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Agenda

Extraordinary Meeting of Council

4 February 2019

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.

 

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Notice of Meeting

 

Dear Councillors

 

Notice is given of the Extraordinary Meeting of Council, to be held in the Council Chambers, 48 Longueville Road Lane Cove on Monday 4 February 2019 commencing at 7:00pm. The business to be transacted at the meeting is included in this business paper.

 

Craig - GMYours faithfully

 

 

 

 

Craig Wrightson

General Manager

 

Council Meeting Procedures

 

The Council meeting is chaired by the Mayor, Councillor Pam Palmer. Councillors are entitled to one vote on a matter. If votes are equal, the Chairperson has a second or casting vote. When a majority of Councillors vote in favour of a Motion it becomes a decision of the Council. Minutes of Council and Committee meetings are published on Council’s website www.lanecove.nsw.gov.au by 5pm on the Thursday following the meeting.

 

The Meeting is conducted in accordance with Council's Code of Meeting Practice. The order of business is listed in the Agenda on the next page. That order will be followed unless Council resolves to modify the order at the meeting. This may occur for example where the members of the public in attendance are interested in specific items on the agenda.

 

Members of the public may address the Council Meeting on any issue for a maximum of 3 minutes during the public forum which is held at the beginning of the meeting. All persons addressing the Meeting must speak to the Chair. Speakers and Councillors will not enter into general debate or ask questions.

 

If you do not understand any part of the information given above; require assistance to participate in the meeting due to a disability; or wish to obtain information in relation to Council, please contact Council’s Executive Manager – Corporate Services on 99113550.

 

Please note meetings held in the Council Chambers are recorded on tape for the purposes of verifying the accuracy of minutes and the tapes are not disclosed to any third party under the Government Information (Public Access)  Act 2009, except as allowed under section 18(1) or section 19(1) of the PPIP Act, or where Council is compelled to do so by court order, warrant or subpoena or by any other legislation.

 

 

 


Extraordinary Meeting of Council 4 February 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

 

APOLOGIES

 

OPENING OF MEETING WITH PRAYER

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT TO COUNTRY

 

NOTICE OF WEBCASTING OF MEETING

 

public forum

 

Members of the public may address the Council Meeting on any issue for 3 minutes.

 

Orders Of The Day

 

Officer Reports for Determination

 

1.      Draft St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plans - Council submission  

 

 

 

 

                       


 

Extraordinary Meeting of Council Meeting 4 February 2019

Draft St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plans - Council submission

 

 

Subject:          Draft St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plans - Council submission    

Record No:    SU6005 - 670/19

Division:         Environmental Services Division

Author(s):       Christopher Pelcz; Terry Tredrea; Anthony Crichton 

 

 

Executive Summary

 

This report analyses the Draft St Leonards / Crows Nest 2036 Plans and supporting studies having regard to the North District Plan, Greater Sydney Commission advice, Council’s facilitated workshop, and other relevant planning matters – ensuring that a ‘clear-line-of-sight’ is established from the Region, District and to the local context.

 

In summary, the Draft St Leonards/Crows Nest 2036 Plan & associated studies are generally aligned with the approach, strategic direction and actions for the St Leonards Planned Precinct as set by the Greater Sydney Region Plan and the North District Plan as it:-

 

1.     Retains a focus for existing commercial land for employment;

2.     Supports Council’s Over-rail plaza development and new open space in St Leonards South;

3.     Retains the Artarmon industrial area for employment land;

4.     Includes the St Leonards South Residential Precinct Draft plans in terms of land use, built form, open space and infrastructure provision (Note: The Plan recommended referring the St Leonards South Planning Proposal for independent review during the exhibition period, which has not occurred and therefore is not proposed to make further comment in Council’s submission.

5.     Supports key aspects of Council’s commercial revitalisation program by the considered and strategic ‘pilot’ (mixed use) approach;

 

However, there are elements of the Draft 2036 plans, which are not supported as they don’t appear to align with the North District Plan or consider established planning controls (i.e. SEPP 65, Apartment Design Guide) plus other relevant information. These include:-

1.     Significant Sites;

2.     Lack of jobs focus;

3.     Timing of additional Mixed-Use development;

4.     Lack of connectivity;

5.     Special Infrastructure Contributions; and

6.     Overshadowing plus consideration of Planning Proposals.

7.     Social Infrastructure and Open Space;

8.     Schools;

9.     Transport connectivity;

10.  Tree Planting;

11.  Sustainability measures;

12.  Mix of housing types; and

13.  Retaining commercial land along Pacific Highway (west of railway line).

 

Overall, greater collaboration with Local Government and the community is needed to facilitate a better aligned 2036 plan that ensures growth is managed and sustained through vital open space and social infrastructure.

 

Council is requested to consider its position and make a formal submission to the Draft 2036 Plans having regard to the report.

 

Background

 

Council resolved to commence preparation of the St Leonards South Master Plan in 2012 which was ultimately adopted by Council in July 2015.  It was the result of extensive consultation, including a series of public forums and design workshops from mid 2014 to mid 2015.

 

In late 2015, the NSW State Government commenced consideration of the St Leonards Precinct potentially becoming a ‘Priority Precinct’, under A Plan for Growing Sydney. Eventually, in July 2016, it was announced that:

 

“In July 2016, the then Minister for Planning announced the strategic planning investigation of the St Leonards and Crows Nest Station Precinct”.

 

(Stage 1 – Interim Statement, 2017: page 2)

 

The same document also stated that a Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) plan for funding towards district level infrastructure would also be developed.

 

Prior to this announcement, the draft Local Environmental Plan amendments for St Leonards South were submitted in May 2016 to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to give effect to Council’s Master Plan. The Department approved it in September 2016, subject to a number of supporting studies being undertaken and a requirement that “Prior to finalisation, the planning proposal is to be amended to demonstrate consistency with any available findings of a draft or final strategic planning review for the St Leonards and Crows Nest Station Precinct'.

 

On 1 June 2017, St Leonards and Crows Nest was confirmed as a new ‘Priority Precinct’ (now referred to as a Planned Precinct).

 

In August 2017, the NSW State Government released a Stage 1 Interim Statement for the St Leonards / Crows Nest Precinct which included the Metro Station at Crows Nest and the precinct’s key assets, the vision, objectives and guiding principles for the area. A later Stage 2 Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan (LUIIP) was to provide guidance on future infrastructure in this area.

 

Following the release of the Interim Statement, Council sought the community's feedback in relation to the draft St Leonards South Local Environmental Plan (LEP) amendments between 30 October 2017 and 5 January 2018.

 

A number of responses requested that final consideration of the St Leonards South area be deferred until Council was able to consider the findings of Stage 2 (now the Draft 2036 Plans). This position was resolved at Council meeting on 19 March 2018 to allow the community and Councillors to understand the Government’s plans for the whole area, particularly in relation to the provision of infrastructure. Whilst waiting for the release of the Draft 2036 Plans, Council resolved to make further requests to extend the public exhibition period at its meetings on 23 July 2018 and 15 October 2018.

 


 

The Draft 2036 plans were released for public exhibition on 14 October 2018 and the consultation to conclude on 8 February 2019. Council formulated an initial position at its Extraordinary meeting on 29 October 2018 (AT-1), and where relevant outstanding matters have been included in this report.

 

It is important to note that prior to this, both the Greater Sydney Region Plan and the North District Plan were endorsed and adopted. The North District Plan clearly states that the intended outcome of the Planned Precinct investigations is:

 

“to grow jobs, housing and infrastructure within the precinct”.

 

(North District Plan, 2018: page 21)

 

Both plans also establish a series of inter-related priorities, actions, and expectations for Strategic Centres and St Leonards in particular that are to be delivered as part of this process.

 

Strategic Context

 

The Greater Sydney Region Plan and North District Plan will guide and inform current and future planning decisions across Sydney to achieve a balance of liveability, productivity, sustainability, infrastructure and collaboration.

 

As a result, all new development must be assessed against this framework. Both the regional and district plans envisage specific outcomes for St Leonards.

 

St Leonards is an important centre in regional and district plans, it is identified as a:

 

o   Collaboration Area;

o   Growth Area and Urban Renewal Corridor;

o   Planned Precinct;

o   Part of the Eastern Economic Corridor;

o   Health and Education precinct;

o   Commercial Office precinct; and

o   Strategic Centre.

It is St Leonards’ role as a Strategic Centre which aligns it with the following North District Planning Priorities:

 

o   Priority N9 – Growing and investing in health and education precincts; and

o   Priority N10 – Growing investment, business opportunities and jobs in strategic centres.

Supporting actions are outlined for each of these priorities, including:

 

o   Action 34 (a and b) – Strengthen St Leonards through approaches that:

o   Leverage the new Sydney Metro Station at Crows Nest to deliver additional employment capacity, and

o   grow jobs in the centre.

o   Action 36 (l) - Provide access to jobs, goods and services by:

o   diversifying the range of activities in all centres,

o   creating vibrant, safe places and quality public realm

o   “creating the conditions for residential development within strategic centres and within walking distance (up to 10 mins), but not as the expense of the attraction and growth of jobs, retailing and services”.

(North District Plan, 2018: page 68).

 

These priorities and actions are also incorporated into expectations for all Strategic Centres, including:

 

o   “co-location of a wide mix of activities, including residential

o   high levels of amenity, walkability and being cycle-friendly

o   areas identified for commercial uses and, where appropriate, commercial cores”.

