The Joint Regional Planning Panel has refused a $26.7 million residential flat building development in Bent St, Gosford, and deferred its decision on a $36.4 million, three-tower residential flat building at Albany St, Point Frederick.
The decision to refuse the Bent St development was unanimous at the JRPP meeting in Gosford on May 25.
The Determination and Statement of Reasons said: “The panel reviewed the council assessment report and did not agree with the overall environmental assessment, the balance of considerations under Section 79C of the EPA Act, and nor the recommendation to approve the application.
“The Clause 4.6 Variation request to the maximum height of the building standard in Gosford Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014 was not considered to be well founded.
“In particular, the panel noted that the arguments for ‘averaging’ the height standards to avoid significant variations in scale lead to a significant height non-compliance at the eastern portion of the site.”
It said the resulting development would have led to an “unacceptable height transition to existing and likely future development in the area.
“There were no compelling environmental planning grounds to support the variation request and the panel did not accept the proposal resulted in a ‘better’ form of development compared to a proposal which complied with the height limit,” the determination said.
The JRPP said the proposal was inconsistent with the following building height objectives: to permit building heights that encourage high-quality urban form; to ensure that buildings and public areas continue to receive satisfactory exposure to sky and sunlight; to nominate heights that will provide an appropriate transition in built form and land use intensity; and to ensure that taller buildings are located appropriately in relation to view corridors and view impacts, and in a manner that is complementary to the natural topography of the area.
The panel also noted that, while the proposal did have the benefit of the 30 per cent bonus to the maximum height and floor space ratio due to Clause 8.9 of Gosford LEP 2014, the clause had since lapsed and that would affect the likely future character of the area, causing the height transition issues to become more pronounced.
“The proposed setbacks, in particular to the east and west boundaries, do not comply with State Environmental Planning Policy 65 and associated Apartment Design Guidelines.
“The use of blank walls to ameliorate separation issues causes unsatisfactory visual impacts, amenity impacts and overall built form.
“The internal amenity is not considered to be high, including bedrooms with borrowed light over living areas and no windows, non-compliance with sunlight access in the Apartment Design Guidelines and a general lack of openings for light and ventilation.
“The reliance on blank walls on the subject and adjoining sites, particularly to the east (assuming their redevelopment) would not result in a high-quality urban form.
“The proposal leads to an unsympathetic interface with existing and likely future development.
“The proposal does not adequately respond to or achieve design excellence as required by Clause 8.5 of the GLEP 2014.
“The proposal is considered to be an over-development of the site…is considered to result in an isolated site to the east, and while the applicant’s efforts and their response from Land and Housing Corporation is acknowledged, this should not obviate the need for an appropriate built form in the context of core planning controls and existing and likely future development in the surrounding area.”
The JRPP also noted “various Development Control Plan (DCP) non-compliances including maximum building depth and setbacks.”
It concluded the proposal would lead to adverse overshadowing and visual impacts to surrounding and adjoining land, part of which is directly attributable to the height non-compliance.
“Approval of this application would not be in the public interest and would create an undesirable precedent due to the significant height non-compliance for a proposal not considered to exhibit design excellence and with no compelling justification,” the panel concluded.
The DA was for an 80-unit residential flat building at 14 Bent St, Gosford.
It included 14 residential levels, three basement car parking levels and 84 car parking spaces.
The site is located on the northern side of Bent St between Watt St and Henry Parry Dve.
The three-tower residential flat building at 177 Albany St, Point Frederick, was also considered by the panel when it met in Gosford on May 25, but a decision on whether to approve or reject the application was deferred.
The proposed development originally comprised 111 units made up of 26 one bedroom units, 58 two bedroom units and 27 three bedroom units, over 156 car parking spaces accessed via Duke St and Auburn St.
In addition, according to the JRPP development and planning register, this development includes large areas of communal open space.
The amended development consisted of 101 units, with 20 one bedroom and studio apartments, 42 two bedroom units and 39 three bedroom units, still across three blocks or towers, with two basement levels of car parking for 150 vehicles, 42 bicycles and 7 motorbikes.
The height of the development was five storeys.
According to the JRPP’s record of deferral: “The proposal had not provided sufficient evidence regarding an attempt to purchase the resulting ‘isolated site’ at 6 Auburn St and the overall proposed area would benefit from incorporation of that site into the proposal.
“Concerns were held regarding interfaces between this site and neighbouring land.
“The panel noted in particular that the impact arising from the proposed driveway immediately adjoining 12 Duke St to the east, could be addressed through redesign of the site as well as landscaping.
“Better site planning, compliance and reduced impacts would result from movement of Buildings A and B westwards, and privacy impacts to the neighbouring land warranted greater attention to materials, screening and landscaping.”
The Panel adjourned during the meeting to deliberate on the matter and formulate a resolution.
The decision was unanimous to defer the decision and require the applicant to provide further written evidence regarding attempts to incorporate 6 Auburn St, Point Frederick, having regard to a Land and Environment Court precedent.
The applicant was invited to submit an amended proposal to Central Coast Council addressing matters such as the movement of the driveway from Duke St to the basement to the west between two of the buildings; revised basement and landscaping plans; and, revision to balustrades and screening materials along the eastern elevation of buildings B and C to address privacy impacts.
Ten residents made verbal submissions in objection to the DA and eight spoke on behalf of the applicant, including Mr Cain King from CKD Architecture Services at East Gosford and Mr Anthony Denny.
According to the assessment report sent to the JRPP by Central Coast Council: “As a result of public submissions and meetings with Council, the applicant has submitted amended plans reducing the height and number of residential apartments to essentially a complying development on height and floor space ratio.
“The amended plans were advertised and 58 submissions received.”
Website, May 31
Joint Regional Planning Panel