City Strategy & Development Committee concurs with Local Knowledge Assessment

Last night our City Strategy & Development Committee met and discussed the Ministers two DPAs. Refer my recent blog on the importance of local knowledge in a Development Plan Amendment.

We concurred with the Local Knowledge Assessment by our Mr Brown of the Ministers (Specific Sites) DPA. Led by my observations in support of his assessment and a motion moved by me the committee has recommended Council go further than his recommendation.

As noted in my last blog post Mr Brown provided an in-depth analysis of the Ministers DPA. This analysis demonstrated that the Specific Site DPA did not relate to his Design DPA. It fell well short of the parameters that Unley has previously demonstrated with our DPAs. Parameters that his Design DPA had been based on.

The Committee saw the Ministers DPA this way.

The most significant observations were the zoning the Le Cornu site as a Transit Zone and Unley Road Malvern as High Street. The other observation is the classification of the street behind Cappo as a primary street.

We concurred that the street behind Cappo is a narrow suburban street that should be classified a secondary street. Our recommendation will provide setbacks not provided in the proposed zoning. Setbacks that will soften the interface with the surrounding residential zone. Setbacks that will reduce the height along Chinner.

Both the Le Cornu site and the Malvern site unmistakably should both be business zones with setbacks along both Anzac Highway and Leader street, the latter to protect the interface with the residential zone to the south.

So long as setbacks are recognised we had no difficulty with the heights proposed at Le Cornu. We did however on the Unley Road site. We determined in discussions a height of 4 storeys, or even 3 with Business zone setbacks rather than high street. But we went further.

We determined that it was inappropriate that this site be included in the DPA. In a climate of low population growth, it was not necessary to isolate this site from its surrounds. Council has provided opportunity for significant growth (say 200 people) just down the road in the District Centre. This site we believe would potentially compete in a low market with the District Centre and the latter surely should be encouraged first.

Now, let us wait on whether Council concurs in two weeks or whether they would prefer changes to this recommendation.

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future?

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future or not? I trust and hope that they still are. We will find out during the next month or so.

Council has been working on a series of Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) over the last 10 years or so. These DPAs have systematically been working through changes to our development plan to accommodate the State Governments 30-year plan.

Legislation requires us to develop and adopt development plans that are in accord with the State’s overarching development plan. If we fail to do this the Government, through the Planning Minister, can do it for us.

Throughout the 10 years we have consulted widely with our ratepayers. When the process began we and our community where clearly of one mind. That was to prevent our heritage conservation zones and our streetscape zones from being highjacked in the name of development by the Government. We were also of the same mind in avoiding wholesale 2 for 1 development throughout our suburbs.

My understanding is that our community understood that there was a price to pay for these protections. I was not on Coucnil back then. The price was that there would be high rise development potential made possible in the major corridors and in what we call Unley Central.

We won those protections. The State Government is therefore placing their trust in us to deliver as promised. To date our commitment has been partly met. The development plan now caters for higher development in the two main corridors. That is namely Unley Road and Greenhill Road.

Unley Central

The next step is to deliver on Unley Central. Are Unley Council and their residents working together on Unley Central?

I implore our community to remember if the Government is not satisfied with our recommendation they can amend the plan. They will do that in a manner of their choosing. We won’t get a say in it.

That could be to not change the unlimited heights possible now and simply facilitate development by allowing mixed use. Mixed use I suggest is the element that has probably prevented any redevelopment in this area to date.

No-one other than the Government (oh and developers) would want this option to win the day.

During March, Council will have three meetings at which the Unley Central DPA will be discussed. All three will be open to the public to attend and watch us go through our deliberations. Watch as we power our way through the results of a recent public consultation to determine what recommendations we put to the minister and his government.

Without pre-empting the result, I am sure that Council have listened. Adjustments are bound to be made to the draft plan. Heights will surely be reduced in some areas.

Whatever changes are or are not made I trust our community will respect what we do.

Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct

Inspired by what we learnt through the Development Plan Amendment for the Unley Central Precinct, Council has developed a vision for the Civic Centre site. We have determined to lead the way in revitalising the precinct with a potential redevelopment of the Civic Centre.

Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct has been for a long time now to revitalise the heart of Unley. We expect this by generating new activity in the precinct and providing more opportunity for residential living. Redevelopment of this site is an ideal catalyst to achieve this.

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We have taken notice of feedback received during the DPA process. Rather than just facilitate it we realise we can play a crucial and lead role in shaping the Unley Central Precinct and in rejuvenating Unley Road. This should spark interest by others in seeing the potential of developing other sites in the Unley Central Precinct.

Our Mayor, Lachlan Clyne, has said in his public announcement of the project “I back a redevelopment of this site 100 per cent and I am excited about hearing our community’s ideas as they engage in the process.

I fully back our Mayor. This is an exciting project which has so much potential for our community.

We have no set view on what any redevelopment might include other than:

  • it will fit within the guidelines (particularly height) of the Development Plan and not stretch beyond,
  • it will be a mixed-use facility in the true sense of the development plan, providing new civic and (importantly) community facilities,
  • it will include extensive residential use in the upper floors,
  • the heritage buildings now housing the Library & the Museum will be retained,
  • the Village Green will also be retained, possibly enhanced.

Council will investigate over the next 12 months how the redevelopment of the Civic Complex on Unley Road might look. With the help of our community we also determine what services it might provide the community of Unley.

By selling the air rights above the Civic Centre we can fund the project without impacting on rates. This means we can provide improved or enhanced current facilities and/or provide new facilities our community is asking for, whatever they may be at no cost to the community. We would remain as manager of what would be a community title for development.

Watch this space as Council’s Vision for the Unley Central Precinct evolve with your help.

 

Mayors seek endorsement from Councils to support AdeLINK study

Mayors of Councils affected by the State Government’s proposed AdeLINK project are supportive of the concept. They will all be seeking endorsement of a study proposed by the Minister for Transport & Infrastructure from their councils to test the feasibility of AdeLINK.

Last Thursday the Lord mayor hosted a summit on Light Rail.  At the summit Stephen Mulligan, the State Government Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, outlined his vision for light rail in Adelaide, known as AdeLINK. A series of presenters then provided examples of how light rail has positively impacted on Sydney and the Gold Coast.

Unley-Central-Concept-Image-for-YSU

I found the summit very informative and enlightening. A panel of experts presented to us and the media. They highlighted successful examples of light rail projects in Sydney and the Gold Coast.

There was a consensus amongst the presenters that Light Rail is much more than a transport project. It was more a City Building Project. Examples were provided where property development has been encouraged by the promise of light rail in the precinct. Examples were also provided to demonstrate that business profitability has improved where light rail precincts have occurred.

I must say I saw evidence of vibrancy around light rail in my recent trip to the Gold Coast, supporting these claims.

In the absence of our Mayor and at the invitation of the Lord Mayor I then attended a meeting after the Summit of the Mayors of the affected councils and the Minister.

At that meeting the mayors agreed on positive ways forward on light rail plans.

The meeting was supportive of AdeLINK and agreed to:

 Make light rail a key priority

 Provide in principle support for AdeLINK and to take this back to respective Councils for endorsement

 Participate in the development of the State Government’s business case for AdeLINK

 Consider all funding options (but are not in favour of new taxes on the community)

 Reconvene within 2-4 weeks

As an attendee at that meeting and after debriefing our Mayor I will be putting forward a motion at our upcoming council meeting, this Tuesday reflecting this.

Unley Central to progress to Design Lab

My Development Strategy & Policy Committee and subsequently Council have been briefed on the results of the recent public consultation. Council has accepted the encouragement of the Committee to move to the next stage of the DPA process.

After some confusion over the public conversation in December the Committee the considered whether or not it was pertinent to continue general consultation before engaging with stakeholders. They felt that we received worthwhile feedback from the public and of sufficient quality to proceed to the next step. Council concurred.

Unley-Central-Concept-Image-for-YSUThe next step is to conduct what we are calling a “Design Lab”.

Staff are busy preparing now for the Design Lab. They are taking on board the information solicited from both the public and the committee. Again we received a rich contribution from the independent members of the committee.