(North District Plan, 2018: page 67).

 

These priorities, actions and expectations for Strategic Centres make it clear that employment growth is the principal underlying economic goal for these areas. This is demonstrated in the following statements:

 

“Therefore the designation of a commercial core within a strategic centre, with economic and employment uses, may be necessary to manage the impact of residential developments to avoid crowding out commercial activity”.

 

(North District Plan, 2018: page 67)

 

Conversely, the North District Plan acknowledges that new housing within centres does contribute to a sense of vibrancy, but:

 

“A balance must be struck in providing adequate mixed-use or residential zoned land around the commercial core zone to ensure new residential developments can benefit from access and services in centres”.

 

And:

 

the delivery of housing should not constrain the ongoing operation and expansion of commercial and retail activities”.

 

(North District Plan, 2018: page 67)

 

Therefore, as a Strategic Centre, the Draft St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plans must strike a balance between retaining commercial, mixed-use (including residential) and new residential development in order to be consistent with the North District Plan, while maintaining a focus on commercial land use and jobs creation.

 

Council’s Planning Approach

 

Lane Cove Council’s overall goal for St Leonards is to support the creation of an area with a high level of liveability, amenity and connectivity. It has sought to achieve this through a range of pilot projects which were consistent with successive Metropolitan Plans for Sydney, as well as the Department’s own transport goals. This policy approach was implemented through Local Environmental Plan amendments.

 

Council targeted four key sites in the St Leonards Commercial Core area along the Pacific Highway, based on their strategic value, for mixed use development. In addition to their strategic location, the sites were chosen for their size and resulting capacity to enhance the public domain (i.e. Friedlander Place upgrade and Over-Rail Plaza) and stimulate the commercial centre’s revitalisation while providing greater public benefit and amenity.

 

It is important to note that the first proposal for Council’s ‘pilot projects’ was not received until October 2013. It was lodged at a time when the vision for St Leonards was being reviewed. While Lane Cove Council had worked consistently to retain the commercial core within the St Leonards centre, commercial development had not occurred in the Lane Cove portion of St Leonards even with the uplift in FSR and height provided in LEP 2009.

 

By targeting these key sites, the rest of the B3 Commercial Core area (within Lane Cove LGA) is to remain as currently zoned, supporting the Department of Planning & Environment’s aim to avoid isolation of commercial sites. This policy is also consistent with successive Metropolitan Plans for Sydney.

 

These ‘pilot projects’ were to then be monitored in terms of stimulus to the commercial sector before similar rezonings would be considered. Given that all four ‘pilot’ projects have completed the Development Application stage and are now under construction, a monitoring phase should now begin.

 

Since the formation of the Greater Sydney Commission they have continued to provide guidance and, where appropriate, advice related to the Region and North District Plan. Following exhibition of the St Leonards South Draft Plans, Council sought clarity and a commitment from the State Government that Council’s new housing supply targets would be met given the rezonings for the St Leonards ‘pilot’ project sites east of the railway line and if the St Leonards South Planning Proposal proceeds.

 

In May 2018, the Commission confirmed (via letter) that the additional capacity created through these local planning initiatives will count towards achievement of the 10 year housing target which Council is required to meet.

 

Based on Council's estimates of capacity created via planning strategies currently being considered and Council's 2009 LEP, the LGA has the potential to exceed a 6-10 year (2021-2026 target)...”

 

In this regard we recognise that the additional capacity you are creating now through your local planning will be counted towards your achievement of a 10 year target”.

 

Since this time, the last of these ‘pilot’ projects has been approved for construction in November 2018, it was located in the St Leonards CBD at 71-79 Lithgow Street, 82-90 & 84A Christie Street, and 546-564 Pacific Highway (known as the JQZ site). Prior to the approval, Council again wrote to the Commission requesting confirmation its ‘pilot’ project approach to St Leonards CBD (through its four sites) was consistent with the North District plans for the ‘strategic centre’ of St Leonards. A response was received in September 2018 confirming:

 

The Greater Sydney Commission supports Council’s vision to improve the liveability, amenity connectivity and employment potential of the St Leonards’ strategic centre. We appreciate that the Council’s initiative to identify the development of the four key sites in St Leonards’ Central Business District will support your vision and contribute to the Centre’s attraction for employment”.

 

Therefore, given that both sets of advice were directly related to St Leonards and the North District Plan (including its priorities, actions, expectations and intentions) the Draft 2036 Plans should now be reviewed and analysed with this in mind.

 

Local Strategic Planning Statements

 

As part of changes to the planning legislation, all Councils are required to create a Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS), which has been informed by an LEP Health Check.

 

The intention of these statements is to assist with the required implementation of all actions in the Regional and District Plans, and Council’s own priorities in the Community Strategic Plan. They also shape how development controls in the local environmental plan (LEP) evolve over time to meet the community's needs, with the LEP and Development Control Plan the main delivery tools. This will establish a ‘clear line of sight’ for the planning framework from the regional to the local planning context (see Figure 1).

 

Figure 1: New Planning Framework

 

Given that St Leonards is a Planned Precinct and a number of Actions in the North District Plan specifically relate to St Leonards and Crows Nest, Council is required to acknowledge and incorporate any findings (draft or final) of the St Leonards Planned Precinct into its draft Local Strategic Planning Statement and subsequent planning documents. It is also important to note that an LSPS cannot be inconsistent with the vision, objectives or directions of a Planned Precinct.

 

A detailed report on the need for a Draft LSPS will be reported to Council at its Ordinary Meeting in February 2019.

 

Community Consultation

 

Following a series of Council requests, NSW Department of Planning and Environment extended the public exhibition period of the Draft St Leonards & Crows Nest 2036 Plans to 8 February 2019. This provided Council with the opportunity to undertake its own consultation in parallel with the Department’s consultation.

 

In accordance with previous Council resolutions, two additional drop-in sessions (staffed by Department of Planning and Council) were held in the Terrace Function Room at the Lane Cove Community Hub on Saturday 24 November 2018 from 11am – 2pm; and Tuesday 11 December 2018 from 4pm – 7pm.

 

Their purpose was for NSW Department of Planning and Environment staff to present locally the draft plans and materials to the Lane Cove community and answer any questions.

 

Council also held a facilitated workshop (in the same location) on Wednesday 12 December 2018 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm which was undertaken by an external consultant (KJA). A copy of the full report of the session is available in AT-2.

 

Attendees were asked to familiarise themselves with the Draft Local Character Statement and Draft 2036 Plan prior to this session. Comments were collated under each of the five themes of the Plans (Place, Landscape, Built Form, Land Use and Movement).

 

Participants were invited from the Lane Cove portion of the 2065 postcode (includes all of Greenwich and St Leonards) as well as anyone who made submissions during the St Leonards South (SLS) Planning Proposal exhibition period (October 2017 - January 2018).

 

Invitations were sent via letterbox drop (to the 2065 postcode area), an e-newsletter to 6,000+ residents, and e-mails to all SLS submitters. Participants were then requested to RSVP in order to confirm their attendance - 56 participants attended. Council did not recruit from a broader sampling, for example by random invitation or other means.

 

Following the event, KJA (independent consultant) specifically noted that “some demographics of the local government area were underrepresented, particularly residents aged under 30 years, while other age groups were overrepresented.” KJA considered that the results of the workshop “would need to be tested with the broader community before it could be determined to be indicative of the wider community’s view” (AT-2, 2019: page 3).

 

The key issues raised were:-

Issue

Comment

Concern about the impact of additional development, particularly new residential, on local traffic, parking and accessibility, including in areas some believed are already congested.

These issues are addressed in the consultant reports provided with the 2036 Plan suite of documents and will be further considered in relation to St Leonards South by the Independent Planning Commission.

Concern about what was seen as an overemphasis on residential development at the expense of commercial development, which some suggested would hinder efforts to meet employment targets.

This is discussed later in the report, it should be noted other than the two proposed (but not supported) Significant Sites, no land is proposed to be rezoned from commercial to mixed use in the Lane Cove LGA.

Mixed views regarding the amount, location and zonings of new residential densities.

These issues are addressed in the consultant reports provided with the 2036 Plan and will be further considered in relation to St Leonards South by the Independent Planning Commission.

Concern about Metro station being at capacity once opened.

This is not under direct consideration as part of the 2036 Plans.

Concern about overshadowing impacts of new developments, and other impacts (e.g. wind tunnels).

These issues are addressed in the consultant reports provided with the 2036 Plan and will be further considered in relation to St Leonards South by the Independent Planning Commission.

Support for new public transport infrastructure, pedestrian and cycle-ways, but still believed that additional infrastructure and measures would be needed to manage traffic increase and cars parking in the area.

This is discussed later in the report.

Support for a bus interchange to be included.

This is discussed later in the report.

Acknowledgement of the challenges of topography, including for developments and cycle-ways.

Noted

Support for efforts to retain heritage and character of the local area, with some thinking the Department could do more.

This is discussed later in the report.

Support new community hubs and amenities in the area, with specific suggestions for how these could be delivered (should mostly be in place before and/or in parallel with residential, not after new developments were complete). 

Council’s St Leonards South proposed LEP controls include 2 community spaces and two Child Care Centres to be integrated into developments.

General support for activated laneways and proposed shopping centres.

