Refuse DA (10.2017.221) for a new four-storey unit development in Hurlstone Park

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The residents of Hurlstone Park strongly oppose ANY RE-DEVELOPMENT of No 322-326 Canterbury Road Hurlstone Park (in-between Hurlstone Park McDonalds, and the Paint Shop), as we are all seriously concerned with the potential ramifications upon their daily residential amenity which would be severely compromised if the proposed four storey shop-top housing development were to be approved.

It should be noted that a previous development application (DA 10.2016.160 – demolition of all structures and construction of four storey shop-top housing, comprising ground floor shops/business premises and 34 dwellings above with basement car parking), was refused. On this basis, it is clear that the current proposal of similar nature is inconsistent with desired future character of area as evidenced by the previous decision of the Inner West Council (former Ashfield Council).

The proposal is not supported for the following main reasons:

1.     Excessive Bulk and Scale of the development

The four storey development is out of context with the development directly adjoining to the north, south and west of the subject site which is primarily comprised of single and two-storey dwelling houses. The four storey development would result in sense of enclosure to these surrounding dwellings. This is exemplified by the non-compliance with the Floor Space Ratio Control (Ashfield LEP 2013), and the maximum number of permitted storeys (Inner West DCP 2016). Refer to Point 5 and 6 of this letter for discussion.

Recommendation: We oppose the erection of a multi-storey mixed-use development. We request that the proposal be reduced to a smaller scale development consistent with the small scale neighbouring dwellings. The reasoning behind this is to ensure that this development does not set a precedent for other large scale developments within a mainly Low Density Residential (R2) zoned block, under the provisions of the Ashfield Local Environmental Plan 2013 (ALEP 2013).

2.     Transition between zones

The sites to the rear (west) of the proposed development are zoned for Low Density Residential (R2) and the subject site is located within the Enterprise Corridor (B6) zone. In essence, the adjoining sites to the rear (west) are severely compromised by the potential development of the subject sites. Relevant case law established by the Land and Environment Court in Seaside Property Developments Pty Ltd v Wyong Shire Council, provides some guidance when considering development at zone interface. The conclusions reached within this case concludes, “...any development proposal in one zone needs to recognise and take into account the form of existing development and/or development likely to occur in an adjoining different zone...”. As such, the subject development whilst a permissible form of development is still required to take into consideration the adjoining zones.

Recommendation: We oppose the erection of a multi-storey mixed-use development. We request that the proposal be reduced to a smaller scale development consistent with the small scale neighbouring dwellings. The reasoning behind this is to ensure that this development relates appropriately to the low scale development to the west and south of the subject site.

3.     Inconsistent with the character of surrounding properties

The proposed development is inconsistent with the surrounding character which is typified by federation period style detached dwellings. The proposed contemporary style four storey development is out of character with the low-scale detached dwellings located to the west and south of the subject site. The proposed development is much larger in scale however it also involves a significant amount of glazed openings, aluminium louvers/windows and cladding which will result in an eyesore that is inconsistent with the ‘heritage style’ brick construction, and terracotta tiled roofing of the low scale dwellings surrounding the subject site.

Recommendation: We oppose the development as the introduction of such elements into the streetscape would undermine the established heritage character of the surrounding locality.

4.     Loss of visual and acoustic privacy

The proposed development will result in a significant loss of both visual and acoustic privacy to surrounding properties in the following manner:

  • The significant number of balconies and windows to the rear (western) elevation off main living areas would substantially impact upon the privacy and enjoyment of the properties to the west (rear), south and north-west of the proposal. This will present a significant amount of direct overlooking opportunities into areas of private open space and habitable room windows;
  • The raising of ground floor levels to rear yard would result in potential overlooking of properties to the west (rear) and south of the subject site;
  • The acoustic noise implications of having significantly increased density (3 dwellings to 28 units);
  • The proximity of communal areas, including a BBQ/entertainment area at the rear of the subject site will give opportunities for congregating people which will give rise to adverse noise impacts;

It is clear that as a result of the design of the proposed development the provision of a significant number of rear facing balconies will result in clear vantage into the neighbouring properties backyards, and potentially rear facing windows or rooms of the adjacent properties. As per the case of Lim v Woollahra Municipal Council [2010] NSW LEC 1252, the issue of privacy was addressed in regards to rear facing windows which provided a clear vantage into neighbouring internal and external living areas. A solution was suggested in this regard as to translucent glazing of windows, as this was recognised a valid concern by surrounding residents.

Further to this Skyworks NSW Pty Ltd v Randwick City Council [2012] NSW LEC 1269, provided a situation in which designs were amended to include translucent screens on rear facing balconies in the interest of privacy. It is evident from the provided documentation that privacy concerns have not been adequately addressed and the privacy concerns of the rear facing balconies have not been met.

