria Street to have a minimum width of 3.5m;
(vi) all shared paths to be delineated within Walmer Plaza through materiality and
kept free of any obstructions such as planters, outdoor seating and the like;
(vii) basement ramp entries to Walmer Plaza to show clear lines of sight for exiting
vehicles and pedestrians;
Minutes Page 23
Yarra City Council – Ordinary Meeting of Council Minutes – Tuesday 22 November 2016
(viii) Walmer Plaza must be designed to support a 60 tonne point load from a mobile
crane;
(ix) location of the sections of the main drain through Walmer Plaza to be retained
and those to be relocated to be clearly shown, including the location of access
pits;
(x) access pits must not be located within or in front of the basement ramp entry
points;
(xi) a drain diversion design (subject to Council approval) must be submitted to
Council’s satisfaction. All costs associated with the drain diversion shall be borne
by the permit holder;
(xii) a lighting scheme is to be designed for Walmer Plaza; this must comply with
uniformity requirements as per the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1158.3.1:2005.
Lighting for roads and public spaces – Pedestrian area (Category P) lighting –
Performance and design requirements; and
(xiii) the revised landscape plan to include the following information:
a. cross-sections of the ramp access to assess opportunities for maximising
trees and vegetation plantings; and
b. details of surface materials to the satisfaction of the City of Yarra,
That these details should be required in addition to the information already outlined in
Council’s response to the application provided on 18 May 2016.
Public Submissions
The following people addressed Council on the matter:
Mr Mike Malone;
Mr Lloyd Elliott;
Mr Troy Parsons;
Ms Glennys Jones;
Ms Sue Donovan;
Mr Greg Spark; and
Ms Jane Toner.
COUNCIL RESOLUTION
Moved: Councillor Stone Seconded: Councillor Jolly
1. That Council note the officer report on the referral matter from the Department of
Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) regarding the development plan
application for the connections and interface works of the proposed Walmer Street plaza with the Walmer Street bridge design.
2. That Council note the engagement with the community on 15 October, 2016 and other
comments that have been provided to Councillors and the Yarra City Council. Council also
notes that the significant majority of attendees at that engagement forum were not satisfied with either Option A nor Option B, and the unanimous request of that group that DELWP convene a working party of stakeholders to address the shortcomings of both options.
3. That Council advise DELWP that neither Option A nor Option B in its current form is
acceptable.
4. That Council note that the opportunity to comment relates to proposed changes to relevant approvals by the then Minister for Planning in 2007, and that the Responsible Authority to determine the current proposed modifications by Salta (as the proponent), is the Minister for Planning. Council also notes the constraints on the design of a plaza by the VCAT approved basement entry from the development on the east side of Walmer Street.
5. That Council resolve to respond to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and
Planning with the following comments, suggestions and requests in respect to both options presented:
(a) Option A – comments:
(i) the steps adjacent the bicycle switchback should be set back a minimum of 1m
from the edge of the bicycle switchback to minimise conflict and maximise sight
lines;
(ii) opportunities should be provided for minimising the paved areas to provide
additional soft landscaping opportunities; and
(iii) that there be an extension of the shared path on Walmer Plaza to connect with
the switchback; and
(b) Option B – comments:
(i) combine the paths west of the bridge to minimise the path space along the
embankment to maximise landscaping opportunities;
(c) Comments applicable to both options:
(i) preparation of a Design Road Safety Audit to assess all movements along the
shared paths including along the Bridge/Plaza / Yarra Embankment and Victoria
Street;
(ii) consider relocating the basement car ramps to the western side of Walmer Plaza
in order to create further plaza space to the eastern side of the plaza;
(iii) access into the Walmer Street basement car ramps to have a raised threshold
level with the footpath;
(iv) the extension of the Walmer Street Bridge widened to a minimum width of 3.5m;
(v) the shared path between the basement car ramp and the building of No. 647
Victoria Street to have a minimum width of 3.5m;
(vi) all shared paths to be delineated within Walmer Plaza through materiality and
kept free of any obstructions such as planters, outdoor seating and the like;
(vii) basement ramp entries to Walmer Plaza to show clear lines of sight for exiting
vehicles and pedestrians;
(viii) Walmer Plaza must be designed to support a 60 tonne point load from a mobile
crane;
(ix) location of the sections of the main drain through Walmer Plaza to be retained
and those to be relocated to be clearly shown, including the location of access
pits;
(x) access pits must not be located within or in front of the basement ramp entry
points;
(xi) a drain diversion design (subject to Council approval) must be submitted to
Council’s satisfaction. All costs associated with the drain diversion shall be borne
by the permit holder;
(xii) a lighting scheme is to be designed for Walmer Plaza; this must comply with
uniformity requirements as per the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1158.3.1:2005.
Lighting for roads and public spaces – Pedestrian area (Category P) lighting –
Performance and design requirements; and
(xiii) the revised landscape plan to include the following information:
a. cross-sections of the ramp access to assess opportunities for maximising
trees and vegetation plantings; and
Minutes Page 25
Yarra City Council – Ordinary Meeting of Council Minutes – Tuesday 22 November 2016
b. details of surface materials to the satisfaction of the City of Yarra,
That these details should be required in addition to the information already outlined in Council’s response to the application provided on 18 May 2016.
6. That Council request that DELWP convene a working group including community and
officer stakeholders from both the Yarra and Boroondara City Councils to provide further
input into the detail of a final improved design that addresses all concerns raised, for the
Minister for Planning’s further consideration before approval of a final design; and that the advice of a bicycle network expert be engaged during the final design.
7. That Walmer Street is not described as a Plaza following redevelopment and should continue to be called Walmer Street to reflect its intended use as a thoroughfare.
CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

Town Hall meeting – quick summary

Professor Michael Buxton spoke at the meeting, and articulated what many of us living in Yarra already know.

Professor Buxton has been a long term advocate for livability in planning:

“A metropolitan plan should begin with a city’s great assets and protect them.”
“The interests of big retailers, road builders and developers are not necessarily ours. That’s why we need government.”

“Heritage becomes incredibly important for liveability,”

“If you pull down a highly valued heritage city and turn it into a city full of tiny apartments nobody in the city actually wants, it won’t cater to people in the city.

“If you replace a high amenity heritage city with a low amenity city with high rise canyons then that will reduce the liveability of the city dramatically and alienate a large number of people.”   Professor Michael Buxton

Articles by Professor Buxton:

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/this-is-not-a-plan-it-is-a-hoax-driven-by-money-20131009-2v8hi.html

http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/melbourne-could-be-stripped-of-worlds-most-liveable-city-title/news-story/ddbf4d3fc99491fbdb6cf2a433a60ab5

A number of Yarra resident groups as well as local councillors met at this meeting to discuss increasing concerns with inappropriate over-development of Yarra, and the consequent loss of amenity for all residents, including future residents.
A number of resolutions were presented to be submitted to the Council on 22nd November,
including :
Protection for historic shopping strips and streets
Interim height and setback controls in mixed-use zones
Affordable community housing and  public housing protection and increase
An increased open space contribution from developers which is in keeping with the size of developments
The appointment of a heritage officer and the banning of developer contributions to political parties and politicians

The resolutions formed will be presented to Council at the meeting on 22nd November.