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.
#61
Martlark10:58 pm, 07 Jan 13

thatsnotme said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

No, you shouldn’t. I’d actually argue that if you want to be able to build whatever you want, then that’s the time you should move to the countryside, because your hideous decisions affect only you, and not neighbours living a stones throw away.

What about if your next door neighbour decided that they were going to build a 5 story home, that looked more like an apartment block than a house? In your world, you simply have to suck it up. Personally, I’d prefer to live in a world where at times someone has to live with being told ‘no’.

I’d love for you to come build an apartment block next to me.

#62
DaveT11:02 pm, 07 Jan 13

Further to my previous post, it would’ve been fairer for the CT to take a picture of the Deakin house from the front – most houses look really ugly side-on!

#63
54-119:35 am, 08 Jan 13

rosscoact said :

thegirl said :

rosscoact said :

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

You only need to notify adjoining neighbours. I suppose those neighbours directly affected could then make comment if they wanted but I cant see how there would be any point as there’s no development approval needed in established areas. Perhaps you could object on the basis that the development doesn’t meet the suburb code but those suburb and building codes seem to be very broad.

That is simply not true. All redevelopments of this type in existing urban areas have, for at least the last 10 year, been subject to full notification and require a DA.

What you are referring to are IIRC small, class 10A (non habitual structures)

What rubbish. How about getting your facts right before correcting someone else.

#64
54-119:48 am, 08 Jan 13

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, we should not have gun control, smoking restrictions, and people can leave their rubbish around charity bins whenever they want. Graffiti would be encouraged, and the internet would be a free-for-all, with every clown being allowed to express their obnoxious opinions. Sheesh. Then where would we be?

There are (at least) 3 good reasons why there must be controls on these excremental, vomitous abominations. First there is the aesthetic reason. Although this is subjective (like public art), but there are some real shockers around Canberra, and this is just the latest although not the worst. Why subject all passers-by to such an excrescence, for the next 30-50 years?

Second, it has a real financial impact on neighbours, and not just property values. With more solar panels being installed, over-shadowing has an instant and direct financial penalty.

Finally, our heritage is important. You must be a philistine if driving, walking or cycling through our older, tree-lined suburbs does not give you a lot of pleasure. These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.

Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

#65
NoImRight11:36 am, 08 Jan 13

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, we should not have gun control, smoking restrictions, and people can leave their rubbish around charity bins whenever they want. Graffiti would be encouraged, and the internet would be a free-for-all, with every clown being allowed to express their obnoxious opinions. Sheesh. Then where would we be?

There are (at least) 3 good reasons why there must be controls on these excremental, vomitous abominations. First there is the aesthetic reason. Although this is subjective (like public art), but there are some real shockers around Canberra, and this is just the latest although not the worst. Why subject all passers-by to such an excrescence, for the next 30-50 years?

Second, it has a real financial impact on neighbours, and not just property values. With more solar panels being installed, over-shadowing has an instant and direct financial penalty.

Finally, our heritage is important. You must be a philistine if driving, walking or cycling through our older, tree-lined suburbs does not give you a lot of pleasure. These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.

Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

Geebus……

#66
buildingquoteHQ11:38 am, 08 Jan 13

These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.

Agree with many of your points, however, these are big statements with no understanding of the home owners personal requirements, limitations, family structure, finances, lifestyle, goals and ambitions or long term plans. Take a broader view and there is a middle ground to be found.

#67
rosscoact11:40 am, 08 Jan 13

NoImRight said :

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, we should not have gun control, smoking restrictions, and people can leave their rubbish around charity bins whenever they want. Graffiti would be encouraged, and the internet would be a free-for-all, with every clown being allowed to express their obnoxious opinions. Sheesh. Then where would we be?

There are (at least) 3 good reasons why there must be controls on these excremental, vomitous abominations. First there is the aesthetic reason. Although this is subjective (like public art), but there are some real shockers around Canberra, and this is just the latest although not the worst. Why subject all passers-by to such an excrescence, for the next 30-50 years?

Second, it has a real financial impact on neighbours, and not just property values. With more solar panels being installed, over-shadowing has an instant and direct financial penalty.

Finally, our heritage is important. You must be a philistine if driving, walking or cycling through our older, tree-lined suburbs does not give you a lot of pleasure. These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.

Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

Geebus……

:-) takes all kinds hey?

#68
Martlark1:05 pm, 08 Jan 13

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, … rant… …rant… …rant… ..rant…
Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

If it’s on my property it’s my business. Not yours.

#69
chewy141:16 pm, 08 Jan 13

Martlark said :

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, … rant… …rant… …rant… ..rant…
Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

If it’s on my property it’s my business. Not yours.

So you’d be OK with your neighbour installing floodlights on his property pointing at your house and using his backyard as a manure storage depot?

#70
Martlark2:20 pm, 08 Jan 13

chewy14 said :

Martlark said :

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, … rant… …rant… …rant… ..rant…
Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

If it’s on my property it’s my business. Not yours.

