People Power Only Works When Applied. Kaufland development deferred.

For people power to work the people must stand up. This I suggest did not occur yesterday when the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) hearing heard representations yesterday.

If you have not heard already, the Anzac Highway Le Cornu Kaufland development has been deferred. SCAP have, since receiving the representations, deliberated and decided the development is sufficiently at variance to the City of Unley Development Plan to warrant a number of issues addressed.

Only two people represented against the development. One of these used a proxy in Goodwood Ward Councillor Luke Smolucha.

More could have represented and chose not to use people power. Those who represented focused on gaining concessions rather than against the proposed development, many of which are included in the Panel’s requirements.

I sense both groups may have wrongly felt it was a fait-accompli and not worth challenging.

As a witness to the proceedings yesterday I had two overwhelming impressions. Firstly, I was impressed with Kaufland’s project manager Sam.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayHe demonstrated to me he had an empathy for those in the community disturbed by the impact their development might have in the community. He gave a number of assurances during the hearing.

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The most significant of these was that he would ensure that deliveries would be via Maple Street. Drivers would not use Leah and Leader Streets to access the site. After the hearing he gave me a personal assurance that he would also ensure that the contract for construction of the development would also not use Leah Street to access the site.

In particular, he agreed that the demolition, earthmoving and concrete trucks would not use Leah Street. This is now on the public record as I expect this will be highlighted in the Eastern Courier meaning it is public knowledge.

They also worked hard to address a significant variance to Council’s development plan concerning at grade carparking. They are proposing to provide extensive screening to avoid what I highlighted on my recent blog concerning this deficiency.

The second overwhelming feeling I got from attending was my perception with the paradigm of the panel, while different to the community, was correct.

They were, in my opinion, concerned that the development was at significant variance from the objectives of Council’s Development Plan. Members of the panel sought feedback from nearly all who spoke on the question of it being a major supermarket with no residential component. This included both representors and Kaufland’s representatives.

They were almost begging for opposition on these grounds. Looking I  suspect for people power to present itself.

Their concerns mirrored my own assessment, as I blogged on back in May. The absence of a response was, in my mind, a trigger for them to consider approval, and ultimately to seek deferral to address concerns. In other words, a lack of opposition bought about the fait-accompli the community felt warranted rolling over on.

I truly believe that had there been greater numbers of people (greater people power) representing and/or an emphasis placed by those who did on highlighting the development was diametrically opposed to the development plan, the decision may have gone the other way. We will, however, never know.

Of course there is another twist to this. People Power may have felt the alternative was equally or more unpalatable. That being that the development plan allows for up to 6 storey development.

On a brighter note. Kaufland may prove to be a good corporate citizen and neighbour however.

As I indicated earlier, we may find that many of the fears our community may have may actually be just that; fears. I was once told that humans spend 80% of their time worrying about things that will never happen. That may prove accurate here.

If I have assessed Kaufland’s paradigm correctly, that may prove to be the case with the LeCornu development.

And …. the panel itself is clearly seeking the best possible solutions, to the benefit of the community.

The proposed Kaufland Development on the LeCornu Anzac Highway site is fundamentally flawed.

The proposed Kaufland Development on the LeCornu Anzac Highway site is fundamentally flawed. As I argued in my other blog today it is seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

I argued it is diametrically the opposite of the vision the State Government and the Council have for this site. A vision for medium density housing.

The Government was quite clear in how it looked to house our population into the future. It was by focusing on increasing residential density in the inner rim council areas. The development plan recognises this. The proposal does not. It recreates the carparking focus of the past.

Car parking at grade is a major component of this development. Because of the focus on this, the proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The development plan views this site as primarily in a residential area. To compliment this, one of the Principles of Development Control in the Unley Development Plan states:

“no” vehicle parking is to be located or made visible from the Anzac Highway or Leader Street frontages, except where parking is required for people with a disability.”

In other words, the development plan recognises that parking at grade is a visual eyesore. Parking at grade (at street level) should not be a major part of a residential zone. With its retail focus, this development contravenes this basic principle.

With a focus therefore on anything but residential this development fails miserably. Because it is a retail only project, it is fundamentally flawed. Therefore, it is seriously at variance to the Development Plan.

The State Commission Assessment Panel must surely recognize the complete failure of the development to meet the fundamental requirement of the Development Plan.

Approval by the SCAP will make a mockery of what the Government and Council have endeavoured to achieve in addressing population growth. Taking a site so suited to medium density residential development and focusing it instead on a mega supermarket is diametrically opposite to the vision and should be refused.

Kaufland, Anzac Highway: Seriously at Variance to Unley Development Plan

The proposed Kaufland development on the old Anzac Highway LeCornu site is, I believe, seriously at variance to the Unley Development Plan.