Noted

Preference for a variety of housing types across the entire precinct, including affordable housing options, to meet the needs of different demographics, such as key service workers.

Council’s St Leonards South proposed LEP controls include provision for Key Worker Housing. The issue of Medium Density is discussed later in the report.

Support for proposed setbacks, especially in transitioning, though concern that best practice-built form would be compromised during planning proposal processes.

Council’s St Leonards South proposed LEP controls only provide Height and FSR which complies with the LEP and DCP.

Support for plans to expand health and education facilities to meet increased demand from a larger local population, though views differed as to where some of these facilities should be located.

Education facilities discussed later in the report.

Support for green corridors and tree cover, though keen to see an increase in, and greater mix of, useable and open green spaces in the precinct than is currently allowed for in the Plan.

Noted

 

The predominant focus of the self-selected sample group was on issues associated with the St Leonards South Planning Proposal rather than the broader St Leonards / Crows Nest Draft 2036 Plans. Most of these sample comments are addressed in a separate fact sheet (AT-3). Workshop participants tended to re-iterate concerns and opportunities of previous consultation by Council and the Department. As the Plan recommended referring the St Leonards South Planning Proposal for independent review during the exhibition period, which has not occurred and therefore is not proposed to make further comment in Council’s submission.

 

Discussion

 

The Draft 2036 Plans have been considered in conjunction with the North District Plan, and other relevant strategic planning matters.

 

Positives Aspects

 

The Draft St Leonards/Crows Nest 2036 Plan & associated studies are generally aligned with this strategic direction and actions for the St Leonards Planned Precinct as set by the Greater Sydney Region Plan and the North District Plan as it:

 

·         Retains a focus for existing commercial land for employment, including land along Pacific Highway east (and west) of the existing railway line as these are the most accessible and desirable sites that could potentially attract new commercial tenants to the area (Action 34 b. of North District Plan);

·         Supports Council’s Over-rail plaza development and the proposed new open space in St Leonards South (Action 34 e. of North District Plan); and

·         Retains the Artarmon industrial area for employment land (Action 34 g. of North District Plan).

·         Includes the St Leonards South Residential Precinct Draft plans in terms of land use, built form, open space and infrastructure provision. The plans set the context, expectations and conditions for new residential development within a Strategic Centre as a liveable, walkable centre, but not at the expense of existing commercial (employment) land (Action 36 b, f, g and l. of North District Plan);

·         Support key aspects of Council’s commercial revitalisation program by the considered and strategic ‘pilot’ project (mixed use) approach (Actions 36 a, b, c, and f. and Action 37 of North District Plan); and

·         Confirm that the measured development levels proposed in St Leonards South do not warrant the need for additional regional or district infrastructure as such supporting infrastructure is already being provided as part of Council’s draft plans for the Precinct.

These aspects of the Draft 2036 plans (mentioned above) reflect Lane Cove Council’s measured and considered approach and are supported.

 

Issues of Concern – Changes Requested

 

Elements of the Draft 2036 plans, are not supported as they would be inconsistent with the North District Plan or consider established planning controls (i.e. SEPP 65, Apartment Design Guidelines) plus other relevant information. These include:

 

1.   Significant Sites

 

Analysis provided by the Market Feasibility and Employment Review (AT-4) suggest that by 2036, the entire precinct could accommodate 6,800 new dwellings or 7,500 new dwellings if a 10% tolerance is applied.

 

The majority of these new dwellings are proposed to be delivered through changes to increase mixed use density throughout the entire precinct, particularly in existing mixed use areas in North Sydney. As part of this, the Draft 2036 plans nominate a limited number of ‘Significant Sites’, two in Lane Cove and remainder in North Sydney for special consideration.

 

According to the Draft 2036 Plan (AT-5), all significant sites will have no maximum building heights or no maximum floor space ratios being applied. The sites in Lane Cove’s portion of the St Leonards CBD would also be the only ones changed from existing commercial core land (stand alone commercial) to mixed use residential.

 

The purpose of this approach is to allow mixed use on key sites to encourage more A grade commercial office floor space but retain all other Commercial core zoning, with non-residential (commercial/retail) floor space ratios applied to them ensuring employment outcomes. This, it is said, will encourage revitalisation of the area and achieve the high jobs target set by the North District Plan.

 

It is important to note here that these sites (including their approach, their nomination and location) were developed in isolation with no consultation with Council or its Community.

 

Figure 2: Map of Significant sites

 

Figure 2 shows that, Significant Site 1 is the site closest to the St Leonards train station (530-542 Pacific Highway and 69 Christie Street, St Leonards), while Significant Site 2 is closest to the new Crows Nest Metro Station (448-460 Pacific Highway, 40 Oxley Street and 53-67 Nicholson Street, St Leonards).

 

It appears this approach is the result of urban design advice provided by the NSW Government Architect (see AT-6). According to AT-6, the analysis considered and tested the planning principles described in the Draft 2036 Plan, North Sydney Council’s solar access planning controls as well as outcomes from previous engagement with the community (including the solar height planes and access controls now contained in the Draft 2036 Plan). However, this testing came with the following limitation (which will be discussed later):

 

“These tests illustrate building envelopes only and do not represent architectural forms which meet requirements of the Apartment Design Guide and the urban design considerations”.

(AT-6, 2018: page 2)


 

The advice considered that:

 

There may be opportunity through a significant sites approach that would rebalance height, density and form across the precinct into more appropriate locations. Such an approach would require a Design Excellence strategy to support it”.

(AT-6, 2018: page 2)

 

The Draft 2036 Plan and Urban Design Report (AT-7) contain other urban design considerations which have been included in order to assess a significant site’s suitability – the proposed built form massing created by this is shown indicatively on page 36 of the Urban Design Report (Figure 3). These important design qualifications should be included in the final 2036 plan if the Significant Site approach is to remain.

 

Figure 3: Indicative built form massing of Significant Sites

 

As shown in orange in Figure 2, Significant Site 1 is located near the St Leonards train station. Only half of this site is the subject of a revised planning proposal which includes the existing Telstra exchange building but not the remaining Australian Medical Association (AMA) building.

 

Significant Site 2, as shown in green in Figure 2, is located across from the proposed Crows Nest Metro station. The site is made up of a range of separate buildings and is a complex mix of strata titles without common agreement – this would result in substantial uplift being needed in order to facilitate redevelopment to Mixed Use.

 

Staff have reviewed each of these sites on their own merits against the relevant criteria in the Draft 2036 Plans.

 

The urban design performance criteria is contained within the Urban Design Report (AT-7). One of the criteria is to ensure that Significant Sites have appropriate separation between other tall buildings (40 metres for greater than 18 storeys). Separation criteria would only apply externally to other surrounding buildings if they are 18+ storeys (i.e. not for internal buildings within the same site).

 

It is important to note that in an already established well defined commercial core area like St Leonards, all sites are in close proximity to one another. As a result, all of Council’s ‘pilot’ projects (JQZ, New Hope, and Mirvac) are located within the defined commercial core space having adequate separation appropriate to prevent a ‘canyon effect’ and create a better sense of space.

 

Figure 4 demonstrates that Significant Site 1 (shown in a green dotted line) cannot conform to the required 40 metre separation distance for buildings greater than 18 storeys due to the presence of tall buildings already approved on either side (ie. JQZ to the west and New Hope to the east). Amalgamation with the adjoining AMA site would not resolve this as it would push any potential building closer to the approved tall building (i.e. New Hope) – this is best illustrated in Figure 4.

 

Figure 4: Proximity to other tall buildings – Significant Site 1

 

Further, with the New Hope site directly adjoining it, any built form on Significant Site 1 would not be able to comply with the required Apartment Design Guide provisions relating to building separation (i.e. 24 metres).

 

Significant Site 1 also cannot achieve the primary objective of the Significant Sites approach – which is contained on page 54 of the Draft 2036 Plan (AT-5). Due to the proposed consolidation resulting an irregular shape and requirement to retain the existing Telstra exchanges as built, Significant Site 1 would not be able to provide suitable A grade commercial office space floor plates. Given that the purpose of the mixed-use development on key sites is to encourage more A Grade commercial office space and include a minimum non-residential FSR – this is inconsistent with the objective, actions and recommendations (on page 54) relating to mixed use zonings (or rezonings).

 

This site would be better suited to being retained as two separate developable areas, being the current AMA building and a separate commercial development in line with existing LEP controls for the land fronting Pacific Hwy.

 

Significant Site 2’s proximity to other tall buildings is best illustrated in Figure 5. This site is also in proximity to tall buildings greater than 18 storeys – with the Mirvac site to its west and the proposed Crows Nest Metro Over Station development on the opposite side of Pacific Highway.

Figure 5: Proximity to other tall buildings – Significant Site 2

 

Unlike Significant Site 1, a large part of the site is developable in compliance with the 40m separation rule established in the urban design study. Interestingly, this nominated separation distance appears to generally align with the separation distances of Council’s ‘pilot’ projects.

 

If a residential component is included on the site there is only space for one residential tower as indicated in the Draft Plan. As stated earlier, the plans are silent on maximum building heights and floor space ratios. This is particularly relevant as the heights of the proposed (adjoining) Metro Station residential buildings (27 stories) would likely influence any built form on this site limiting the potential yield on Significant Site 2 to between 150 and 220 units.

