COOLBINIA residents are crossing their fingers the WA government’s Development Assessment Panel rejects plans for 33 units and six shops at the corner of Adair Parade and Walcott Street this week.
The five-storey building will be the first of its stature in the low-lying, mostly residential area.
The owner of the empty block, developer Willing Property, reckons they deserve five storeys instead of the usual limit of three because of the “excellent design, along with the provision of high quality public spaces, verge upgrades, sustainable design principles, and a mix of land uses within the local centre,” being the shops downstairs.
Residents firmly disagreed, with more than a dozen turning up to the March 21 Stirling council meeting to protest the extra height and even more submitting written complaints.
The council doesn’t get to make the final decision, but can make a recommendation to the DAP and hope it’s followed.
That milquetoast recommendation for refusal didn’t go far enough for a lot of residents, because Stirling council’s planning staff said the building height was fine for that corner site, and they only opposed the plans on other technicalities like a lack of carparking, and the awkward location of the rubbish bins which would make trash pickup tricky.
Those smaller sticking points are easier to convince the DAP to overlook on the grounds they can be managed down the line.
Nearby resident Shawn Pearson pointed out that 263 submissions opposed the project, and “by far” the biggest problem raised was building height and bulk.
Resident Belinda Seydel asked the council “how the height scale of the development can be supported when it not only exceeds a three-storey limit on builds in that zone, but will impact residents’ privacy and neighbouring lots and increase the noise to unacceptable levels?”
Councillors heeded the public’s outcry and rewrote a sterner recommendation to the DAP, saying the height wasn’t okay and five storeys “is not consistent with the streetscape and will impact on the amenity of the local area,” given the surrounding area is a heritage protection zone.
The DAP was due to vote on the matter on March 30 just after we went to print.
by DAVID BELL