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Protests over Deakin McMansions.

By 7 January 2013 134

Protests over Deakin McMansion

Personally I think it’s time for this kind of thing to come to and end. Big houses right to the edge of the block don’t belong in established suburbs!

I live in West Belconnen, we had one of these cheap Rietveld-Schröder House knock offs built across the road. It’s big(almost 3 stories, right up against boundaries), ugly (purple), it looks into the neighbours yards and is so poorly designed the main living areas all face west. It goes without saying that not a single tree is left on the block (and the garden is now too small for anything but a patch of fake grass).

We are just thankful it was not built next door.

The big worry is that as our street is full of 3-bedroom single bathroom houses on big blocks (all built in the early 70s) and unless things change it’s only a matter of time before stuff starts getting demolished and the street ends up claustrophobic and over-crowded like Gungahlin.

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134 Responses to Protests over Deakin McMansions.
#1
farq9:57 am, 07 Jan 13

For those who don’t know what I mean by Rietveld-Schröder, check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietveld_Schr%C3%B6der_House.

#2
thebrownstreak699:59 am, 07 Jan 13

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

#3
Ben_Dover10:06 am, 07 Jan 13

Totally agree. Some suburbs have their character decimated by these McMansions. Most scream “look what you can do with lots of money but absolutely no taste!!”

#4
Madam Cholet10:11 am, 07 Jan 13

Obviously there will be differing opinion on this, and for what it’s worth I agree that new homes should try to reflect the existing character of the area if at all possible and should be built with sustainability in mind, so leaving some room on the boundaries, having decent eaves for extra sun protection, facing the direction that ensures it does not become a heat or ice box, insulation, water tanks, solar panels, trees kept on the block for shade etc etc.

What I don’t think is a good idea is for existing and obviously disgruntled residents to compare their area to somewhere else, and allude to the fact that their area is better, and then add the caveat, ‘not that there’s anything wrong with (insert suburb name)’. Houses should be built with sustainability in mind in any area. And if that is done, it will minimize these complaints. For the record, I don’t live in either area.

#5
farq10:16 am, 07 Jan 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

No notice was ever posted, first we knew about it was when the site was being cleared and materials delelivered.

#6
NoImRight10:20 am, 07 Jan 13

I think they are usually ugly and I wouldnt like one but I also like the idea that I get to choose the house I build and as long as it meets planning regs nobody can tell me what house I should live in. Id be more concerned if we all had to build the same house acording to someone elses’s idea of what looks good based on no more than the fact they happened to get there first.

#7
chewy1410:25 am, 07 Jan 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

According to the story in the CT, they were exempt from needing a DA.

I’m torn here between the thought of this simply being a NIMBY issue and the realisation that the house shown in the article truly is horrible.

I think there definitely needs to be a tradeoff between people being able to use their land but still keeping it within the general character of a suburb.

Two storey McMansions, covering the entirety of a block really don’t fit the character of most suburbs.

#8
thegirl10:25 am, 07 Jan 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

They wouldn’t have have had the opportunity to comment. There is no requirement for a development application for single dwellings (assuming the development complies with relevant codes which seem to be very broadly drafted)

#9
chilli10:30 am, 07 Jan 13

farq said :

thebrownstreak69 said :

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

No notice was ever posted, first we knew about it was when the site was being cleared and materials delelivered.

My understanding is that general public notification of a development only occurs in instances where the lease use changes eg a dual occupancy or multi-storey development on a block previously occupied by a single dwelling.

If you are extending your house or doing a knock-down rebuild, then only the residents of dwellings bordering your block will be notified and given the opportunity to object/comment on how the new house or extension will impact them.

#10
MisterTee10:32 am, 07 Jan 13

Wow. Alllll the things that happen in West Belco and you choose this to complain about?

#11
Solidarity10:34 am, 07 Jan 13

My NIMBY meter just broke. Thanks guys.

