■ 10 Turkeith Crescent, Glen Waverley
This ‘knock down / rebuild’ project involved the demolition of an existing house on a site within a heritage overlay and replacement with very contemporary dwellings. Demolition of existing buildings within an heritage overlay can be a complex application but the proposal is made simpler if the building is not designated as ‘contributory’ under the overlay.
The existing house was a non-contributory property to the significance of the heritage area and its removal was not contentious. However Council had concerns with the contemporary replacement build and were not supportive of a modern architecture response within the overlay. To compound this, the proposal required a new second crossover and driveway and the removal of a council street tree.
Our team engaged a reputable local heritage consultant to work with the architect and the client to identify the important elements of the heritage precinct and incorporate these features into the design of the new homes. This included a varying schedule of external finishes and window treatments that were common in the neighbourhood. We also successfully negotiated with council’s parks department to replace the street tree with two high quality evergreen trees in alternate locations within the nature strip. The result was a design that incorporated softer finishes to offset the contemporary design and was ultimately supported.
■ 2031 Malvern Road, Malvern
This contemporary three townhouse development on a corner site was designed by an award winning Melbourne architect with four bedrooms per dwelling with each dwelling having a roof top garden accessible from the main living area. The homes are a reverse living arrangement with bedrooms at the ground floor and main living areas on the upper floor.
Malvern has become a popular suburb for knock down, rebuild projects but when the redevelopment increases the number of houses on the lot from one to three then a planning permit is required. This provides Council a strong influence on the design outcome and in this case they were not supportive of the application on the basis that it was inconsistent with the established neighbourhood character. This was deeply upsetting and confusing for our clients because they had seen a number of redevelopments in their street that were directly comparable to what they wanted to build.
Rooftop terraces are an extremely contentions aspect of any design because of the inherent privacy impacts on the neighbours. They attract objections from the direct neighbours and require a proactive approach to ensure the design presents no overlooking impacts prior to the application being lodged with council. This proactive approach was evident in the application lodged with council and they were satisfied that the amenity impacts had been carefully considered. In tandem with this we were able to demonstrate to council that this area was undergoing a period of development transition and the neighbourhood character was evolving to a more compact city style living arrangement. These measures combined resulted in a successful application to council.
■ 20 Cadby Avenue, Ormond
This project involved the demolition of the existing house and construction of four bespoke townhouses on a site of under 700 square metres. Each house included a self-contained double garage within a basement car park. House one consisted of five bedrooms with each of the remaining homes being four bedroom.
The development was seeking to provide a more compact living arrangement while still retaining a more suburban character than typical apartment style living. Each house had it’s own front door at ground level and because of the number of bedrooms per home, the development had quite a ‘robust’ built form coupled with compromised vehicular access within the basement in a council designated flood plain. The basement car park also required the removal of trees within a neighbouring property for the development to be viable.
Successful planning applications are often the result of good negotiations and in this case our team consulted with the neighbour to secure a written confirmation that they supported the tree removal from their property to accommodate the basement. We appointed a reputable traffic engineer to work with the architects to design a ramp access to the basement that would prevent flood water entering the garages and through carefully considered design techniques we were able to successfully lodge a design that met all the requisite Rescode standards and was ultimately approved.
■ 1 Wolai Ave, Bentleigh East
This project consisted of demolition of the existing house on the corner lot and replacement with two contemporary four bedroom houses.
The architect was proposing a modern design response with newer style exterior finishes on a site within the ‘minimal change’ area of Glen Eira City Council. The level of change proposed by the development was not accepted by council in the pre application meeting discussions.
Our experts collaborated with the architect on an updated schedule of finishes that met the clients brief and were more accepted by council. Although we had to go VCAT to dispute some of the conditions council applied to the final approval, the development was permitted in May 2017.
■ 22 Ireland Street,
This project involved the removal of two houses and redevelopment of the land for nine townhouses including the removal of 35 native trees from a site within a significant landscape overlay and attracted 33 objections from local residents.
The site was densely vegetated when the project begun in 2015 and the CS team firstly appointed a reputable local arborist to document the location, size and designate a retention value to each tree. The development required the removal of a high number of native trees within an area where planning controls restrict vegetation removal.
