A planning application was submitted to redevelop the Beacon Lighting site on the corner of Dandenong and Warrigal Roads for 18 stories, which Council rejected, and the decision was appealed at VCAT. An amended application was submitted to VCAT for a 10 story development on the same site. At a special meeting of Council on May 16, Council resolved to accept the revised application with a condition of a further reduction to 8 stories which was consistent with professional advice we received. On 29th June, VCAT made a decision to approve the developers request for 10 stories, rather than support Council’s approval for only 8 stories.
This is yet another example of where VCAT have disregarded Council’s wishes and overruled it in favour of a developer. It is disgraceful that someone sitting behind a desk in an office block in the city continuously acts as if they know what is better for our local community than Council. Our planning officers know our local area, understand resident concerns and amenity, and have a grip on the type of developments that are suitable for our area.
The system HAS to change. VCAT should be instructed to take a default position of supporting Council decisions as long as those decisions have been reasonably made within the Planning Scheme. VCAT should also be directed to only overrule Council where it is obvious that they have made a decision that is clearly unreasonable and outside the bounds of its roles and responsibilities.
I urge all residents to contact their local State MP and ask them to advocate for wholesale changes to the VCAT system before our suburbs end up being destroyed by developers. This has to stop before it is too late, if it is not too late already.