#12
farq10:36 am, 07 Jan 13

NoImRight said :

I think they are usually ugly and I wouldnt like one but I also like the idea that I get to choose the house I build and as long as it meets planning regs nobody can tell me what house I should live in. Id be more concerned if we all had to build the same house acording to someone elses’s idea of what looks good based on no more than the fact they happened to get there first.

I think this is a classic example of when the NIMBY reaction is justified.

If the house across the road from me was next door, my backyard would lose all privacy and most of its solar access.

#13
Pitchka10:37 am, 07 Jan 13

OP, Queanbeyan might be more to your liking if its an untouched established area your looking to live in.. Other than that, people have a right to build as they please, following ACTPLA approval.

#14
rosscoact10:46 am, 07 Jan 13

farq said :

thebrownstreak69 said :

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

No notice was ever posted, first we knew about it was when the site was being cleared and materials delelivered.

So, you’re saying that it wasn’t publicly notified as required under the Act? That is easy to prove or disprove as the case may be. If it wasn’t publicly notified as prescribed under the Act then you have a case. If you just didn’t notice it you won’t have a case.

I’d be backing ACTPLA on this one though.

You are talking about a Neighbourhood Plan though (or whatever they are called now) and it’s a strategic document. No sense at all complaining about specific developments if they comply with the requirements of the Territory Plan.

But you would know that as I assume you are the person in the paper this morning who is on the community council.

#15
rosscoact10:48 am, 07 Jan 13

thegirl said :

thebrownstreak69 said :

ACTPLA approved it – take it up with them. You would also have had a chance to comment on the application.

They wouldn’t have have had the opportunity to comment. There is no requirement for a development application for single dwellings (assuming the development complies with relevant codes which seem to be very broadly drafted)

That only applies in greenfields, they always notify in established areas

#16
MisterTee10:51 am, 07 Jan 13

“Deakin couple Stuart Huys and Zoe Smith are so distressed with a neighbour’s new double-storey home in Gawler Crescent that they considered leaving town.”

Don’t let Lake George hit you on the way out.

#17
Holden Caulfield10:53 am, 07 Jan 13

farq said :

NoImRight said :

I think they are usually ugly and I wouldnt like one but I also like the idea that I get to choose the house I build and as long as it meets planning regs nobody can tell me what house I should live in. Id be more concerned if we all had to build the same house acording to someone elses’s idea of what looks good based on no more than the fact they happened to get there first.

I think this is a classic example of when the NIMBY reaction is justified.

If the house across the road from me was next door, my backyard would lose all privacy and most of its solar access.

Yes, I agree that would suck. But it’s ACTPLA that should feel the brunt of any objections. It’s pretty poor that the new homeowners will now also feel crap about their new home/neighborhood.

Has anyone bothered to consider the position of the new homeowners at all? I’m guessing moving in and pissing off all the neighbours and gaining media attention wasn’t on their list of hopes and expectations.

Although, it is interesting that the article states the development was exempt from the DA process. Why, I wonder?

I do agree, too, that the house pictured in the CT article is pretty fugly, and I wouldn’t like it next to me, but as far as I’m aware nobody has made me judge and juror able to declare what is good and bad taste.

Didn’t we go to war for such simple freedoms as being able to choose one’s house?

#18
switch10:56 am, 07 Jan 13

chewy14 said :

Two storey McMansions, covering the entirety of a block really don’t fit the character of most suburbs.

They fit in beautifully with any suburbs built in the past ten years.

#19
Ernie10:57 am, 07 Jan 13

farq, the house you linked to could be ok on a much bigger block. Big houses on small blocks are the “in” thing now and I can’t see that changing from seeing all the houses being built in Wright for example.

I have driven past this house in Deakin a few times and it really is the most ugly house regardless of where it is situated. It is completely wrong for the block, facing the wrong way and really not appealing. When I saw it being built I thought they might put some facade or render or something to pretty it up a bit. Nope.

#20
Kerryhemsley11:12 am, 07 Jan 13

“Didn’t we go to war for such simple freedoms as being able to choose one’s house?”