 

Due to its proximity to the station, a residential component is not considered a priority and Council considers a commercial use is more appropriate (desirably with an underpass connection and public space), with the exclusion of residential in order to comply with North District Plan Action 34 a. and b. as well as Action 36 l.

 

Another urban design performance criteria applicable to both significant sites, is that they must include an offer of public benefit (such as open space, community facility etc). Again, this approach seems generally aligned with the intent of Council’s ‘pilot’ project approach but highlights a very big difference.

 

Council’s approach to its nomination of sites (in addition to all other matters) was informed first and foremost by the direct, adjoining proximity of open space (either existing or proposed). It is this aspect that had regard to a site’s individual constraints, capacity and ability to deliver key pieces of public infrastructure, particularly open space in addition to other community facilities. Not only were developers required to deliver and contribute to their own public open space (at ground level), they were also required to make additional open space contributions to other public domain projects (identified in State Government or Council’s plans) in the immediate vicinity.

 

This helps ensure that any increases in residential densities are proportional, contextual and based on actual delivery of public infrastructure (commensurate with scale).

 

It is noted that both Significant Sites 1 and 2 are unable to include or provide a public benefit in the form of open space. Both sites are not directly adjoining any open space, nor have the Draft 2036 Plans or supporting studies proposed any new open spaces for them.

 

Recommendation

 

The proposed Significant Sites do not meet the criteria of delivering a public benefit to contribute to revitalisation of the precinct, the primary purpose of additional mixed use rezonings.

 

Analysis indicates that both Significant Sites 1 and 2 should not be considered as significant or rezoned to mixed use due to site constraints that prevent them from achieving good urban design and planning outcomes. In particular Significant Site 1 would not be able to the required residential building separation distances specified in the Apartment Design Guide and the separation between building proposed in the Urban Design Report.

 

The primary objective for additional mixed use rezonings is to revitalise the area and achieve the high jobs targets in the North District Plan – this cannot be justified given that the plan fails to fully consider current strong demand for additional standalone commercial office floor space and the effectiveness of Council’s pilot project approach.

 

2.   Lack of Jobs Focus

In terms of commercial land, different planning approaches to jobs growth are outlined on page 51 of Market Feasibility and Employment Review (AT-4). It analyses three separate options – wholesale B4 Mixed Use rezoning (all with minimum employment floorspace), keep all existing B3 Commercial Core land unchanged anticipating the Metro, or rezoning some land to B4 Mixed Use and the remaining as commercial (i.e. Significant Sites approach). These approaches are assessed against competing priorities.

 

The following is stated about retaining all current B3 Commercial Core land in order to achieve the high employment as set by the North District Plan:

 

In the long term this is likely to be the best option for this priority particularly after Sydney Metro is operational but in the short/medium term is not guaranteed to contribute towards employment growth targets because of insufficient development feasibility for pure commercial buildings”.

(AT-4, 2018: page 71)

 

While the review does not entirely dismiss the Metro Station’s ability to generate more jobs, it fails to take into account the findings of the recent Crows Nest Metro Station Development Application. To justify Sydney Metro’s proposed land uses on the Crows Nest Over-Station Development site, a Strategic Market Assessment Report (extract provided in AT-8) analysed the residential, commercial office, retail, hotel market and other land uses. In terms of the commercial office market it was noted that:

 

“Crows Nest/St Leonards is currently experiencing a supply deficit due to stock continuing to be withdrawn for residential conversions”

 

(AT-8, 2018: page 43).

 

Despite this, Table 6 of the report notes that in the last 18 months there has been a large number of notable leasing activity in the North Shore Office market – one of which includes an existing commercial office building in Lane Cove’s portion of St Leonards (72 Christie Street, St Leonards)  with MasterCard as a 10-year tenant. This is significant as it was established as a leading technology hub in April 2018 and is one of only five in the world.

 

During this time it was also noted that the vacancy rate for the Crows Nest/St Leonards Office Market fell from 11.1% to 9.9% over the 6 months to July 2018. In terms of the Metro Station’s potential impact on the North Shore commercial market it:

 

“will benefit significantly from the construction of the new Metro railway line, which will improve the accessibility and amenity of the region and elevate its employment status”

 

(AT-8, 2018: page 44).

 

Interestingly, AT-8 also considers that with rental markets in the Sydney CBD tightening, Crows Nest (and St Leonards) could benefit:

 

Commercial spaces in the North Shore, in particular the location of future stations (such as Crows Nest), will benefit significantly from the construction of the new Metro railway line, which will improve the accessibility and amenity in the region, making it an interestingly viable alternative to Sydney CBD”.

 

(AT-8, 2018: page 57).

 

Yet both documents fail to acknowledge or consider the effect that Council’s own ‘pilot’ project approach will have on the revitalisation of commercial land in St Leonards by not incorporating the recent Development Application approvals for new commercial office building on the JQZ site but also the recent arrival of a world class tenant in the form of the MasterCard technology hub.

 

This is worth noting because the recent approval of the JQZ development will add a further 19,000+ m2 of A-Grade commercial office floor space and 10,000+ m2 of new retail floor space (including a supermarket) to the local commercial market.

 

Given the significant additional growth and demand for commercial office floor space in the North Shore and local area; coupled with a supply deficit caused by continued conversion of stock to residential, it is unclear how further conversion of existing commercial sites to mixed use sites can be justified or even warranted at all. It is made even more unsupportable by the fact that the main focus of the North District Plan for St Leonards and Crows Nest appears to be on employment and jobs growth with new residential growth secondary, and not at the expense of constraining ongoing operations and expansion of commercial and retail activities.

 

Overall, the Draft 2036 plans fail to take into account:

 

·     The Crows Nest Metro Station Development Application studies which demonstrate that there is a need/demand for more stand alone commercial space in the Precinct.

·     The impact that the new Metro Station will have on elevating the area’s employment status.

·     The recent development approvals and leasing activities for new commercial and retail development that will contribute towards the District Plans’ high jobs target –  particularly at the JQZ site where a new stand alone commercial office building (19,000+ m2) and new retail floor space (10,000+ m2) and the 10 year lease for the Mastercard technology hub (7,227 m2) at 72 Christie Street in an existing commercial building.

In particular, the recent arrival of the MasterCard technology hub is strong evidence that existing commercial buildings can accommodate major office tenants – achieving long term jobs growth without the need for further mixed use rezonings.

 

Market Feasibility Study AT-4 also acknowledges that one of the advantages of preserving existing B3 Commercial Core zones for employment floorspace only is that:

 

Ultimately, pure commercial floorspace (if possible) is still the preferred floorspace for commercial tenants to work in – particularly major anchors”.

(AT-4, 2018: page 6)

Recommendation

 

If the high jobs target and actions specified in the North District Plan are to be achieved, then more commercial floor space is needed in this Precinct. However, recent leasing activity and development approvals have given a strong indication that there is demand for additional stand alone commercial office floor space in this area without the need for more mixed use rezonings – this is yet to be fully considered.

 

Current plans fail to captialise on this new demand for additional stand alone commercial core land and need to be fully considered if the actions of the North District Plan envisaging a more adequate balance of retaining commercial, mixed use (including residential) and new residential development are to be realised.

 

3.   Timing of Additional Mixed Use Development

 

In addition to the Significant Sites in the Plan, Council has received inquiries regarding conversion of further Commercial Core sites to Mixed Use. The Draft 2036 Plan is intended to guide a 20 year land use vision for the area. Identifying all sites that would potentially be rezoned for mixed use all at once is not consistent with taking a longer term view. Given Council’s pilot projects are designed to stimulate commercial activity, the overwhelming evidence to suggest that commercial development is viable and may potentially become more viable as a result of Crows Nest Metro Station, no further mixed use should be necessary at this point.

 

Its acknowledged that the Plan’s 20 year timeframe is a considerable time period, beyond the normal time horizon for an LEP. It is therefore proposed that the Plan include a review period after 10 years to evaluate the impact of the Metro and enhanced public domain and commercial centre’s revitalisation due to Council’s ‘pilot’ projects in St Leonards. In terms of timing, Council’s final ‘pilot’ project is expected to be constructed between 2021 – 2022, with the St Leonards over-rail plaza to be constructed and completed around about the same time. The Metro project is also scheduled for delivery in 2024 and Council’s letter from the Greater Sydney Commission confirms that Council’s housing approach (i.e. ‘pilot’ projects and St Leonards South) can satisfy (and potentially exceed) a 6-10 year target which finishes in 2026.

 

Recommendation

 

A new statement be made in the Plan requiring a review of the Plan in 2026 after delivery of the Sydney Metro project in 2024, to consider the impacts of the Metro Station on commercial land and the effectiveness of Council’s ‘pilot’ project approach in the medium term.

 

4.   Lack of Connectivity

 

In order to support this Precinct’s role as a Strategic Centre overall connectivity will need to be improved, to accommodate growth ideally prior to the delivery of the Crows Nest Metro Station. Council has previously expressed concerns about the Plan’s lack of connectivity particularly across major roads such as Pacific Highway and River Road.