So you’d be OK with your neighbour installing floodlights on his property pointing at your house and using his backyard as a manure storage depot?

Well obviously the light or odour is not kept on their property so your extreme example is not relevant.

#71
Postalgeek2:48 pm, 08 Jan 13

Martlark said :

Well obviously the light or odour is not kept on their property so your extreme example is not relevant.

So what about shade not being kept on a property?

#72
chewy143:03 pm, 08 Jan 13

Martlark said :

chewy14 said :

Martlark said :

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, … rant… …rant… …rant… ..rant…
Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

If it’s on my property it’s my business. Not yours.

So you’d be OK with your neighbour installing floodlights on his property pointing at your house and using his backyard as a manure storage depot?

Well obviously the light or odour is not kept on their property so your extreme example is not relevant.

Ah, so now you admit that things on one property can affect the neighbours?

You’ve identified odour and light as possible exceptions to your rule.

So how does a 5 storey building on one property blocking out the natural sunlight on another property not qualify under your criteria? They are literally denying their neighbours natural light.

How about a blazing fluoro pink building? Seeing as colour is just our perception of light, and that light is escaping their property, surely this also fits your criteria?

What about a 5 metre mural of a red headed man fellating a dog on your fence line? All good?

I don’t think you’ve fully thought your “I can build whatever I want on my own property” argument through.

Face it, there needs to be some development standards that we all have to abide by for the benefit of everyone. Where we draw that line is up for debate, but I don’t think you can argue that there shouldn’t be any restrictions.

#73
ivansky3:06 pm, 08 Jan 13

We have had some experience with rebuilds, having done one ourselves 10 or more years ago and having three adjacent houses over our back fence rebuilt recently. The “character” of our suburban area has changed greatly over the last few years. And I mean important things like micro-climate, traffic, solar access, vegetation etc. I think AussieLyn has pointed out a few important facts but thought I would add my two cents.

In our experience if a private certifier certifies that the house complies with the building code, not only does notification not happen (fair enough I guess) but ACTPLA does not even have plans to view. We asked when the property directly behind us was being built because we wanted to prepare ourselves for a possible two storey overlooking our yard. ACTPLA hunted for the plans then told us that because it was compliant they had no information. Lucky for us this turned out to be the only property that is single storey.

I think the codes were not really designed with the intention that new houses would mostly build to the setback on every boundary, to fill the maximum plot ratio whenever possible, but it seems like that is what’s happening. It certainly isn’t improving population density in our area, as nearly every large house has only one or two people living in it. But the amount of sheer concrete, tile and brick in our street has certainly gone up by quite a lot. Rest assured, I have been told that this can only increase the value of our property. Funny that it doesn’t feel that way.

#74
farq3:45 pm, 08 Jan 13

Pitchka said :

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.

I assume you live in Gungahlin and want the drag the rest of Canberra down so we suffer the same conditions.

#75
rosscoact3:55 pm, 08 Jan 13

farq said :

Pitchka said :

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.

I assume you live in Gungahlin and want the drag the rest of Canberra down so we suffer the same conditions.

You are a special little person aren’t you

#76
farq4:06 pm, 08 Jan 13

54-11 said :

Finally, our heritage is important. You must be a philistine if driving, walking or cycling through our older, tree-lined suburbs does not give you a lot of pleasure. These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.?

+1

Again we can learn from Sydney in that you have to work at retaining heritage if you want to leave something for future generations.

Some of the older parts of Canberra are amazing (but getting less so every year). Imagine if every single block in Yarralumla(or any of the older suburbs) had a big bland rendered McMansion on it. It would look like every other ‘up market’ suburb in every other city in the world. It would mean goodbye to any sense of this city having a history.

#77
Pork Hunt5:00 pm, 08 Jan 13

farq said :

54-11 said :

Finally, our heritage is important. You must be a philistine if driving, walking or cycling through our older, tree-lined suburbs does not give you a lot of pleasure. These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.?

+1

Again we can learn from Sydney in that you have to work at retaining heritage if you want to leave something for future generations.

Some of the older parts of Canberra are amazing (but getting less so every year). Imagine if every single block in Yarralumla(or any of the older suburbs) had a big bland rendered McMansion on it. It would look like every other ‘up market’ suburb in every other city in the world. It would mean goodbye to any sense of this city having a history.

I like the sentiment, but history has shown us we don’t learn from history….

#78
Deref5:09 pm, 08 Jan 13

Pork Hunt said :

farq said :

54-11 said :

Finally, our heritage is important. You must be a philistine if driving, walking or cycling through our older, tree-lined suburbs does not give you a lot of pleasure. These abominable structures (they cannot possibly be homes) destroy that character – not just the trees and streetscapes, but the sense of times past.?

+1

Again we can learn from Sydney in that you have to work at retaining heritage if you want to leave something for future generations.

