My book The Victorian Planning System: Practice, Problems and Prospects is now available for pre-order.
My book Movie Towns and Sitcom Suburbs is out now through Palgrave Macmillan.
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RCI Planning is my consultancy providing expert advice, VCAT advocacy and statutory planning services in the Victorian planning system.
Tag Archives: clause 101
Amendment Process Streamlined through Wikis
The government has responded to criticism of prolonged planning scheme amendment processes by shifting management of the VPPs and planning schemes to a new website, Wikischemia.
The new system builds on the proposal under Modernising Victoria’s Planning Act to allow amendment proponents to undertake steps in the amendment process. The new process will follow this initiative to its logical conclusion by placing the VPPs and all planning schemes on an online wiki, where users can edit content at will.
“This is an exciting leap into the 21st Century,” said Planning Minister Justin Madden. “It makes the planning system more democratic, responsive, and flexible. If there are new policy challenges, schemes can be updated in minutes. Mistakes and problematic provisions won’t sit in schemes for years without being fixed. Best of all, our tests show a substantial improvement in amendment processing timeframes, with the average length of the amendment process slashed from 20 months to 0.1 seconds, assuming you have broadband.”
Melbourne is set to join the global race to construct the largest non-functional building in an ambitious plan announced by the State Government, spurred on by the opening and then closure of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
That project was opened in January and then closed in February for unspecified reasons. At 828m in height, it claims the title of the world’s largest non-functional building: a glittering prize that the State Government now wants to claim for Melbourne.
Opposition planning spokesman Matthew Guy has argued for the immediate introduction of a 200cm height limit for planning ministers in response to resident concerns about “out of control” ministerial heights.
John Mendoza, partner in respected consultancy Mendoza Planning, launched a blistering attack on the performance and experience of local government planners at a seminar last month, while insisting he valued their contribution to the profession. “Most local government planners are obstructionist, reactionary, poorly educated, and unhelpful,” he said, “but I don’t wish to denigrate them.”
Despite his strong criticism of Council planners, Mendoza was at pains to outline the deep affinity he shared with them. “I am, at heart, a creature of local government,” he said, citing his time as assistant to the junior town clerk at the Hawthorn City Council from 1972 to 1974 as evidence of his commitment to the sector.
Camberwell residents have revealed their plans for the future of the Camberwell Junction precinct after the government ceded all planning powers over the area to a local residents’ group.
The dramatic development came as the government announced a range of fast-tracking measures in response to the Global Financial Crisis. “Now, more than ever, we need to be acting decisively to ensure certainty for jobs and investment,” said Planning Minister Justin Madden. “At such a time the last thing we need to be doing is wasting time with a political black hole like the Camberwell Junction.”
This Christmas season, planners everywhere will face the eternal question: what to buy for the planning nerd who has everything? Once that special planner in your life has all the PIA merchandise, their own copy of ShadowDraw, a scale ruler, and SimCity 4 (with Rush Hour expansion pack), what else is there? Well, we’re here to help.
Premiering on Nine next Month, fresh from its Emmy award-winning debut season in the US, is the hit drama Material Detriment, set in the high stakes, high pressure world of urban planning. The series follows the life – and loves – of planners in a tough inner urban municipality, as they battle petty one-off developers and the larger, more sinister Mendoza Development Group (MDG).
Material Detriment centres on the tumultuous lives of its four leads:
- Senior Planner Jack Detriment (Kiefer Sutherland) is a tough, street-wise planner. Abrasive and argumentative, he is committed to doing whatever it takes to keep his neighbourhood orderly and proper. He has little patience with the pen-pushing bureaucrats who seem to be emerging from Planning Academy, and just wants to get on with clearing the unresolved applications off his books. If he has to bend a few rules to get there, so be it.
- Cadet Planner Dwight Rosewood (Jesse Spencer) is an idealistic rookie planner, straight out of the Academy. He graduated top of his class and his knowledge of the key planning texts is unparalleled. Strongly committed to appropriate statutory process, he is partnered with Detriment in the hope of reigning in his senior officer’s more extreme methods. Out in the “real world” for the first time, he learns a few lessons about life, loyalty… and love.
- Team Leader John Taggart (Brian Dennehy) is the grizzled, cynical head of the branch, and the man responsible for pairing Detriment and Rosewood. Just 6 weeks from retirement, he is constantly exasperated by Detriment’s methods, warning him that one of these days, he’ll have to hand in his ID card. Yet he secretly respects his star officer, grudgingly acknowledging that without him, the branch’s processing times would be much longer. Gunned down in the 2 part series finale.
- Junior Planner Tiffany Summers (Katherine Heigl) is the rising star of the branch, still fighting to make headway in the testosterone-filled halls of the Planning Branch. Raised in an exclusive suburb and the daughter of the Planning Minister, she constantly riles against the assumption that her wealth and connections got her the job, and that she plans on sleeping her way to the top. Her love / hate relationship with Detriment (source of much “will they or won’t they” discussion amongst the series’ fanbase) comes to a head when they attend an interstate Planning conference together.
Plans to reform the parking controls in the Planning Scheme have been thrown into disarray following the extension of the heritage controls to cover Clause 52.06 of Victorian Planning Schemes.
The heritage protection comes after the objectives of the heritage overlay were extended to cover issues of natural, cultural, architectural, social and bureaucratic significance. It represents a win for proponents of the emerging field of administrative heritage.
Roads Minister Tim Pallas has announced that studies will continue to assess the viability of linking the Eastern Freeway with CityLink via a proposed tunnel. The tunnel will run from Collingwood to Flemington, under the Melbourne General Cemetery and via a lost underground civilization of cave-dwelling mole men.
“This is a practical, real-world solution to Melbourne’s traffic problems,” declared Pallas. “There are a lot of people out there who would like to see us pursue all sorts of fantasy-land proposals, like train lines to Cranbourne East and South Morang, or peak hour trains less than 20 minutes apart on the Upfield Line. But we aren’t interested in dreams. We are interested in feasible solutions, like the Collingwood – Moletopia – Flemington link.”
An inner-city dwelling is being held-up as a model for other architects and builders to emulate after it incorporated a number of innovative alternatives to site-responsive design.
The project was inspired by recent designs that super-imposed images of Victorian buildings onto contemporary buildings in heritage streetscapes. “We took that basic design principle to its logical conclusion,” says designer Tony Le Corboxier. “We built a three storey concrete tilt-panel box and etched an image of a well-designed and sensitively sited building onto it.” In a satirical nod to the stuffy, old-fashioned ways of the past, the building chosen as the subject of the etching was the home demolished to make way for the new building.
The new dwelling, called simply “Innovative Brilliance,” was commended upon its completion by architectural commentators, who remarked upon its avoidance of clichéd design elements such as ornamentation, verandahs, parapets, eaves, doors, windows, or architectural merit. “This building has none of those things,” said Le Corboxier. “Architects often talk of thinking outside the box. But that’s defeatist. They just haven’t made the box big enough.”