THE centre of Mentone could be opened up to high-rise development after the state government made a surprise last-minute amendment to Kingston Council’s Mentone Activity Centre Structure Plan backed by councillors in late 2013.
Labor Planning Minister Richard Wynne last week approved the plan but made a crucial change to a mandatory four-storey height limit for Mentone CBD, to be in place until 2030, ruling the height limit be discretionary instead.
Friends of Mentone Train Station Group chairwoman Dorothy Booth found it “outrageous” that the state government effectively overruled council’s four-storey height limit decision made after extensive community consultation.
An independent planning panel hearing submissions from residents, including Ms Booth, before council submitted its Mentone structure plan for state government approval had agreed a four-storey limit was appropriate for central Mentone due to the historic nature of many of the buildings in the area.
“If they do it with Mentone what’s to stop them doing it with Parkdale, Mordialloc and Chelsea?” Ms Booth asked.
Kingston Council had not expected the Labor state government to leave the door open to possible high-rise development in central Mentone.
“Four-storey height limits have been in place in Mentone since 2014, when they were adopted following the recommendation of the independent expert planning panel,” Kingston mayor Cr Tamsin Bearsley said.
“Kingston Council was extremely surprised that discretionary height limits were adopted by the Minister for Planning with no prior consultation with, or notification to, council or the local community.”
It took two years for council to finalise the Mentone Activity Centre Structure Plan.
The Planning Minister did not respond to questions from The News before publication deadline asking why the height limit change was made.