Kaufland, Anzac HighwayAn initial cursory look at the plans last week had me thinking it was not seriously at variance. This was based on recognising only the built form.

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The height of the proposed structure is only 2 storeys. The set back to Anzac Highway well over the allowable 3m. The set back to Leader Street, where it abuts the adjacent residential zone, is 5m rather than the 2m allowed.

Taking an opportunity this week to check  the development proposed more thoroughly revealed to me differently. Without a doubt, the Kaufland proposal is seriously at variance to the development plan.

The Development Plan stems from the recent Ministerial (Specific Sites) DPA. A plan influenced by Council’s input. Input in keeping with our strategy for all Urban Corridor Development Zones within our Council. Input the Government (as previously reported on this blog site) is now using to correct poor design outcomes in other Council areas.

Here is the crunch.

The proposed development is a fully retail development focusing on a mega supermarket. It has no residential component. This is diametrically the opposite of what the then minister, and Council envisaged for this area.

The first two objectives for what is called Policy Area 24 within the plan are as follows:

Objective 1

A medium Density Residential area” supported” by local shops, offices and community spaces.

Objective 2

A highly varied streetscape allowing “multiple” built form design responses that supports innovative housing and mixed-use development.

 

The desired character for the policy area therefore is (as the plan says) to “primarily’ serve a residential function with support “only” of shops, offices etc. There can be no argument therefore. This development therefore is clearly seriously at variance to the intention of the development plan.

The Development Plan goes even deeper. It includes a minimum density requirement. It calls for a minimum density of 45 dwellings per hectare. The development site is 20,950 m2 in size. This means there should be at least 90 homes/units on this site

This surely is a critical requirement. Without even a single house it can therefore seriously only be viewed as seriously at variance to the plan.

This fundamental flaw in the Kaufland Development creates a major conflict for a residential area. My blog today on carparking demonstrates further that it is  seriously at variance to the development plan and should be refused.

Kaufland have confirmed their interest in the Anzac Highway Le Cornu Site

By presenting a development application Kaufland have confirmed their interest in the Anzac Highway Le Cornu site.

 

Anzac Highway LeCornu siteThey recently lodged a development application for “a new retail development”. The proposed development is only for the front 60% of the existing LeCornu site . A development that will include a major supermarket, a range of small tenancies and office space.

A development which will not contain any residential component. Accordingly the 5 storeys height allowed under the new development plan will not be reached.

Other developers will be offered the remaining eastern rear 40% in due course. When this happens it may well be a 5 storey development.

The State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) will determine the application and not Council.  Under the current planning laws we are allowed only a commentary role. We are limited to matters of direct involvement. Such matters as:

  • public realm improvements.
  • street trees.
  • stormwater.
  • traffic management.
  • waste management.
  • encroachments, or the like.

Our Administration will review the proposal.  In due course draft comments will be provided to Elected Members for our perusal and feedback before we submit them. We will then present them to SCAP.

Furthermore, the application will be subject to Category 2 public notification to adjacent properties. Notification will however be limited only to direct neighbours and property owners on the opposite side of the streets of the site within 60 metres of the boundaries of the site. Once the timing for Cat 2 notification is known, I will alert readers of this blog via my Facebook page.

In the meantime, I will seek audience with our administration so that I may view the detail of the proposal and offer assistance to Council’s input. I am aware of a number of concerns of near neighbours. I will ensure their concerns  are considered in our submission.

Minister Rau announces new DPA to focus on specific sites.

The Minister today announced a change in direction with his program of Development Plan Amendments. He announced a new DPA to focus on specific sites.

This DPA is known as ‘the Inner and Middle Metropolitan Corridor (Sites) Development Plan Amendment”.

In making the announcement he acknowledged difficulties with the Corridor DPA’s. He recognises too the redevelopment along the corridors may be a future thing rather than an early or soon thing. This means those incomplete or not commenced Corridor DPA’s will be put on hold.

The Minister is aware that there are sites that are ready to be redeveloped sooner rather than later. They have been identified too as being good opportunities for incorporating the other DPA he announced today, “the Inner & Middle Metropolitan Corridor (Design) Development Plan Amendment”.

He is focused therefore on a new DPA to focus on specific sites that provide the opportunity for early redevelopment.

Twelve sites in all have been identified. Six of these are in the City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters. There are two in our neighbour, the City of West Torrens

For Unley this focus is on the following four sites:

  1.  12-16 Glen Osmond Road (The Cappo seafood site)
  2.  301-305 Unley Road Malvern (between Cheltenham & Winchester Street)
  3.  10 Anzac Highway (The Le Cornu site)
  4.  22-28 Anzac Highway, Everard Park (between KFC and Solver)

All 4 sites could be considered a catalyst site. A site where development might occur sooner rather than later.

