Panel to review refusal of mixed-use development

3D architect render (view from street)

The Peninsula Chamber of Commerce has backed the decision of developer, Jedaclew Pty Ltd, to seek a review of the Local Planning Panel’s (LPP) refusal of the mixed-use development at 227-233 Ocean View Rd at Ettalong Beach.

“The Chamber was deeply disappointed by the Panel’s earlier decision to refuse the five-storey development despite Central Coast Council recommending that it be approved,” Chamber President, Matthew Wales, said.

“This is an extremely well-designed development which clearly reflects a trend for higher density residential accommodation in Ettalong Beach.

“At a time when the Central Coast, and particularly the Peninsula, needs high-quality residential development, this proposal should have been supported by the Local Planning Panel despite the variations to some of the development standards.

“It is important that we cease relying on gun-barrel villa and townhouse developments and bring to the residential market a range of housing options including medium rise development.”

The LPP considered the proposed development at its meeting on February 4 and resolved to refuse the application for several reasons, including determining it was not consistent with the objectives of the height of buildings development standard and circumstances of the site did not justify the height standard being exceeded.

The LPP also said the proposed development was not consistent with the objectives for development in the B2 Local Centre zone, with an adequate range of retail, business, entertainment and community uses not provided.

The LPP said the development would isolate the adjacent site at 235 Ocean View Rd and may diminish the development potential of that property, thereby undermining the zone objectives.

“The planning controls in Ettalong Beach make clear provision for this type of development which is clearly supported by the professional staff at Central Coast Council,” Wales said.

“If we are genuine about investment, jobs and good quality residential accommodation, then the Local Planning Panel needs to be more flexible in its approach to mixed use developments in our town centres rather than leaving property owners with no other choice than lodging Appeals in the Land & Environment Court.”

In a statement forwarded to CCN Jedaclew Pty Ltd said they had “resubmitted their DA 57779/2019 pursuant to Section 8.2 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for a review of the deemed refused development application (by the Central Coast Planning Panel).

“The application does not seek amendments to the refused proposal, however the application is embellished with additional and updated information to highlight the Environmental Planning justification that supports the mixed use development located within the Ettalong Town Centre,” the statement from the applicant said.

“On February 4, 2021 the Central Coast Planning Panel refused DA 57779/2019 (for the same application as re-submitted), notwithstanding Council’s support for approval of the mixed use development.

“The decision was split, three-to-one with the Panels expert Town Planner, Mr Stephen Leathley, favouring approval of the application.

“The LPP consists of a chair (one vote) who has a legal background, two experts (one vote each) who have an industry/town planning background [and] a community representative (one vote) who is meant to represent the community as a whole.

“The minutes acknowledge the following, which you can find and read on Central Coast Councils DA Tracker or planning Portal, as all information is accessible to the public…Council recommendation: Approval.

“The LPP’s refusal decision of the application was against Council’s recommendation for approval.

“The author of the Planning Assessment Report is Robert Eyre, Principal Development Planner Development Assessment South.  Robert Eyre is a Senior Town Planner who is employed directly by Central Coast Council.

“His development assessment needs to be approved by the Town Planning unit manager Mr Andrew Roach and the then Director Mr S Cox both employed directly by Central Coast Council.

“Included in the Assessment Report is the recommendation for approval by the Assessing Independent Architect [so] the LPP also went against the recommendation of the Independent Architect.

“Included in the Assessment Report was all the relevant internal departments and Council staff who supported the proposal.

“The LPP went against the recommendation of internal council staff and their relevant departments.”

In relation to the LPP’s consideration of the applicant’s request for a variation to the Height of Building development standard, the applicant said: “The determination, in regard to Clause 4.6 and Clause 4.3, has written that we basically did not outline our reasons for departure adequately and sufficiently.

“The departure was justified by the Assessing Town Planning Officer and the Independent Architect as well as an expert member of the panel.

“The reasons for departure are all detailed and validated in the Assessment Report.

“Council advises all parties that have made written submissions of the panel’s decision at determination.

“Those same parties will also be advised by Council that the relevant DA has been resubmitted [for] Section 8.2 review and processed by Council.

“No one has been left in the dark here.”

A review of the determination of the proposed demolition and mixed-use development will be discussed at the next Local Planning Panel meeting on December 16.

Maisy Rae and Jackie Pearson