The effect of rear facing balconies will lead to a loss of amenity in outdoor and indoor living areas of adjacent properties. Furthermore, the ability to peer into surrounding dwellings is insensitive to cultural and religious practises, causing discomfort and distress to the neighbours.

Recommendation: We oppose the development as the proposal will undermine the residential amenity of the surrounding area resulting in adverse visual and acoustic privacy implications. In Meriton v Sydney City Council [2004] NSWLEC 313, general privacy principles were established which assist in guiding development. In essence, a development is to take into consideration density, separation, use and design when considering privacy. In this case it was stated, “...in a low-density area, the objective should be to achieve separation between windows that exceed the numerical standards...” and , “...Overlooking of neighbours that arises out of poor design is not acceptable...”.  In this instance whilst numerical compliance may be argued to be achieved by the proposal in terms of separation this is not necessarily sufficient. It is recommended the minimum rear setback should be increased to mitigate any adverse privacy impacts. The upper level is recommended to be deleted and at the minimum a 15m rear setback is to be imposed to the entire development.

We also request that fixed privacy screening, whether it is translucent, timber or masonry, be erected to a height of 1.7m to all rear (west) facing balconies to preserve privacy of neighbouring properties. We also request that a privacy impact report be undertaken to determine the entire extent of the potential breaches that would occur if the development was to be constructed as proposed. This would allow for an assessment of the potential loss of amenity of outdoor living areas if the residents of the apartments are able to view activities while using their balconies.

            The significant amount of balconies and windows to the rear (western) elevation off main living areas would substantially impact upon the privacy and enjoyment of the properties to the west of the proposed development. As discussed above, the minimum rear setback should be increased to mitigate any privacy impacts. A further request would be to plant mature dense trees, such as conifers, within close proximity to maintain the privacy of those properties to the west of the proposal.

5.     Number of Storeys

The proposal fails to comply with Chapter D7 of the Comprehensive Inner West Council DCP 2016. DS7.1 states, “Maximum building heights are shown on the Ashfield LEP 2013 Height of Buildings Map" The maximum number of storey on the subject site is limited to a maximum number of 3 storeys.

Recommendation: We oppose the development in its current form and seek the deletion of the uppermost 4th storey in order to achieve compliance with DS7.1 in the Comprehensive Inner West Council DCP 2016.

6.     Non-compliance with Floor Space Ratio

The proposed development fails to comply with the applicable Floor Space Ratio (1.5:1) development standard under Part 4.4 of the Ashfield LEP 2013. The applicant has detailed compliance with FSR. This is however due to exclusion of ‘winter gardens’, ‘balconies’, and internal ‘zen garden’ voids from the calculation of Gross Floor Area (GFA). The definition of GFA under the standard instrument is to be calculated to include:

(i)             terraces and balconies with outer walls less than 1.4 metres high,

As per recommendation in Point 4 above, which recommends privacy screens to be installed along the edges of the balconies to height of 1.7m to ensure privacy is retained, will in effect further contribute to GFA calculation and therefore further non-compliance with the FSR.

Recommendation: We oppose the development as it exceeds the applicable FSR of the subject site. The proposal has not been accompanied by a Clause 4.6 variation to justify non-compliance with the applicable FSR. The development should be refused on this basis as there are no environmental planning grounds to justify non-compliance with the FSR development standard.

7.     Solar Access

The site to the south and sites to the south-west in particular would be significantly compromised in terms of solar access.

Recommendation: We oppose the development as it would severely compromise the sunlight afforded to the surrounding sites in particular those located directly to the south of the subject site. This will in turn result in rising damp and potential impacts upon respiratory health of the residents.

8.     Raising of levels

The rear communal open space areas as proposed are proposed significantly above the existing ground level of the sites to the west. This will result in potential overlooking into private open spaces of adjoining properties. Any overlooking arising from the proposed development may result in causing of significant discomfort and distress to neighbours.

Recommendation: We oppose the raising of any levels to the rear outdoor areas as it would severely compromise the privacy of the adjoining neighbours. This needs to be addressed as part of the assessment of the application.

9.     Increased traffic in Queen St as a result of the development

Westbound traffic on Canterbury Road would not be able to turn into the proposed development due the median strip preventing right-hand turns. As such, westbound traffic associated with the development would be required to do a loop up through Griffith Street and around Queen Street back onto Canterbury Road. The existing on-street situation already includes traffic which is regularly banked up from where Queen Street intersects with Canterbury Road and all the way past Griffith Street and down towards Hanks Street. This is particularly evident during the morning and afternoon peak periods.