 

As part of its plans for the Over-rail plaza, Council expressed its preference for an additional underpass to the St Leonards train station in order to support additional movements generated from realised growth. With the announcement of the Crows Nest Metro Station, Council again stated its preference for an underpass to the underground Metro Station. It is important to note that Council also included in its Draft St Leonards South Plans for the area a suite of infrastructure improvements in order to improve connectivity overall and provide a range of crossings to the other side of Pacific Highway and River Road. The crossings are part of an overall mid-block fully accessible pedestrian connection Council facilitated as part of the pilot projects. Stretching from the proposed Over-rail plaza, along the former Christie Lane, through the AMA site to Friedlander Place, and through the Mirvac site, ultimately to the corner of Oxley Street.

 

The findings of the Strategic Transport Study notes that “steep grades south of the Pacific Highway support the case for an underpass to the Crows Nest Metro Station” (AT-9, 2018: page 10). Therefore, while there is support for at-grade crossings on cost-alone grounds, there is also a recognition that an underpass would relieve pedestrian impacts on Pacific Highway. In addition,

 

The plaza proposed south of the Pacific Highway could also include an upgrade to the Lithgow Walk underpass to improve amenity and directness

 

(AT-9, 2018: page 10).

 

Council agrees. Its Cumulative Transport and Accessibility Study for St Leonards South (Sep.2017) states that:

 

The planned development in the study area provides an opportunity to improve the pedestrian connectivity and permeability. A well-connected pedestrian network is recommended in Section 5.3” (p1)

 

Crossings are supported in this Study at strategic locations along Pacific Highway. To minimise detrimental impacts on the flow of traffic along Pacific Highway, it is recommended that pedestrian underpasses be considered from the south side of Pacific Highway to the St Leonards and Crows Nest train stations, preferably SIC-funded.

 

It is important to note that as part of the JQZ development site plans, a space has been provided for a future pedestrian underpass connection across Pacific Highway. This was in response to a separate Planning Proposal received by North Sydney Council for 655-657 Pacific Highway (adjacent to the Forum building).

 

Christie St

Figure 6: Concept for additional underground connection to St Leonards train station

 

As shown in the image above, the proposed pedestrian underpass connection links the JQZ site to 655-657 Pacific Highway and provides for additional access to the St Leonards train station. Although the matter was considered by the Sydney North Planning Panel and refused, it was noted that the proponent:

 

“has shown a possible underground link to the south of Pacific Highway. This should be considered further when the future site development proceeds”.

 

In addition, the Cumulative Transport and Accessibility Study recommends traffic lights or a signalised pedestrian crossing for the River Road/ Canberra Avenue intersection. This is supported by Item 24 of the Strategic Transport Study (“Signalised intersection with pedestrian crossings on Canberra Avenue and River Road legs”).

 

Further, the Cumulative Transport and Accessibility Study recommends as part of upgrading the existing pedestrian connection between Berry Road/ Holdsworth Avenue with River Road, appropriate night time lighting and a pedestrian overpass be undertaken.

 

Recommendation   

 

That Council re-iterate that given the large pedestrian volumes that would be generated by the Metro Station, it is considered critically important that in addition to the measures mentioned in the draft studies, that provision for an underground connection from Oxley Street to the underground Metro Station (on the other side) be incorporated.

 

Council’s preference is for pedestrian underpass connections to St Leonards station and Crows Nest Metro stations (possibly SIC-funded) in order to minimise disruption to traffic flows and maximise pedestrian amenity, convenience and safety. Likewise, investigation of a crossing of River Road is supported.

 

5.               Special Infrastructure Contributions

 

The draft Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) is a new State levy that aims to assist with funding State and Regional infrastructure. The contributions from new development (in addition to Council developer contributions) help fund the delivery of infrastructure upgrades that support growing populations.

 

Under the Draft 2036 Plans, a Special Infrastructure Contributions (SIC) levy is to be implemented universally to fund regional and district infrastructure identified in the technical studies (AT-10 and AT-11) to support growth in the precinct.

 

The infrastructure list described in the plans demonstrate that the Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) is not being equitably distributed across the area, with the Lane Cove LGA planned to accommodate up to 41% of the housing but would receive approximately 9.5% of the proceeds – some major projects within the infrastructure list are questionable as they are not considered to be regional or district infrastructure.

 

In relation to the St Leonards South Precinct technical studies confirm that the development levels proposed do not warrant additional regional or district infrastructure as supporting infrastructure is to be provided as part of Council’s draft plans for the Precinct – yet according to the Special Infrastructure Contributions – brochure, St Leonards South is still proposed to be part of the SIC area. This is despite overwhelming evidence against such an approach.

 

The Department’s own documents demonstrate and state that the St Leonards South precinct has “no capacity to pay” above the $20,000 per dwelling contribution cap, and that the proposal pre-dates the announcement of a SIC (AT-11, 2018: page 26). This was also confirmed in the previous Stage 1 Interim statement for the area:

 

“In July 2016, the then Minister for Planning announced the strategic planning investigation of the St Leonards and Crows Nest Station Precinct”.

 

The same document also stated that a Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) plan for funding towards district level infrastructure would also be developed:

 

“A Land Use & Infrastructure Implementation Plan (‘the Plan’) is now being prepared to provide a strategic planning framework to guide future development and infrastructure delivery over the next 20 years. A Special Infrastructure Contribution (SIC) plan for funding towards district level infrastructure will also be developed”.

 

(Stage 1 – Interim Statement, 2017: page 2).

 

Prior to the announcement, to give effect to Council’s Masterplan, the draft Local Environmental Plan amendments were submitted in May 2016 to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. The Department approved it in September 2016, subject to a number of supporting studies being undertaken and a requirement that “Prior to finalisation, the planning proposal is to be amended to demonstrate consistency with any available findings of a draft or final strategic planning review for the St Leonards and Crows Nest Station Precinct'.

 

The Department’s Proposed Special Infrastructure Contribution – Feasibility Study (AT-11), confirms that the submission of the St Leonards South Planning Proposal pre-dates the announcement of a SIC for the broader precinct as follows:

 

Market evidence indicates that majority of sites in St Leonards South character area were purchased at prices reflective of proposed planning controls (St Leonards planning proposal) prior to announcement of a proposed SIC. Accordingly, any result Value Uplift is subsumed, resulting in little capacity to pay a SIC”.

 

(AT-11, 2018: p. v)

 

Based on the above, the imposition of a SIC in retrospect on the proposed St Leonards South Precinct would be onerous. Further, the SIC imposes a rate above the current dwelling cap of $15,100 per additional dwelling, yet Council is proposing to impose its own rate (above the current cap) of $16,300+ per additional dwelling in order to fund local infrastructure identified through its own technical studies.

 

If agreement is reached not to collect the SIC in the St Leonards South Precinct, it would be reasonable that Lane Cove receives less SIC funding.

 

Recommendation

 

Given the above, and that regional and district infrastructure is not required in the proposed St Leonards South Precinct, Council does not support the imposition of the SIC for the St Leonards South Precinct and requests a formal exemption from the imposition of the SIC – in lieu of the Department’s findings (for St Leonards South only).

 

6.       Actions and Recommendations of the Draft 2036 Plan Relating to OVERSHADOWING Plus Consideration of Planning Proposals

 

While most of the objectives, actions and recommendations in the ‘Implementing the Plan’ section of the Draft 2036 document (AT-5) are generally aligned. There are actions and recommendations covering two separate issues that do not align with the objectives and require amending.

 

·      Overshadowing

As detailed earlier in the report, the Actions and Recommendations in the Draft 2036 Plan related to solar access controls on page 49 which seek to ‘minimise overshadowing of key open spaces, public places and adjoining residential areas’ do not align. This is because separate advice from the NSW Government Architect testing these controls (see AT-6) has confirmed that they have not been tested against the State Government’s Apartment Design Guide.

 

This also affects the solar height planes (shown in Figure 11 on page 26).

 

While the objective to minimise overshadowing impacts of the built form on public open space is considered fundamental to place-making it must have also have regard to other factors and achieve a reasonable and balanced outcome. In this regard, some of the Land and Environment Court solar access principles can provide greater guidance on how to achieve a balanced outcome. The following solar access principles from The Benevolent Society v Waverley Council [2010] NSWLEC 1082, are relevant:

 

·          The ease with which sunlight access can be protected is inversely proportional to the density of development.

At low densities, there is a reasonable expectation that a dwelling and some of its open space will retain its existing sunlight. (However, even at low densities there are sites and buildings that are highly vulnerable to being overshadowed.)

At higher densities sunlight is harder to protect and the claim to retain it is not as strong.

·          The amount of sunlight lost should be taken into account, as well as the amount of sunlight retained.

·          Overshadowing arising out of poor design is not acceptable, even if it satisfies numerical guidelines. The poor quality of a proposal’s design may be demonstrated by a more sensitive design that achieves the same amenity without substantial additional cost, while reducing the impact on neighbours.

·          In areas undergoing change, the impact on what is likely to be built on adjoining sites should be considered as well as the existing development.

Although not mentioned in the Court’s principles, another consideration that needs to be given to the type of open space that is being overshadowed. Comments from the facilitated workshop, suggested current provisions be extended so that buildings are not overshadowing a park when children use it to play after school hours (it is assumed this means from 3pm until sunset) – but this would need to be considered against other matters. 

 

In addition to being consistent with the Court principles, it is of critical importance that any solar access controls or height planes developed have been tested against the Apartment Design Guide. Being an adopted State Government policy (and enforced through SEPP 65) in the event of an inconsistency between planning instruments it is the ADG which takes precedence.