Both DPA’s are open for public consultation as of tomorrow. Submissions are required by 25 July. A public information session has been set for City of Unley participants on 22 June between 4.00 pm and 6.30 pm. It will be held at the Latvian Hall, 4 Clark Street Wayville.

I encourage all who have shown an interest in the recent series of DPA’s to take the opportunity to look at this one, and take part in the consultation.

Council face a DPA balancing act.

Last Tuesday night’s Unley Central DPA public forum has presented Council face a DPA balancing act. A juggle between Community and the Government.

mom-cat-balancing-act

 

Yes, after your recent input we face a DPA balancing act. We must recognise genuine concern from rate payers. At the same time, we must put a submission to the Minister for Planning, the honourable John Rau, that he will respect and not throw back in our faces.

As I noted in my last blog post we will be looking at all submissions and we will identify what we can realistically use and what we will need to carefully consider before altering.

On the one hand, we run the risk of members of our community rejecting our next draft. On the other hand, we run the risk that the Minister will reject our submission to him.

We run the risk that he will see us as abrogating our responsibility. If this happens he will rule what happens and ignore us. The result for our community will be worse than what some believe is now the case with what we are proposing.

Minister Rau could quite easily rule that the DPA will see only one change to the zone.

John-Rau-3883-850x455

 

That change would be to permit residential development. Residential development is currently the only restriction in this zone. There is no height limit, other than that imposed by the Airport.

Forget 11 storeys. Expect 25 storeys and more. Forget 3 storeys on the east side of Unley Road. The heights that apply now north of Unley Central along Unley Road is 5 storeys.

So, the challenge for Council is to put heights to the Minister that he will see as having a rationale acceptable to him. As I said above if we come back with a negative submission you, the community of Unley, will regret that Council did not work for the best possible outcome for them.

I am sure we will come back to you before any changes are put to the Minister. I ask you to show the maturity and the understanding I know the Unley community has, to work with us to ensure we can reasonably face a balancing act and have some control over the end result.

Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed but is it Dead?

The Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed without an explanation. A year has passed us by since the State Government’s Development Assessment Commission approved a 7 storey development in Unley Road.

 

Cremorne PlazaWith the Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed it does not mean it won’t proceed.

Many in the community thought approval by the DAC last year meant development was a fait-accompli. We saw business tenants move out and at least one nearby resident selling up.

All because this thing was a done deal.

The time to start having lapsed means the development will require a new approval. This if pursued will be a costly, time consuming exercise for the Developer.

Why has this happened? Is this just an aberration or is it a sign the project is dead. Is the site maybe a candidate to be another Le Cornu site.

The first thing to recognise is the approval was only against the City of Unley Development Plan. Building Rules consent is also needed and this has yet to be applied for. Applying for building rules means preparing detailed drawings and engineering. This is well beyond what was required to obtain planning consent.

The investment in time and/or money is such that they first would want to know they have financial backing for the development. This requires testing the market. Financial backing usually comes only after the developer can show an 80% pre-sale commitment.

With this in mind all we know right now is the deadline has passed. It may mean that the developer is not ready to proceed with the development (yet). It may mean on the other hand the market is not ready for such a development. Having said that high rise is being seen elsewhere as appropriate to today. It may mean from a high rise point of view that this site may simply be the wrong site.

We may not know the answer for a while yet.

So while the Cremorne Plaza Deadline passed it does not mean it won’t proceed, sometime in the future.

Reminder to have your say on Unley Central

A month ago today I blogged on the Unley Central Precinct project and asked for your input. That blog can be viewed here.

 

Thank you those of you who have already responded to the survey with the letter we sent you on the 5th of this month. The feedback we have received will be very useful when later next year we start putting together a Development Plan Amendment.

Unley-Central-Concept-Image-for-YSUThose of you who have not yet responded to the survey we encourage to so do. Your thoughts on such matters as traffic, transport and parking will be essential as we attempt to create a Development Plan that meets Council’s vision for the Unley Central Precinct and the goals of the State Governments 30 Year Plan.

We have received some very worthwhile input from residents thus far and look forward to receiving more. We ask those of you have yet to respond to do so.

What we are looking for from you are your thoughts on the importance of a variety of impacts higher density development will have on the centre or heart of our City. This will provide us considerations on how to plan for the desired urban design, built form, land use, traffic, transport, and parking to guide the preparation of a Development Plan Amendment for the area. This DPA we hope to work on and present to the minister late next year after consulting with you on its contents.

We expect to invite your further input between now and commencing on the DPA once we can tabulate and prioritise the feedback we receive from you on this first consultation.

