VCAT gives green light

30 Kramer Drive, Berwick. 390704_01

By Emma Xerri

Two side by side dwellings have been approved for Berwick’s Kramer Drive, despite opposition from the City of Casey.

The proposal, granted by Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) member Sarah McDonald, was seeking approval for two three-storey side by side dwellings at 30 Kramer Drive, including a garage to be cut into the site.

The council originally refused the permit on the grounds of “overdevelopment [and] neighbourhood character”, claiming the appearance of the proposed development would create “excessive visual bulk”.

They also claimed the proposed development lacked sufficient landscaping to allow the property to fit in with the neighbourhood character, which predominantly comprises double-storey detached houses with significant frontal landscaping.

Ms McDonald ruled, on 19 February, that the council placed too much emphasis on maintaining the existing character of the area, and that respecting character does not mean preventing change.

Moreover, she maintained that the character of the area would change as housing growth occurs.

While Ms McDonald acknowledged issues relating to landscaping, she did not believe these issues were significant enough to deem the proposal unacceptable.

Instead, she mandated changes to the proposal to ensure that the scale and visual impact were a more acceptable fit within the streetscape.

These changes included increasing the setback of the balcony and front wall on the top floor of the dwellings, and maximising the landscaping space between the two driveways and along the side boundaries.

She also required the width of the driveways and garage doors be reduced to single car width.

Amended plans incorporating these required changes must be submitted to and approved by the council before development starts.