 

Recommendation

 

Given the NSW Government Architect’s advice all solar height planes (on page 26), solar access controls (on page 49) be amended in order to be consistent with the Apartment Design Guide and Land and Environment Court principles.

 

·      Consideration of Planning Proposals

The Actions and Recommendations (on page 49 of the Draft 2036 Plan) state that “Council can still consider and progress planning proposals for individual sites and St Leonards South area while this plan is being finalised”. This conflicts with the related Objective which states “Allow Planning Proposals which are supported by councils to progress”. However, the Action could be misinterpreted to mean that other Planning Proposals can be progressed without Council’s support. This is particularly relevant as Council has received a Planning Proposal for half of Significant Site 1.

 

A key issue for the community and Council is certainty. If the 2036 Plan is to retain its creditability through its 20-year life span, it should not be undermined by one off site specific planning proposals which are not in accordance with the 2036 Plan. To be clear and consistent it is suggested that the Draft 2036 Plan state: “Only Planning Proposals supported or initiated by councils be considered during the life of the Plan”.

 


 

Recommendation

 

Actions and Recommendations on page 49 of the Draft 2036 Plan be amended to state “Only Planning Proposals supported or initiated by councils be considered during the life of this Plan”.

 

7.   Social Infrastructure & Open Space

 

As part of its adopted Community Strategic Plan in 2018, Council conducted research about its Local Government Area and noted:

 

We are seeing an increase in the number of residents living in units, particularly more families with children, single person households and 30 – 45 year olds. With busy lives and increased transiency, community connectedness, feelings of safety and active and passive spaces for recreation are increasingly important

 

(Community Strategic Plan, 2018: page 13).

 

These findings and other matters are not addressed in the Social Infrastructure and Open Space study (AT-12), nor does it include the current Delivery Program.

 

However, the Social Infrastructure and Open Space Study does not consider families in its drivers and considerations for social infrastructure and open space, nor does it take into account the findings of Council’s recent Community Strategic Plan – this oversight should be remedied.

 

The Draft 2036 Plans and supporting documents confirm that Lane Cove will contribute 1.66ha of the 2.3ha of new Open Space land proposed for the whole St Leonards / Crows Nest Precinct.  This is 73% of all new proposed open space.

 

The North District Plan acknowledges that:

 

there will be relatively few opportunities to increase the quantity and quality of public open space, and therefore greater emphasis will be needed on improving the quality and distribution of open space

 

(North District Plan, 2018: page 112).

 

Overall, there is a lack of planning for social facilities and open space across the area. It does not support the plans vision statement that the community will be supported by social infrastructure. This is especially vital given that St Leonards will move from a commercial office precinct to a high density, mixed use centre with approx. 14,000 new residents and 16,500 new workers. No new facilities are planned by the State Government other than what Lane Cove and North Sydney Council already had planned.

 

The Draft 2036 Plan expresses support for Council plans for new open space in St Leonards South (and other Lane Cove open spaces). It is acknowledged that the plans to increase dwellings (beyond Council’s St Leonards South Precinct and current ‘pilot’ projects) should potentially consider additional quality and different types of Open Space across the remainder of precinct. Therefore, expansion of other quality and different types of Open Space across the remainder of precinct is required.

 


 

Recommendation

 

The Social Infrastructure and Open Space Study of the Draft 2036 Plan is to be amended to acknowledge and incorporate Lane Cove’s Community Strategic Plan and Delivery Program.

 

Other relevant studies be amended to acknowledge that, in terms of the wider precinct, that the Lane Cove portion contributes 73% of all new public open space within the Planned Precinct.

 

Overall, while the Draft 2036 Plan expresses support for Council’s plans for new open space in St Leonards, it should consider the expansion of other quality and different types of Open Space and social infrastructure across the remainder of precinct to support population growth.

 

 

8.       Schools

 

Given the clear commitment and support for new education facilities by the Department of Education, the Draft 2036 Plan needs to reflect this commitment to the location and type of schools to service the identified need for both Primary and Secondary education facilities. However, it is important to note that in a letter dated 19 January 2018 from the Department of Education, it was stated that planning for the upgrading of both Greenwich Public School campuses was:

 

based on enrolment projections incorporating the additional dwelling estimates for recent and rezonings for St Leonards, including the St Leonards South precinct”.

 

The Development Applications for both campuses were publicly exhibited and approved by the Sydney North Planning Panel on 14 November 2018. In the same letter from the Department, regarding the Planned Precinct in St Leonards stated:

 

“In response to proposed residential growth in St Leonards, primary and secondary education infrastructure planning will continue to liaise with the Department of Planning & Environment.

 

In overview, the Department supports Council’s plans and their consistency with NSW policies promoting integrated residential and infrastructure growth in proximity to the St Leonards centre”.

 

Recommendation

 

The Draft 2036 Plan to adopt the Department of Education comments described above and specify the location and type of schools in the Precinct.

 

9.               Transport Connectivity

 

As stated in the Strategic Transport Study, Lane Cove Council is proposing to deliver an over-rail plaza opposite the St Leonards train station with new bus drop off and pick up points. This would be an opportunity to ameliorate the current bus drop-off and pick-up area on the southern side of Pacific Highway – this is supported by this study.

 

In terms of the Crows Nest Metro Site, such is addressed in the Concept State Significant Development Application for the Crows Nest Metro Station over station development. It states that improvements to be delivered include:

 

“consolidation of bus stops and consideration of pedestrian and bus customer conflict”

                                                                                              

(AT-9, 2018: page 103).

 

Table 5-2 of the Strategic Transport Study contains a Transport infrastructure schedule which identifies that a “suitable interchange is required between Pacific Highway bus services and Crows Nest Metro” and further consolidation of bus stops on the other side of Pacific Highway. Any future plans should be made consistent with this approach.

 

Recommendation

 

As the Crows Nest Metro Development Application only addresses provision of a transport interchange in a very general sense by stating that an Interchange Access Plan “will be developed” as part of the future detailed application – a more integrated approach is required .

 

The space requirements for any potential amelioration or interchange (particularly where a building is proposed) should be considered upfront, as this may impact building setbacks and, in turn, building envelopes.

 

If only one interchange is provided in the precinct, Council indicates a preference for a separation of pedestrian and road traffic and pedestrians i.e. a underground crossing.

 

10.    Tree Planting

 

Page 53 of the Urban Design Report (AT-7) shows a cross section of the proposed tree plantings suggested by the Plan. Section F shows a 3 metre ground level building setback in order to accommodate large mature trees.

 

This 3 metre setback along Pacific Highway is also expressed as an Area wide design principle on page 11 of the Draft 2036 Plan. Yet Figure 27 (on page 53) of the Draft 2036 Plan shows a 0 metre setback for the same area. This would appear to be error in the figure and should be amended.

 

The recent Development Application approval for the JQZ site in St Leonards demonstrated that a number of public utilities and infrastructure were under the footpath along Pacific Highway – in this case they were relatively close to the surface. This potentially inhibits the development of tree root growth required to support large trees.

 

Council’s solution is a Strata Vault system which encourages substantial tree root growth within an interconnected structured soil cell. It can potentially prevent conflicts between tree roots and infrastructure located close to the surface.

 

In addition, the Draft Green Plan states that:

 

DPE to undertake a review of the planning controls (LEP), development control plans (DCP), civil works standards, development contributions (Section 94 plans) and voluntary planning agreement (VPA) policies to investigate ways to encourage creation of public open space and tree canopy within the study area”.

(AT-13, 2018: page 47)

 

However, Council’s Draft Landscape Master Plan, Draft Development Control Plan and Draft Section 94 Plan for St Leonards South have already taken this into account and in some instances have gone further than that in the Draft Green Plan, and request that this be acknowledged. This is particularly relevant as the same plan states that the Draft Green Plan process includes:

 

Consideration of the proposed changes to zoning, new forecasted dwellings and subsequent population growth”.

 

(AT-13, 2018: page 5)

 

Recommendation

 

That Council request that Figure 27 of the Draft 2036 Plan be amended to accord with tree planting principles of the Draft Green Plan.

 

Given that the Draft Green Plan considers the proposed changes to zoning and the Draft St Leonards South Plans go further in terms of measures, it is requested that Council’s Draft Landscape Master Plan and controls be acknowledged.

 

11.    Sustainability Measures

 

Sustainability considerations are discussed on page 57 of the Utilities Report (AT-14). Two main ones are:-

·          Encourage councils to modify their Development Control Plan (DCP) to force developers to provide “green roofs” (gardens, lawn, etc spaces) on building roofs” and

·          “encourage developers to provide solar panels on the roofs of new developments.” 

 

It is important to note that Council’s Draft Landscape Master Plan and Development Control Plan for St Leonards South do include measures to promote green roofs/roof gardens etc and even provides design guidance on them.

 

However, the presence of solar panels on the roofs of new developments as well as green roof/rooftop gardens has the potential to compete for limited space on a rooftop.

 

Rooftop gardens in particular can create a higher degree of liveability and provide individual amenities within a high density development – it is a place only residents (and their guests) of the building can access. Whereas Council’s St Leonards South plans also include provision for North-South Green Spines which would contain more accessible communal open space, to provide additional communal open spaces and encourage movements between residents of other immediately adjoining buildings (see pages 45 – 50 of Draft Landscape Master Plan for Green Spine design). These spaces then integrate with the publicly accessible East-West connections which connect both existing and proposed open spaces. Such an approach provides and integrates a range of useable private and public open spaces.

