m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Agenda

Ordinary Council Meeting

18 November 2013

The meeting commences at 6.30pm. If members of the public are

not interested in any business recommended to be considered in

Closed Session or there is no such business, Council will ordinarily

  commence consideration of all other business at 7pm.


 

 


 

Mayoral Minutes

 

1.      Proposed Development 150 Epping Road (Former Shell Service Station Site)........................................................................... 3

 

 

 

 

 

        


Ordinary Council Meeting 18 November 2013

Proposed Development 150 Epping Road (Former Shell Service Station Site)

 

 

Subject:          Proposed Development 150 Epping Road (Former Shell Service Station Site)    

Record No:     SU4044 - 59464/13

Division:         Lane Cove Council

Author(s):       Councillor David Brooks-Horn 

 

 

Background

 

The new owner of the 150 Epping Road site has lodged a request with the State Planning Advisory Commission (PAC) for amendments to the original PAC approval. The key changes of concern are the change to the design excellence requirements and the deletion of the Pedestrian Bridge over Epping Road.

 

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DOPI) have prepared a report in relation to the proposed changes, which is available at https://majorprojects.affinitylive.com/public/8b81398fcd359a9baa465cc89339f485/Director-General's%20environmental%20assessment%20report%20and%20recommended%20instrument.pdf . The report recommends that the applicant’s changes be adopted, which is of great concern. The report will be considered by the PAC on 27 November, 2013 and Council staff have requested an opportunity to present to the panel.

 

Discussion

 

Design Excellence

 

The current report from DOPI to the PAC states:-

 

“The proposed change to the approved building envelopes from elliptical to regular shapes and a reduction in floor to ceiling heights (from 3.2m to 3.1m) will essentially retain the development's relationship with neighbouring development and will not result in any measurable amenity impacts. ... The proposed changes to the envelopes and footprints are therefore supported.”

 

The original PAC approval for an elliptical form was a selling-point of the proponent’s original vision as endorsed by DOPI. Regardless of whether the cost of such a form affected the property’s sale price, the public viewing this prominent site for decades to come should not have to bear the visual impact by accepting a more ordinary design.

 

The importance attached to this issue in the past by the Department and proponent is highlighted by the following comments in the supporting material for the original rezoning (bold emphasis added):-

 

·   Environmental Assessment Report – Concept Plan, Perica & Associates, 28 June 2011:-

o Introduction and Design Philosophy (page 58)

§ “Set the development into a bushland setting, reinforced by the massing of the proposal”

§ “Provide a framework which allows the achievement of high quality buildings, including an iconic building”.

 

·   Director-General’s Environmental Assessment Report, May 2012:-

o “Key issues relate to... the visual impact of a high density residential development”, page (i).

o “The proposed development will be a visually prominent reference point and subject to a high standard of design, a 20 storey signature building is supported at this location”, page (i).

o Visual Impact/ Design (pages 19-20):

§ “The built form, in particular the height and scale of buildings on the site, is a key consideration which has been raised in a number of submissions and by the department”.

§ The proponent has advanced a bold scheme in terms of its height and scale. The proponent’s justification refers to the site as a gateway to the area appropriate for a signature building... The architect’s justification... was to provide an appropriate taller signature building which allowed for the provision of lower scale buildings on the balance of the site... The proposal will be visually prominent but not alone in a landscape characterised by buildings punctuating the bushland in the Lane Cove River catchment.

It is important for a development of this scale to achieve a high standard of design excellence. The plans and photomontages... demonstrate that the high rise building will be a slender and contemporary design. The future application will be required to address the Director-General’s Design Excellence Guidelines”.

 

Council has been provided with advanced restricted access to the new proposed design which does not reflect a “signature building” or “iconic design”. This is essential as the visual impact of this isolated site is such that it is meant to be an appropriate gateway structure not of an “infill standard”. It is appropriate that Council object in the strongest possible terms to the change to the building envelope.

 

Pedestrian Bridge

 

In the DOPI report to the PAC, it recognises that “the other works/public benefits outside the scope of the section 94 plan were specific incentives proposed by the original proponent given the uplift in the development potential associated with the proposal”. The pedestrian bridge has been integral to this package of benefits, intended to gain support for the original rezoning, throughout the three-year approval process and should not be removed at this late stage.

 

The DOPI report to the PAC also states:-

 

“In addition, the requirement for a pedestrian bridge (within close proximity of two existing pedestrian crossings) is considered to be unreasonable given the minimal public benefits that it would provide when considered against the significant financial costs associated with its construction (estimated at $4-6m).”

 

Council staff doubt the cost estimated provided as there are no lifts required in the preferred design. If cost is a consideration, this should have been part of the commercial negotiation for the site’s purchase, not a grounds for reduction in benefits which the community was to receive.  The existing crossings do not provide accessible routes, as there are no ramps or lifts at the Sam Johnson Way Overhead bridge while the path to the Mowbray Road, exceeds the 1:20 standard.

 

The importance attached to this issue in the past by the Department and proponent is highlighted by the following comments in the supporting material for the original rezoning (bold emphasis added):-

 

Council draws the PAC’s attention to the proponent’s original reasons for promoting the bridge, endorsed by the PAC’s subsequent approval:-

 

·   Environmental Assessment Report – Concept Plan, Perica & Associates, 28 June 2011:

o Summary of Public Benefits (page 103)

§ The proposal involves a pedestrian bridge over Epping Road, at no cost to the public (subject to RTA approval) which will improve the site’s access to public transport and surrounding areas, and also improve such access to other adjoining sites, and linking communities north of Epping Road to the south, with its access to open space and waterways”.

o Appendix A: Concept Plan Statement of Commitments B8 -Traffic

§ “The developer will provide a pedestrian bridge over Epping Road, with disabled access”

 

It is appropriate that Council object in the strongest possible terms to the deletion of the pedestrian overbridge.

 

Conclusion

 

When a developer makes commitments for community benefits as part of a rezoning process it is imperative that the actual benefits occur and not be removed or watered down through subsequent amendments. The changes to the design excellence requirements and the deletion of the Pedestrian Bridge to be considered by the PAC are not acceptable.

 

RECOMMENDATION

That:-

1.   Council write to the Minister for Planning, the Director General of Planning and the PAC expressing Council’s objecting to the changes to the design excellence requirements and the deletion of the Pedestrian Bridge, as they erode the community benefit that was to flow from the rezoning and do not accord with the Minister’s mantra to provide “certainty for communities”.

2.   The General Manager appear before the PAC to object to the changes to the design excellence requirements and the deletion of the Pedestrian Bridge, as they erode the community benefit that was to flow from the rezoning and do not accord with the Minister’s mantra to provide “certainty for communities”.

 

 

 

 

 

Councillor David Brooks-Horn

Mayor

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

There are no supporting documents for this report.