Unit proposal draws ire of residents

Not in our street: Moe residents Luke Mulder, Amanda and Trevor Ball are part of a growing number of locals who do not want to see double story units on the site of this Hawker Street property. photograph liam durkin

LIKE a scene out of The Castle, residents along Hawker Street, Moe, say developers are dreaming if they think double storey units have a place in their neighbourhood.
A band of locals have put forward an objection to Latrobe City Council and are collecting signatures to help strengthen their case.
The planning application under number 2021/149 proposes that the current property on 887 square metres at 11 Hawker Street be demolished to make way for the construction of four new units.
Under the proposal, three of the units will be double-storey, with units one to three comprising of two bedrooms and unit four containing three.
More specifically, unit one will be a single storey two-bedroom mixed cladding unit constructed to the north of the site with a single garage set behind the unit, accessible from the common driveway and will be connected to unit two via a garage party wall. The same set of arrangements are proposed for units three and four.
A cost estimate of $675,000 has been laid out for the project, which saw the application put forward on May 14 this year.
Hawker Street resident Amanda Ball has led a campaign against the proposal, and has submitted an objection to council.
While not opposed to residential development, Ms Ball believed other options would be more
appropriate to the streetscape.
“We would just like to have two single storey units with double car parking put on this property – that is what we would like the end result to be,” she said.
“The bus service is going to be impacted, we worked out that the amount of cars that property could have is 13 and yet there is only five spaces – so where are the other eight cars going to sit? On the nature strip.
“We’ve got younger kids in the street riding their bikes, elderly riding bikes, everybody walks around here, you can’t have them dodging extra cars that are in the street.
“As it stands we are going to continue fighting, we are going to get more petitions in there. We need to be a voice that is heard, unless we do something to try and voice our opinion and try and stop it – if nobody does anything they’ll just do it.”
After moving to Moe from Pakenham a few years ago, the situation is looming as a case of déjà vu for Ms Ball and husband Trevor as they try to avoid the very thing that they came to get away from.
“We moved here to be in the country, we didn’t move here to be back in Pakenham,” Ms Ball said.
“We are a country town. I think people forget that people move from the city to come to the
country, they don’t want to move from the city to come here and live in the same sort of place.”
In the objection to council, points are made surrounding the build which it states is “out of
character for our local area”.
“The local area of which this build will affect, bound by Vale, Wirraway, Langford and Kingsford Street, there are no other (double) storey residential buildings. All dual occupancy units are single storey and have a private outdoor space or secluded private outdoor space,” part of
the objection reads.
“Properties adjoining this development have over seven and 11 metres respectively street set back and whilst this development lists the set back of unit one as three metres, the actual porch is listed at 1.63 metres from the boundary, this is not an existing or preferred neighbourhood character.”
The proposal has suggested that the contemporary style would modernise and enhance the area, something the objection refutes.
“This area is mid-century and nearly all the buildings on our local area reflect this,” it reads.
“Even when the proposal is discussing ‘the several recently constructed homes adjacent to
the property’ these are over 10 years old and follow the mid-century modern guidelines and fit within the neighbourhood character.”
Where things also have the potential to get tricky is from shadows that will be created should the double storey units be built hovering over solar panels of the neighbouring property owned by Luke Mulder.
Although there is still a lot to play out, the residents will be able to negotiate changes with council before a final decision is made.
If they are still not satisfied, they have the option of taking it further with VCAT.
A council spokesperson said it was working through the issue.
“Latrobe City Council is aware of opposition in the community to an application to develop the land at 11 Hawker Street with four dwellings and subdivide into four lots,” the spokesperson said.
“Council received 45 objections to date (Wednesday, August 11) to the application citing concerns around the double storey development, neighbourhood character and potential traffic issues.
“Council continues to communicate with all parties and the matter will be determined at an upcoming council meeting.”