Councils vision as part of complying with the State Governments 30 year Plan recognised not just the built form but identified opportunities to improve the public realm and the movement through the area. A copy of this plan is available at www.unley.sa.gov.au/major-projects. This has prompted the series of questions to help guide your input.

Now it’s your turn. Please help us create a city of the future that can and does accommodate population growth but in a way that enhances the lifestyle of those living there.

Summary of my thoughts on the Draft Planning Bill

In this 5th post on the subject of the draft Planning Bill introduced into Parliament by Minister Rau I will summarise the thoughts I have made public in my previous 4 blogs. With luck Mr Rau might take my thoughts on board in lieu of branding me too as one of those morons who dont understand development and planning.

 

Planning reform IS necessary. Everyone agrees with this. Everyone’s views on this are influenced by their involvement. I wear two hats, one as a builder and one as a resident and another as an elected member. My thoughts therefore have an empathy with all who have to operate in the system.

PLANNING AND INFRASTRUCTURE BILL 2015.UN.PDFAs the Bill is debated in Parliament the focus should deal with where the system needs improving. It should recognize the role everyone has to play and not focus on removing those seen as interfering with the process. Removing residents, removing councillors, indeed removing councils does nothing to help create a better system, All it does is create the opportunity for unregulated development.

 

 

Removing residents from the approval end of the process whilst understood by me fails to recognise that this is the part in the process they are best able and capable of participating in. Fixing the system will identify when and where they can contribute rather than waste their time when their involvement is not able to influence.

Removing elected members takes any potential conflict away but also prohibits those with possibly the best empathy for a street or suburb. This must surely reduce the chances of a good outcome.

Shifting focus of public participation might sound OK in principle in that it IS at the concept stage when we truly want the input of our residents. Doing so then would in theory avoid the frustration of seemingly not being heard at the end of the process. Achieving this is like leading a horse to water and expecting him to drink. He will when thirsty and that is when there is a development proposed next door.

I implore everyone in Government; the Minister and his colleagues, those in opposition, members of the Legislative Council to look closely at the changes proposed by this bill. Think hard about what issues will be created by implementing it, anticipate its flaws.

Be careful in blaming Councils as the Minister has repeatedly done. Shifting the deck chairs never has and never will solve the problem. Who will be responsible for planning decisions in the future. Minister Rau indicated back in (from memory) August last year that Councils (the Morons he referred to a month ago) are only competent enough to approve fences and carports   think it was.

The same people (paid officers) making these decisions will be the ones employed by the regional bodies making the new decisions, unless of course they are going to put out of work.

Shifting Focus of Public Consultation

In the second of this series of blogs I noted that the minister believes that the focus of public involvement in the development planning process shoudl be at the stage of development plan amendments not at the assessment stage.

 

His logic has good but limited reasoning behind it. The best time for public to be involved is at the time a development plan is being evolved or amended. This is when the legislators can be influenced by the observations provided by the public. Without contribution from you (a resident in the affected area) the parameters are set and you have under the current system little chance to influence the approval of development under that development plan. That is of course no guarantee that they will; take notice that is.

Under the current system you do get a say at the approval stage and as discussed in a previous blog perhaps on occasions when the approvers will have scant regard your observations because they are irrelevant on the day. The 2 storey addition in a 2 storey zone previously noted is evidence of this.

Under Mr Rau’s draft bill you will not get a say at all at the approval stage in favour of involving you only at the development of the plan stage. As I indicated previously this in my opinion will require the largest ever education program ever undertaken by the State…..and we know that wont happen.

 

th (1)It is simply a fact that most people will not be motivated during a development plan amendment because it is not relevant to them. Planning is a subjective beast and somewhat abstract when authorities are promoting a district wide change. It is a pity we cant get more people involved at that stage but try as we will while you can lead a horse to water you cant make him drink. That is unless he is thirsty.

 

And thirsty is what he/she will be when there is a specific project proposed next door to them.

Under the draft bill this horse will not be offered a chance to drink when thirsty because legislation will not allow it. The pond will be fenced off.

This discriminates against members of a community in the event of a development that does not meet the development plan Mr Rau wanted them to contribute to when they had little interest.

So as much as I said in yesterdays blog that if a proposed development complies with the development plan it should not be subject to public scrutiny if it exceeds the parameters of the plan then it should absolutely definitely be open to public scrutiny and not left to paid employees or a remote DAP with little empathy for the street to decide.

Unley’s Development Assessment Panel was influenced recently (as reported in a separate blog) by logical argument from residents over a phone tower at the Goodwood Oval which was non complying development and yet was proposed to be approved by the professionals.

So Minister you would have us contribute at the concept stage of creating a plan and then allow any development whether complying or not to be left in the hands of those who wont be impacted by the development, whether good or bad development.