Should the new development plans being developed to accommodate the Governments 30 year plan be simply guidelines or should some aspects be prescriptive. Should heights of buildings in a development plan be set in storeys or in metres and should there be a prescriptive ceiling?
Development plans have long been viewed within the industry as guidelines and therefore parameters contained within them are only indicative.
Many in the general public however see them as prescriptive. They are therefore often upset when something is built next door to them that appears not to be in accord with what they believe to be the development plan covering the relevant development.
As the final throws of the current development plan amendments come together and we have one last round of public consultation the concept of prescriptive vs guidelines needs to be recognised. As an extension to this we need to consider what heights we are prepared to allow prescriptively, and whether this should be in storeys, or in metres. May I suggest it needs to be in metres and it needs to be prescriptive.
Recent history in Unley demonstrates this need to look at this question.
As a member of Unley’s current Development Assessment Panel I have voted against development of 3 storeys where our Development Plan allows two. Why? Because this is a 50% increase on the “guidelines”.
My colleagues, including 4 independently appointed members (all highly qualified in planning), voted in favour of the Arthur Street, Mary Street development last year. I cannot claim to know their reasons but I suspect they did because the actual height of the buildings proposed was only marginally higher than the current 2 storey building on the site. It had much less bulk too in that the third storey was set back from the perimeters of the lower floors.
Last night we had two similar decisions to make. A three storey development not much higher than existing stock on King William Road in an area that allows two storey only. The other application, this time a 2 storey in a single storey zone. This application has been deferred after a motion to refuse by me was lost.
What does the future hold?