 


 

In addition, AT-14 notes that Green Roofs have:

 

several sustainability and climate change adaptation benefits including reducing stormwater runoff and reducing solar heat absorption in comparison with concrete roofs”.

 

(AT-14, 2018: page 57)

 

Recommendation

 

Given the above, it is recommended that the measures in the Utilities Report that relate to green roofs and solar panels be amended to say “subject to achieving a balance of Urban Design outcomes”.

 

12.    Mix of Housing Types

 

The Draft Local Character Statement for St Leonards/Crows Nest (AT-15) values, “a mix of housing types, sizes and price points provided to meet a diverse population in the area”. The Draft 2036 Plan responded by “Allowing for increased residential density in the most accessible parts of the area” (AT-5, 2018: page 28).

 

It is acknowledged that a range of housing types is to be provided. However, this needs to be applied to entire St Leonards and Crows Nest Precinct area and not just one portion. Currently different types of housing are spread throughout the entire precinct in existing mixed use; and low, medium and high density residential zones.

 

In terms of St Leonards South (through to Greenwich Road), the current housing stock is already varied – from mixed use residential close to the Pacific Highway (from 5, 7 and 29 storeys), to high density residential flats in Duntroon Avenue (ranging from 5 – 7 storeys) to older flats at the Greenwich Road end (4-5 storeys) and a mix of dual occupancy (attached) and detached dwellings.

 

The planning approach taken by Draft St Leonards South Planning Proposal is to concentrate high density (subject to urban design considerations) within 400 metres of St Leonards train station, without compromising the established commercial core of St Leonards – this is consistent with the North District Plan approach and does not compromise the existing commercial areas identified along Pacific Highway (west of the railway line). It is also important to note that this area is already surrounded by mixed use residential (Loftex development in Marshall Avenue) and high density residential in Duntroon Avenue.

 

The Market Feasibility and Employment Review (AT-4) by SGS Economics, has suggested:

 

“In order to facilitate a more diverse housing outcome, the Precinct could accommodate some larger apartments and some ground floor/podium townhouses”

 

(AT-4, 2018: page 44).

 

Council has implemented this approach as part of the Loftex mixed use development which included a range of apartments with some ground floor / podium townhouses along with a range of apartment dwelling types (i.e. One, two, three four+ bedrooms).

 

Council’s existing Development Control Plans also implements accessible, visitable and adaptable housing requirements into new developments. These controls cater for older residents and residents with a disability living in dwellings which can be converted to a standard dwelling later if required. All measures described above are features in the Draft St Leonards South Plans.

 

High density residential rezoning in St Leonards South will not only provide greater housing diversity in the area (by permitting new dwelling types which are prohibited in the current zoning) it will also allow for a greater diversity/mix of land uses (which are prohibited under the current zoning) including small scale retail uses (i.e. Neighbourhood shops) while retaining the remainder of the area for lower scale residential.

 

In the broader sense, AT-4 also makes the following comments in relation to medium density housing:

 

“Medium density housing is an important segment of the market and will have a key role to play in alleviating pressure for families in the market. Given that the Precinct will be limited in its ability to deliver medium density dwellings, follow up planning for these forms of development in surrounding lands and centres is necessary (a similar challenge exists across Sydney)”.

(AT-4, 2018: page 44).

 

Recommendation

 

Given that Draft St Leonards South Plans incorporates housing diversity measures, Council supports the future approach suggested by Market Feasibility and Employment Review for Department to undertake follow up planning to deliver medium density in other areas around the strategic centre.

 

13.    Retaining Commercial Land on Pacific Highway (West of Railway Line)

 

The current Draft 2036 Plan retains all land along Pacific Highway (west of the St Leonards train station) for low scale Commercial Core land – this is supported mainly for its consistency with the North District Plan actions to retain the remainder of the area for Commercial Core purposes, but also as this option was already considered by Council’s Draft St Leonards South Master Plan and considered unacceptable on a number of grounds.

The Draft Master Plan considered a range of growth scenarios as well as potential locations (full range of options discussed in Chapter 4 of document) – including potentially re-developing existing Commercial Core Land along Pacific Highway (west of the railway line). Later Site specific investigations (contained later in the document) state that:

 

“This Pacific Highway frontage is currently occupied by a variety of commercial buildings of 4-9 storeys high. Some are strata titled”.

 

In order for these sites to potential re-develop it would involve the need for substantial undesirable height and Floor space ratio increases. Furthermore, these height and FSR increases would not be able to comply with Apartment Design Guide due to site constraints, and topography which would exacerbate and increase overshadowing to levels far beyond that envisaged by the preferred option (demonstrated in previous Appendices to Draft Master Plan).

 

The existing land uses (west of Pacific Highway) were also primarily related to the Royal North Shore Hospital, there was also a demonstrable need to retain this land for Commercial only purposes.

 

The North District Plan and the findings of the Draft 2036 Plan, confirms this approach as still remaining valid and relevant as it identifies this area as a:

 

Priority for job intensification

(AT-5, 2018: page 34).

 

Given its proximity to the adjoining Health and Education precinct it will likely continue to provide a proportion of future Health and Education jobs.

 

Recommendation

 

The findings of the Draft 2036 Plans confirm that the existing Commercial Core land along Pacific Highway (west of the St Leonards train station) is a ‘priority for job intensification’ and will likely contribute to future health and education jobs and is therefore supported. 

 

Conclusion

 

The North District Plan as the overarching strategic planning document for this District, states that the intended outcomes of the St Leonards Planned Precinct investigations are – ‘to grow jobs, housing and infrastructure within the precinct’. This relationship calls for the Draft 2036 plans and supporting documents to be consistent with this basic intention.

 

The further actions and expectations of the North District Plan are designed to strike a balance between retaining commercial, mixed use (including residential) and new residential development in strategic centres.  As a Strategic Centre, the draft 2036 plans must have employment growth as the principal underlying economic goal, with a designated and defined commercial core to manage and prevent new housing from constraining the ongoing operation and expansion of commercial and retail activities. It is for these reasons that:

 

“A balance must be struck in providing adequate mixed-use or residential zoned land around the commercial core zone to ensure new residential developments can benefit from access and services in centres”.

 

(North District Plan, 2018: page 67)

 

It is important to note that the existing Commercial Core zoning is currently clearly defined around St Leonards train station, Royal North Shore Hospital (along Pacific Highway) and across from the Crows Nest Metro Station, this should remain in place to prevent the adverse impact of additional residential development from ‘crowding out’ much needed commercial activity.

 

Alignment of the Draft 2036 Plans with the North District Plan has not yet been achieved. Consideration of the facilitated workshop findings and other relevant planning matters have revealed that there are positive aspects, aspects that require change and aspects that require further consideration.

 

In particular, the Draft 2036 Plans have not fully considered the flow-on impacts of recent commercial office development approvals in the area, recent leasing activity of existing commercial buildings for long term periods or the impacts that the Metro Station will have on improving the accessibility and desirability of the Crows Nest / St Leonards commercial office market. Important evidence from the recent Crows Nest Metro Development Application noted that in terms of the commercial office market:

 


 

“Crows Nest/St Leonards is currently experiencing a supply deficit due to stock continuing to be withdrawn for residential conversions”.

(AT-8, 2018: page 43)

 

Therefore it is recommended that the Draft 2036 plans be amended to have a greater focus on retaining and expanding upon existing commercial land close to the St Leonards train station and Crows Nest Metro Station in order to better leverage off the new Metro Station to deliver additional employment capacity and grow jobs in the centre.

 

In terms of the ‘Significant sites’ rezoning approach, analysis by staff has demonstrated that some sites described in the draft plans are not suitable for rezoning as these sites would not be able to meet either the performance criteria, significant site criteria, nor the objectives and actions of the Draft 2036 plans. Due to an irregular site configuration and presence of tall buildings in close proximity one site in Lane Cove (closest to the St Leonards train station – Significant Site 1) should not even be considered as a ‘Significant site’. Following on from this, changes to mixed use zonings (existing and proposed) in the broader precinct should be reduced in order to maintain a better balance of commercial, mixed use (residential) and new residential development in the precinct.

 

The draft 2036 Plans need to take a more measured and considered approach at this point in time with regard to significant sites and include a timing mechanism in order to re-evaluate the plan when the Crows Nest Metro Station has been delivered and is operational in the short to medium term. Given that the need for new residential development can potentially be satisfied elsewhere in the precinct, without compromising the attraction and growth of jobs in the short to medium term, having a longer term focus on retaining commercial land is even more important as it would achieve better consistency with the North District Plan’s actions.

 

Overall, given the current District Plan actions, the effectiveness of Council’s considered and strategic ‘pilot’ projects, the attraction of world class tenants in existing commercial buildings, increased demand/desirability for more commercial office space, and falling commercial vacancy rates, a case for more mixed use rezonings cannot be demonstrated or supported.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That Council considers the Draft St Leonards/Crows Nest 2036 Plan & associated studies to be generally consistent with the North District Plan. Having regard to the strategic planning framework (i.e. North District Plan), facilitated workshop and other planning matters and authorise the General Manager to make a submission highlighting the following:-

 

Positive Aspects

 

The Draft St Leonards/Crows Nest 2036 Plan & associated studies are generally considered to be consistent with the approach, strategic direction and Actions for the St Leonards Planned Precinct as set by the Greater Sydney Region Plan and the North District Plan as it:

 

·        Retains a focus for existing commercial land for employment, including land along Pacific Highway east (and west) of the existing railway line as these are the most accessible and desirable sites that could potentially attract new commercial tenants to the area (Action 34 b. of North District Plan);

·        Supports Council’s Over-rail plaza development and the proposed new open space in St Leonards South (Action 34 e. of North District Plan); and

·        Retains the Artarmon industrial area for employment land (Action 34 g. of North District Plan).