By engaging an arborist before the design was developed it allowed the architect to design around the highest value trees and we were able to demonstrate this to Council and objectors. Although the proposal did still require the removal of thirty five native trees, our diligent approach was accepted favourably by council and it was supported.
■ 29 Walter Street,
This project consisted of demolition of the existing house and replacement with two large French Provincial style dwellings. Monash City Council were not supportive of the application but ultimately the development was approved by VCAT in April 2017.
Council had a broad range of issues with the design including building mass, neighbourhood character and lack of landscaping opportunities. One of the key reasons Monash refused the application was due to the introduction of a second driveway for the site for the front dwelling. Council’s assessment was that two driveways resulted in excessive concrete within the front setback and would destroy the suburban front garden setting of the site.
Our experts worked with the architect to develop a permeable paving design response for the driveway to demonstrate the willingness of the landowner to work with council to balance their competing objectives. In the VCAT hearing we tabled a number of photographs of developments within the street that included large sections of concrete within their front setback. We argued that council’s policies about garden settings must be balanced against what can be seen as a person walks along the street. The VCAT member concurred that our changes to the plans made the development a good outcome and in May 2017 ordered that the council’s decision be overturned and a permit issued.
■ 127 Power Street,
This 10 house development occupies a strategic development site within walking distance to the junction between Burwood Road and Power Street. It was particularly contentions due to its close proximity to nearby residential interfaces.
The site had been subject to a previous VCAT appeal that resulted in a three storey apartment style development of twenty nine units being refused on numerous grounds. Objectors were spurred on by this decision in pursuing another refusal for the new application to develop the site for 10 standalone houses.
Our experts were cognisant of the extent of issues with the rejected application and so had to focus on developing a much more tempered design response in the new application. The result was a much more balanced outcome that achieved the developer’s desired yield and presented a much more acceptable outcome to council and the adjoining residents that was ultimately approved.
■ 3 Capital Avenue,
This project consisted of demolition of the existing house and replacement with two large French Provincial style dwellings. Monash City Council were not supportive of the application but ultimately the development was approved by VCAT in October 2018.
Glen Waverley has become a popular suburb for knock down, rebuild projects but when the redevelopment increases the number of houses on the lot from one to two then a planning permit is required. This provides Council a strong influence on the design outcome and in this case they were not supportive of the application on the basis that it was inconsistent with the established neighbourhood character. This was deeply upsetting and confusing for our clients because they had seen a number of single houses redevelopments in their street that were directly comparable to what they wanted to build.
Following the council refusal we were engaged to prepare and appear at a VCAT hearing for our clients. VCAT have a much broader view of defining neighbourhood character and attach a lot of weight to the emerging character of a street when assessing whether a new development respects this character. Our experts were able to effectively demonstrate to the tribunal that the development was consistent with the emerging character and on this basis the refusal was overturned and the development approved.
■ 384 Dandenong Road,
This project involved the demolition of the existing house and construction of seven replacement houses with a basement car park and direct access to a highway.
The site had sensitive interfaces on both sides and the impacts of overshadowing, overlooking and visual bulk to these interfaces had to be carefully mitigated to ensure a successful application. The site was also located on a main road and required a carefully designed basement ramp and passing bay to earn support from VicRoads.
Our expert team consulted with the architect to ensure the development ‘stepped down’ with the topography of the land and removed the top storey from the last townhouse to resolve the building bulk impact on the property to the rear. We engaged a reputable traffic engineer to design the ramp access and passing bay area at the front of the site to ensure it met with VicRoads requirements and Australian Standards.
■ 13 Alfred Grove,
This dual occupancy project is a typical knockdown rebuild project where the former single storey house was being removed and replaced with two contemporary houses in a side by side arrangement.
The architect realised that Monash City Council have a policy of discouraging double crossover arrangements to single lots. Council also rejected the ‘mirror image’ design and advised the architect that the site was only large enough for one house.
The experts at CS pointed out to Council the wide frontage and shallow depth of the lot as the rationale behind the side by side design. When the overall building area was compared to the remaining garden area on the site, council accepted the site was large enough to build two houses and the crossovers would be separated by a large section of nature strip. Adopting a number of subtle design techniques such as varying setbacks across the frontage, differing window shapes and alternate front porch arrangements to each dwelling addressed councils concerns about the ‘mirror image’ design and the planning permit was approved in February 2019.