Public feedback was quiet constructive. People recognised the need for may I suggest “controlled” high rise redevelopment. What we did hear among other things was an eagerness for us to take into consideration such things as traffic flow, shared roads with safer bicycle and pedestrian access, parking, and a soft interface with surrounding residential zones.

The Design Hub which is likely to occur mid April will take the form of a long workshop. Participants will be encouraged to provide some input into detail. We can then progress the Development Plan Amendment to a point where it can be presented to the public for final comment. This I expect will be somewhere between June and November. It can then proceed to the minister.

Participation will be by invitation only. They will be drafted from what you might call key stakeholders. This would include as I see it:

selected major property owners,

potential developers,

community,

heritage and environmental groups such as FOCUS,

bike user groups,

representatives of The Unley Business and Economic Development and Infrastructure and Sustainability Committees,

the Unley Road Traders Association,

Council staff and Elected Members

and relevant State Government departments.

 

The ‘Design Lab’ will be structured to test a number of potential design and land use options for the precinct.

The intent of the Design Lab is to identify a preferred option that best meets stakeholder and community aspirations within the Governments objectives.

That is our challenge. Wish us luck.

Maud Street Kerb Build out.

The preferred option for addressing the safety concerns at the intersection of Maud Street and Unley Road was put out to consultation on the understanding that it would not proceed if there was significant community opposition to it.

On the face of it this means we should rescind our decision. Let’s face it we have significant opposition.

 

This opposition however is ill founded and of our own making. We have not communicated well the message that would allow our rate payers the opportunity to make an informed response.

Safety

Here we are trying to make the intersection of Maud Street and Unley Road a safer one. We are doing this by asking the Mothers Milk to provide bollards and by our narrowing the throat of the entrance into Maud Street.

Narrowing the side street entrance which is what we are paying for is seen by experts as a safety measure. This is going to be the core of upgrading soon of Goodwood Road and its numerous side streets. It could also be integral to the redevelopment of King William Road if and when that may come before us.

And yet we see a number of respondents claim this will make the area less safe.

Financial Contribution

What we have proposed is a good precedence I would have thought and far from setting the wrong precedence.

We originally expected Mothers milk to pay the whole cost of the project. That is until we recognised that the kerb build out is something we are considering elsewhere without seeking financial contribution from the other businesses.

The fact is the business will be paying for that which they should be responsible, the bollards. Any other business wanting protection that will require bollards will recognise they will have to pay for them.

Loss of Carparking

As has often been the case before the Development Assessment Panel we are being told that we cannot afford to lose the carparking spaces this project will take. I have heard this argument time and time again for Development applications along King William Road and yet we still have not seen evidence with approval after approval of carparks not being accessible on this strip.

Our own internal measuring indicates that the concern is not well founded. We are being told that parking in Maud Street when the café is not open is at 63% and when they are it is 84%. Yes this is up, but it is far from being an issue.

We must surely be bold enough to show some leadership here and at the risk of alienating some recognise their concerns are indeed ill founded for no fault of their own and support the street build out.

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We should have more kerb build outs and we should be striving to do so over time, be it soon on Goodwood Road, King William Road or the road in question tonight, Unley Road. This ticks so many of the boxes in our Community Plan and it would be wrong to back down.

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This is a copy of my contribution to the debate last night at Council on whether we should continue and build the kerb build outs on Maud Street Unley. A majority of 7 to 3 saw it similarly and the motion to proceed was passed.

Higher Focus on Higher Density Development

Higher Density Development is back on agenda for the City of Unley. The Minister for Planning John Rau has announced stage 2 of the State Government’s Inner Metro Growth project.

 

It appears the minister is in hurry to get his inner metro plan down. While the City of Unley is about to commence our next DPA he is ready to role out a plethora of others nearby. It appears it is likely that Unley will experience a frenetic period of DPA’s.

While we focus on Unley Central it looks like we are going to be competing with a bunch of ministerial DPA’s. This will include one each for the following areas:

Goodwood Road,

the remainder of Unley Road,

Anzac Highway,

King William Road,

and Leader Street.

Higher density development by way of higher density DPA’s Hope this does not confuse everyone.

His press release follows.

stage2dpaconsultation

 

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