Recommendation: The proposed development will add further traffic generation to an already compromised local traffic network. This is attributed to the significant number of new developments being proposed and currently under construction along Canterbury Road which will continue to add to the traffic issues of the area. The proposal should be refused on this basis, due to the additional traffic loads upon the local road network arising as a direct result of development which is located in a different zone.

10.  Loss of on-street car parking

The proposed development would result in the loss of on-street car parking. It is noted that the proposed development provides one (1) space for each unit, this is however insufficient to accommodate for the additional car parking demands which would arise for a development of such a scale. Anecdotally, a two-bedroom dwelling is likely to have more than one car. As such, the proposed development would have a short-fall in terms of adequate provision of car parking. Parking in front of the subject site on Canterbury Road which does not have permanent on-street car parking would have spill on effects of residents and visitors to the subject development parking in local streets such as Queen Street.

Recommendation: The proposed development will contribute to further loss of on-street car parking in a locality which is already has a compromised parking situation, in particular due to its close proximity to Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL which often results in visitors to the club parking in local streets. The proposal should be refused on this basis, due to the loss of on-street car parking on local streets, as a direct result of development which is located in a different zone.

11.  Demolition, Excavation and Construction impacts

The proposed development involves a significant amount of works which have the potential to adversely impact upon the surrounding residential amenity, and potential to result in adverse structural and de-stabilisation impacts during and post the demolition, excavation and construction phase of development. This uncertainty is due to the lack of the following documentation:

·       A Geotechnical Report – Due to the significant amount of excavation within close proximity to rear and side boundaries this is required to provide certainty the proposed development will not compromise the structural integrity of surrounding developments;

·       Construction Management Plan – No details have been provided in relation to how the proposed development will be constructed. Particular concern is raised in relation to the potential for structural damage to adjoining properties, hours of work, duration of construction, and if there are any measures in place such as, dust mitigation measures, noise and vibration monitoring, and the expected amount of truck movements to and from the subject site.

Recommendation: There is no certainty with regards to the potential impacts of the development if it were to be approved in terms of how the demolition, excavation and construction would be managed. As such, it is recommended a Geotechnical Report from a qualified structural engineer, and Construction Management Plan be submitted for consideration prior to any determination of this application.

12.  Light Pollution and Light Spill

The proposed development involves an excessive amount of glazed openings to the rear of the development. This would result in potential adverse lighting /glare impacts to the rear. This would comprise surrounding residential amenity and disturbance to the neighbouring residential area.

Recommendation: We oppose the significant amount of rear openings and recommend that they are either removed and/or significantly reduced in number and total area.

13.  Skyline and District View Loss

The provided documentation has made no reference to the potential impacts of the proposed development on the loss of skyline and district view loss of airport and surrounding areas.

Recommendation: We oppose the development as it would result in the loss of district view loss and loss of skyline. In Tenacity Consulting v Warringah Council [2004] NSWLEC 140 a four-step view sharing planning principle was established by the court which has not been considered as part of the applicants submission to Council. It recommended that this be addressed.

14.  Reduction in Property Value

For the reasons as listed in the above letter if the development were to be approved in its current form it would significantly reduce the property value of surrounding properties.

Recommendations

1.     Complete removal of the 4th level, or at the minimum a reduction in scale of the proposed development, to achieve compliance with the FSR and number of permitted storeys control;

2.     Downscaling of the proposed development;

3.     Rear setbacks to be increased to 15m;

4.     Orientation of rear (west) facing balconies and windows to face towards the north and east;

5.     Planting of mature aged dense screen trees such as conifers, at a minimum height of 8m, located along the entire rear (west) boundary 3m buffer zone. They are to be planted within close proximity to each other to maintain surrounding privacy;

6.     Fixed Privacy screening to the west of the rear facing balconies to a height of 1.7m;

7.     Fixed Privacy screening of the communal raised private open space areas the rear of the site to block any direct sightlines into the neighbouring property, in addition to the lowering of the raised outdoor rear communal areas to be consistent with the neighbouring properties;

8.     Address concerns relating to privacy;

9.     Address concerns relating to traffic and parking generation;

10.  Address concerns relating to view loss;

11.  Address concerns relating to noise impacts of the proposed development;

12.  Address concerns relating to demolition, excavation and construction;

 

Overall, we strongly oppose the development as it is not a welcome addition to the surrounding locality. The proposal is non-compliant with FSR and number of storey controls and it would result in detrimental impacts to neighbouring residential privacy, loss of solar access, increased traffic and parking, loss of views, construction impacts and ultimately an overdevelopment of the subject site.

For all the reasons listed above, Inner West Council should REFUSE the application or at the least, we request significant design amendment of the development proposal as it cannot be supported in its current form.



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