By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Residents are riled by a council recommendation to introduce townhouses into their idyllic single-storey neighbourhood in Endeavour Hills.
A Casey Council planning officer has recommended the proposal for three double-storey townhouses at at 10 Haverstock Hill Close, despite 16 public objections.
One of the objectors Ranleigh Moldrich lives in the quiet, mainly single-storey street.
The neighbourhood, lined with native trees, gardens as well as public reserves, has so far been untouched by townhouses or subdivisions.
But this project’s approval may be the “thin edge of the wedge”, Mr Moldrich says.
He and his neighbours fear that more houses will clog the street with cars as well as an already overburdened sewer that has flowed into his garden.
“The sewerage has had to be cleared three times in five years. I don’t think it will be able to take it.”
His son Matthew Moldrich says the proponent’s application was riddled with errors, including several times referring to the proposed units as single-storey.
He argued that the council has misapplied its own housing guidelines.
The neighbourhood is beyond 800 metres from the Endeavour Hills Major Activity Centre – a zone set aside for ‘incremental change’ in Casey’s Housing Strategy.
In its planning report, Casey Council states the site is “within walking distance” – within 1.6 kilometres – of Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre.
It also notes bus routes within “reasonable proximity”, as well as Chalcot Lodge Primary School about 300 metres away.
According to the council, the proposal was consistent with the Casey Planning Scheme, including the General Residential 1 Zone.
“As such, it is not considered an overdevelopment of the land.
“The proposal aligns with the intended change in (neighbourhood) character.”
The report noted just three multi-dwelling developments within 180 metres away. They were in nearby streets but not in Haverstock Hill Close.
The council report dismissed concerns about creating a precedent for medium and high-density development in the street.
“An application must be considered on its own merits with consideration of the site context and requirements in the Planning Scheme at the time.
“Council cannot comment on any sewer issues as it is under the authority of South-East Water.”
Casey statutory planning and compliance head Nick Moore said the council considered the proposal “in line with the relevant planning provisions”.
The council issued a Notice of Decision to grant a permit, with all parties having 28 days to lodge an appeal at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
“If no appeal is lodged, a permit will subsequently be issued.”