·        Includes the St Leonards South Residential Precinct Draft plans in terms of land use, built form, open space and infrastructure provision. The plans set the context, expectations and conditions for residential development within a Strategic Centre as a liveable, walkable centre, but not at the expense of existing commercial (employment) land (Action 36 b, f, g and l. of North District Plan);

·        Support key aspects of Council’s commercial revitalisation program by the considered and strategic ‘pilot’ project (mixed use) approach (Actions 36 a, b, c, and f. and Action 37 of North District Plan); and

·        Confirm that the measured development levels proposed in St Leonards South do not warrant the need for additional regional or district infrastructure as such supporting infrastructure is to be provided as part of Council’s draft plans for the Precinct.

Issues of Concern – Changes Required

 

1.     Significant Sites

·        The proposed Significant Sites do not meet the criteria of delivering a public benefit to contribute to revitalisation of the precinct, the primary purpose of additional mixed use rezonings.

·        Analysis indicates that both Significant Sites 1 and 2 should not be considered as significant or rezoned to mixed use due to site constraints that prevent them from achieving good urban design and planning outcomes. In particular Significant Site 1 would not be able to the required residential building separation distances specified in the Apartment Design Guide and the separation between building proposed in the Urban Design Report.

·        The primary objective for additional mixed use rezonings is to revitalise the area and achieve the high jobs targets in the North District Plan – this cannot be justified given that the plan fails to fully consider current strong demand for additional standalone commercial office floor space and the effectiveness of Council’s pilot project approach.

Reason

 

The primary objective for additional mixed use rezonings is to revitalise the area and achieve the high jobs targets in the North District Plan – this cannot be justified given that Lane Cove Council has already achieved this outcome as part of this pilot project approach

 

2.     Lack of Jobs Focus

·        If the high jobs target and actions specified in the North District Plan are to be achieved, then more commercial floor space is needed in this Precinct. However, recent leasing activity and development approvals have given a strong indication that there is demand for additional stand alone commercial office floor space in this area without the need for more mixed use rezonings – this is yet to be fully considered.

·        Current plans fail to captialise on this new demand for additional standalone commercial core land and need to be fully considered if the actions of the North District Plan envisaging a more adequate balance of retaining commercial, mixed use (including residential) and new residential development are to be realised.

Reason

 

Overall if the high jobs target and actions specified in the North District Plan are to be achieved, then more commercial floor space is needed in this Precinct.

 

3.     Timing of additional Mixed Use Development

·        A new statement be made in the Plan requiring a review of the Plan in 2026, after delivery of the Sydney Metro project in 2024, to consider the impacts of the Metro Station on commercial land and the effectiveness of Council’s ‘pilot’ project approach in the medium term.

Reason

Should any further mixed use development be recommended by the Draft 2036 Plan it must have regard to the Greater Sydney Commission’s comments and only be considered by Council after delivery of the Sydney Metro project in 2024. This would provide a period of review in order to evaluate and monitor the impacts of the Metro Station on commercial land and the effectiveness of Council’s ‘pilot’ project approach in the medium term.

4.     Lack of Connectivity

·        That Council re-iterate that given the likely large pedestrian volumes that will be generated by the Metro Station, it is considered critically important that in addition to the measures mentioned in the draft studies, that provision for an underground connection from Oxley Street to the underground Metro Station (on the other side) be investigated and integrated into Metro Station planning.

·        Council’s preference is for pedestrian underpass connections to St Leonards station and Crows Nest Metro stations (possibly SIC-funded) Likewise, a pedestrian crossing of River Road is supported.

Reason

To minimise disruption to traffic flows and maximise pedestrian amenity, convenience and safety.

5.     Special Infrastructure Contributions

·        In lieu of the Draft 2036 Plan findings Council does not support the imposition of the SIC for the St Leonards South Precinct – and requests a formal exemption from the imposition of the SIC on the St Leonards South area only.

Reason

Technical studies (i.e. SIC – Feasibility Testing report and other technical infrastructure studies) demonstrate that St Leonards South has “no capacity to pay”, timing of planning proposal pre-dates the “announcement of a proposed SIC” and no regional or district infrastructure required to support St Leonards South.

6.     Actions and Recommendations of Draft 2036 Plan Relating to Overshadowing Plus Consideration of Planning Proposals

·        Given the NSW Government Architect’s advice all solar height planes (on page 26), solar access controls (on page 49) be amended in order to be consistent with the Apartment Design Guide and Land and Environment Court principles.

·        Actions and Recommendations on page 49 should be amended to state “Only Planning Proposals supported or initiated by councils be considered during the life of this plan” to achieve better consistency with the related objective.

Reason

 

To ensure actions align with the related objective.

 

Further Considerations

 

7.     Social Infrastructure and Open Space

·        Social Infrastructure and Open Space Study to be amended to better acknowledge and incorporate Lane Cove Council’s new Community Strategic Plan and Delivery Program (and findings) – particularly in relation to families.

·        Other studies also need to be amended to acknowledge that, in precinct terms, that the Lane Cove portion contributes 73% of all new public open space within the Planned Precinct.

·        Overall, while the Draft 2036 Plan expresses support for Council’s plans for new open space in St Leonards, it should consider the expansion of other quality and different types of Open Space and social infrastructure across the remainder of precinct to support population growth.

·        Proposed expansion of the existing pocket park along Lithgow Street to the new Plaza as a linear park (Draft Green Plan) on Pacific Highway is not possible; this should be a shared user path only.

8.     Schools

·        The Draft 2036 Plan to adopt the Department of Education comments described above and specify the location and type of schools in the Precinct.

Reason

To provide greater certainty to all stakeholders.

 

9.     Transport Connectivity

·        As the Crows Nest Metro Development Application only addresses provision of a transport interchange in a very general sense by stating that an Interchange Access Plan “will be developed” as part of the future detailed application – a more integrated approach is required .

·        The space requirements for any potential amelioration or interchange (particularly where a building is proposed) should be considered upfront, as this may impact building setbacks and, in turn, building envelopes.

·        If only one interchange is provided in the precinct, Council indicates a preference for a separation of pedestrian and road traffic and pedestrians i.e. a underground crossing..

Reason

Given the large number of people (pedestrian, cycle etc) and the findings of the studies, a bus stop upgrade would be is needed between the 2 stations.

10.  Tree Planting

·        Amend Figure 27 of the Draft 2036 Plan to better accord with tree planting principles.

·        Given that the Draft Green Plan considers the proposed changes to zoning and the Draft St Leonards South Plans go further in terms of measures, these plans should be acknowledged.

Reason

 

In some instances, Council’s draft plans for St Leonards South have gone into much further detail. All ‘pilot’ projects in St Leonards CBD have now been approved and under construction.

 

11.  Sustainability Measures

·        Amend Sustainability Considerations section in Utilities Report to state where there is potential for conflict between provision of green roofs and solar panels ‘urban design outcomes must be considered’.

Reason

Eliminate any potential conflicts that could arise for limited rooftop space.

12.  Mix of Housing Types

·        Council agrees with future approach suggested by Market Feasibility and Employment Review for Department to undertake follow up planning to deliver medium density in other areas around the strategic centre.

Reason

 

To ensure housing diversity.

 

13.  Retaining Commercial Land on Pacific Highway (West of Railway Line)

·        The findings of the Draft 2036 Plans confirm that the existing Commercial Core land along Pacific Highway (west of the St Leonards train station) is a ‘priority for job intensification’ and will likely contribute to future health and education jobs – this is supported.

Reason

Analysis conducted during Draft St Leonards South Master Plan phase confirmed that built form from Mixed Use along Pacific Highway (west of railway line) would result in unacceptable built form outcomes and would take away valuable commercial land that primarily related to the Royal North Shore Hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Mason

Executive Manager

Environmental Services Division

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:

AT‑1View

Mayoral MINUTE - St Leonards and Crows Nest Draft 2036 Plan

1 Page

 

AT‑2View

KJA Draft 2036 Plans Report

41 Pages

 

AT‑3View

Fact Sheet for Draft 2036 Plan Report

16 Pages

 

AT‑4View

Market Feasibility and Employment Review

108 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑5View

Draft 2036 Plan

75 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑6View

NSW Government Architect Advice

28 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑7View

Urban Design Report

68 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑8View

Extract from Strategic Market Assessment Report

22 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑9View

Strategic Transport Study

125 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑10View

Draft Special Infrastructure Contributions Plan - brochure

16 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑11View

Draft Special Infrastructure Contributions - Feasibility testing Report

37 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑12View

Social Infrastructure and Open Space Study

60 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑13View

Draft Green Plan

50 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑14View

Utilities Report

70 Pages

Available Electronically

AT‑15View

Draft Local Character Statement

32 Pages

Available Electronically