Aaaah that’s what war is about.

#21
Holden Caulfield11:22 am, 07 Jan 13

Kerryhemsley said :

“Didn’t we go to war for such simple freedoms as being able to choose one’s house?”

Aaaah that’s what war is about.

Haha, an over simplification on my part I agree. The point being we live in a society that has freedom of choice.

#22
farq11:31 am, 07 Jan 13

From what I can see on google maps, it seems the Huys house covers the entire block also.

I can`t see much of a backyard for them to be upset about.

#23
Deref11:55 am, 07 Jan 13

Ben_Dover said :

Totally agree. Some suburbs have their character decimated by these McMansions. Most scream “look what you can do with lots of money but absolutely no taste!!”

Well said.

I’m all for letting people build what abominations they like, but they need to be contained (preferably by high walls that block them from view) to Gungahlin, where there’s little but.

#24
HiddenDragon11:56 am, 07 Jan 13

It is more than a little difficult to see how a government which justifies draconian tree protection laws on the basis, inter alia, of the need to protect the urban forest and heritage values and maintain suitable streetscapes etc. etc. can allow the building of over-sized eyesores which present a brutal face to the world and allow precious little scope for greenery.

#25
54-1112:08 pm, 07 Jan 13

So Public Service Commissioner, Andrew Kefford, ACT Public Service Commissioner, is the person with apparently too much money and not enough taste, according to the CT.

I’ll do a Masquara (ie totally irrelevant comment), and just note that Mr Kefford used to be a senior advisor to John Howard.

#26
bd8412:15 pm, 07 Jan 13

54-11 said :

So Public Service Commissioner, Andrew Kefford, ACT Public Service Commissioner, is the person with apparently too much money and not enough taste, according to the CT.

I’ll do a Masquara (ie totally irrelevant comment), and just note that Mr Kefford used to be a senior advisor to John Howard.

The head of the residents association doing all the objecting is also a former ACTPLA staff member..

#27
Holden Caulfield12:39 pm, 07 Jan 13

farq said :

For those who don’t know what I mean by Rietveld-Schröder, check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietveld_Schr%C3%B6der_House.

Yes, and it’s both a pretty big stretch and massive insult to refer to the house in the CT article as a knockoff of the Rietveld Schröder House.

#28
Holden Caulfield12:44 pm, 07 Jan 13

HiddenDragon said :

It is more than a little difficult to see how a government which justifies draconian tree protection laws on the basis, inter alia, of the need to protect the urban forest and heritage values and maintain suitable streetscapes etc. etc. can allow the building of over-sized eyesores which present a brutal face to the world and allow precious little scope for greenery.

Go look at a photo of any of Canberra’s satellite towns shortly after they were built. How many trees can you see? While I don’t disagree with your point, gardens need time to grow.

I moved into a 1950s house that had barely no garden when I moved in. Eight years later there’s an extra 20-30 trees on the block (many used as screening) that most people assume have been there all the time.

#29
NoImRight12:47 pm, 07 Jan 13

farq said :

NoImRight said :

I think they are usually ugly and I wouldnt like one but I also like the idea that I get to choose the house I build and as long as it meets planning regs nobody can tell me what house I should live in. Id be more concerned if we all had to build the same house acording to someone elses’s idea of what looks good based on no more than the fact they happened to get there first.

I think this is a classic example of when the NIMBY reaction is justified.

If the house across the road from me was next door, my backyard would lose all privacy and most of its solar access.

If a black hole opened up next to me and sucked me into a parallel universe Id be in much the same boat. It hasnt though so I guess its irrelevant?

#30
farq12:57 pm, 07 Jan 13

Holden Caulfield said :

farq said :

For those who don’t know what I mean by Rietveld-Schröder, check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietveld_Schr%C3%B6der_House.

Yes, and it’s both a pretty big stretch and massive insult to refer to the house in the CT article as a knockoff of the Rietveld Schröder House.

I was refering to the house across the road from me in West Belco, not the house in the article.

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