Thanks for your email. I will ask Officers to formally respond to your two questions, as I am a Councillor, and can respond from that perspective but given urban planning is quite complex and detailed, I'd like to ensure you get an authoritative professional response too.
My responses to your two queries are below:
1) What is the process for which developers can ignore the height control? http://services.land.vic.gov.au/maps/pmo.jsp
Moreland City Council has sought, more than once, to have the Vic Planning Minister to approve height limits, but the Minister has not approved these, thus the preferred heights are the guide to developers and Planning Officers.
Many developers/proponents do often seek to build something beyond the preferred heights. In some cases officers, under delegation may approve an application above the preferred heights, but usually refer these to the PARM - Planning and Related Matters Committee of MCC. This gives Councillors the role of deciding, with officer advice, on the application.
I cannot say for certain, but the pattern has been, in the past two years of my time as a Councillor, that the PARM may approve a proposal above the preferred heights, but only when the other features of the development have high standards and outcomes. These may include aspects such as, high Environmental Sustainable Design (ESD) proivisions (high thermal ratings, solar passive design, water capture use/re-use, accessibility and visitiabliity, internal amenity and so on ...)
Without specific height limits, we are not able to maintain an absolute height in any of our planning zones.
2) Is Moreland Council committed to the height control rule?
Re the street width and street wall height, when one stands on the street opposite the proposed building, one should not necessarily be able to see the top of the building, only the 3 or 4th level (referred to as the street wall height). There are other technical terms and principles that come into play but these are some of the major/common features that are considered by Planners when they assess proposals under Victoria's Planning system.
I refer to this type of system, the Vic planning system, as a 'post modern' system. That is, there very few absolutes in the scheme, and hundreds of variables which can be adjusted and moved depending upon the other variables proposed.
I hope the officers can explain this better than my attempts above Claire.
Finally, just to alert you to the fact that, Moreland City Council does not rely upon the Planning Alerts system to communicate with our residents, as it is controlled by a third party. I would encourage you to use Council's online, public tools and access points. These are on the MCC website.
Thanks for taking the time to get in touch.
Cr Mark Riley South Ward I Moreland City Council 90 Bell Street, Coburg. 3058 m: +61 499 807 044 e: https://www.facebook.com/MarkRileyGreens/
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