FBA response to FMAC – Precincts 1A and 1B

In this submission, Frankston Beach Association (FBA) wishes to comment and respond on Precinct 1B between Nepean Highway, the beach and Kananook Creek. 

Our beautiful coastline is our greatest asset and we believe that the Guidelines do not consider the waterfront character; what they facilitate is a super urbanised concept superimposed on a seaside municipality.

When reflecting on the status of Frankston as an Activity Centre these Guidelines should follow Geelong’s example and reduce heights to lower levels and provide sufficient setbacks; 32 metres is not a sensitive response to a coastal or creek environment.

Geelong, which is the only other designated Activity Centre with a coastal aspect has complied with Planning Note 60, the Victorian Government’s guide to the drafting of Structure Plans for Activity Centres.  To its disadvantage Frankston has ignored Planning Note 60 and has produced Guidelines that don’t enhance and promote a seaside town; for example

Schedule 1 to the Geelong Activity Centre Zone states

  • To ensure Geelong remains an international waterfront city, with world-class facilities.
  • To respect the waterfront character and avoid dominating the waterfront character through excessive bulk and unarticulated built form.”

Schedule 17 to the design and development overlay –

  • To ensure built form shares key views….and maintains the general step down of built form to Corio Bay
  • Building heights should respect the existing waterfront character and avoid dominating the waterfront through excessive bulk.
  • Geelong’s Western Beach Precinct 2 is 9 metres and the inner wedge precinct 3 a preferred height of 20 metres.

FMAC Guidelines should clearly and explicitly support a strong direction to respect the Frankston waterfront character and avoid dominating the waterfront through excessive bulk and unarticulated built form.

We wish to comment on specific items in the Guidelines as follows –

2.3     Sensitive Interfaces – we support the provision of a network of streets, lanes and pedestrian paths from the city centre, along the creek and coastal interface. Plant species should be indigenous.

2.6     Built form with the Activity Centre – we support good city streets allowing  people to use them in all kinds of weather, providing shade and shelter.

2.9     Responsive to Frankston’s Role as a Metropolitan Activity Centre-–   as a seaside Activity Centre we have a responsibility to have more than an urban, metropolitan focus.  Frankston’s vision should be to sensitively integrate the seaside aspect as much as possible. The seaside is what makes Frankston unique and is a great advantage over other Metropolitan Activity Centres. It will draw people to live, play, and shop in a great environment.

3.1     Active and Engaging Frontages – we support the five actions, however, the actions must always celebrate the seaside aspect. Specifically, the number 5 action to integrate Indigenous species is essential.

3.2     Sensible Interface Area – We support the design of Podium separation and the setbacks; in principle, but not the design in the Guidelines. The design  image  gives the illusion of separation but the visually dominant, high building form, with minimum separation, blocks visual access to the beach. Mandatory height limits are required.  The Planning Practice Note 60 clearly states that mandatory limits will only be considered in exceptional circumstances which are identified as –

  • Sensitive coastal environments where exceeding the height limits will unreasonably detract from the significance of the coastal environment.
  • Significant landscape precincts such as natural waterway.

Precinct 1B fronts onto both these types of environments.  Please remove 32 metres height from 3.2.  FBA strongly objects to 32 metre height, it is far too high – on entering Frankston, the seaside is not visible from Nepean Highway and there is no invitation to explore the coast.

3.4    Maintain neighbourhood character –

Council’s guidelines for buildings along sensitive interfaces are not clear language statements eg what does “their adjacencies to lower scale development and natural environment” mean?

Diagrams are “sketchy” and difficult to interpret particularly for 3.4 nwhere they appear to convey that height makes no difference to solar access.

3.6     Sense of Enclosures – 1:2 and 1:3 are not ideal traditional main streets – they are busy urban streets with congested traffic, uncomfortable pedestrian spaces and not easily transplanted to Frankston. The Guidelines could find better examples eg on the Peninsula better examples are the main streets in Mornington and Mt Eliza.

The Illustrative Guidelines do not give convincing alternatives to achieve Precinct Guideline 5.1.4

We also wish to draw attention to the current problem of wind tunnels in both eat/west and north/south running streets. We recommend that this problem is addressed in any future planning and building design.

We also feel there is not enough linkage between Kananook Creek and the Coast. As the creek runs behind the sand dunes, it should be treated as part of the coastline.

We trust our comments will be respected.

Image source: Herald Sun