Some of the older parts of Canberra are amazing (but getting less so every year). Imagine if every single block in Yarralumla(or any of the older suburbs) had a big bland rendered McMansion on it. It would look like every other ‘up market’ suburb in every other city in the world. It would mean goodbye to any sense of this city having a history.

I like the sentiment, but history has shown us we don’t learn from history….

I recall when I was relatively new to Canberra, walking through Kingston and admiring the beautiful old houses. I passed by a real estate agent and looked at the listings. One which sticks in my mind said “Beautiful old Canberra House. Immaculately maintained, high ceilings, gorgeous gardens on a large block. Ideal for redevelopment.

#79
farq5:27 pm, 08 Jan 13

Deref said :

I recall when I was relatively new to Canberra, walking through Kingston and admiring the beautiful old houses. I passed by a real estate agent and looked at the listings. One which sticks in my mind said “Beautiful old Canberra House. Immaculately maintained, high ceilings, gorgeous gardens on a large block. Ideal for redevelopment.

Those greedy fukcing philistines.

#80
farq5:32 pm, 08 Jan 13

Ben_Dover said :

Can we have a Riotact photo-stream competition; “Hideous McMansions of Canberra”?

There’s one Aranda (looks like a municipal toilet on steroids,) and one in Cook (“we let our toddler choose the colours”) that deserve recognition.

+1

It’s even better than pictures of bad parking.

We could have a competition to find Canberra closest houses, or see who has the most windows facing west.

#81
Frustrated5:43 pm, 08 Jan 13

Ben_Dover said :

Can we have a Riotact photo-stream competition; “Hideous McMansions of Canberra”?

There’s one Aranda (looks like a municipal toilet on steroids,) and one in Cook (“we let our toddler choose the colours”) that deserve recognition.

I think privacy laws might stop you doing that, but test it if you wish!

#82
johnboy5:45 pm, 08 Jan 13

As long as the photos were taken from public land there’s no issue.

#83
poetix5:53 pm, 08 Jan 13

Personally I would prefer more dual occupancy, which can fit in quite well with the character of an area, and which is providing more housing for people, than these monstrosities replacing smaller homes on large blocks. Some streets in the inner north are damned ugly now. And there is an inescapable difference between small ugly and huge ugly, when talking about buildings.

No-one, whether in Deakin, O’Connor, Crace or Chisholm, should have to wake up to enormous houses right to the edge of the block looming over them, whether the blocks involved are large or tiny. You expect that feeling of intensity in the CBD of a city, not in the burbs.

#84
farq6:12 pm, 08 Jan 13

johnboy said :

As long as the photos were taken from public land there’s no issue.

Meh, no one would be shocked by photos of big McMansions taken from a new suburb.

Maybe some of the inner-north trendy hipster types can use their photography skills and take photos of the crap being built in their own suburbs. They could even do it riding their bikes(extra points if they take the shots with a non digital camera)!

#85
54-119:16 pm, 08 Jan 13

Andrew Kefford just might get the Mully for February, the way this is going. Keep up the aggravation!

#86
chilli9:18 pm, 08 Jan 13

DaveT said :

The Deakin house may not be an architectural masterpiece but it complies with the residential codes.
.

The thing is, does it comply with the code?

frkvk says ” ACTPLA has a requirement of a 30% plot ratio for Deakin already as well as a 10m setback which seems very reasonable for the inner south”.

It is not clear if the Gawler Crescent house is within these limits; ACTPLA can approve non-compliant dwellings if they consider a reasonable argument has been put forward. Adjacent residents may have no right to object.

#87
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd8:53 am, 09 Jan 13

chewy14 said :

Martlark said :

chewy14 said :

Martlark said :

54-11 said :

Martlark said :

You should be able to build whatever house you wan’t on your own land. Any color, any size, any shape any material. Move to the country side if the thought of other people expressing them selves annoys you.

What a pathetic, puerile and selfish view. Taking your (il) logic to its (il)logical conclusion, … rant… …rant… …rant… ..rant…
Your views are characteristic of the US far-right, who believe in nothing but the pursuit of their own selfish ends. You’re not Masquara’s love-child, are you?

If it’s on my property it’s my business. Not yours.

So you’d be OK with your neighbour installing floodlights on his property pointing at your house and using his backyard as a manure storage depot?

Well obviously the light or odour is not kept on their property so your extreme example is not relevant.

Ah, so now you admit that things on one property can affect the neighbours?

You’ve identified odour and light as possible exceptions to your rule.

So how does a 5 storey building on one property blocking out the natural sunlight on another property not qualify under your criteria? They are literally denying their neighbours natural light.

How about a blazing fluoro pink building? Seeing as colour is just our perception of light, and that light is escaping their property, surely this also fits your criteria?

What about a 5 metre mural of a red headed man fellating a dog on your fence line? All good?

I don’t think you’ve fully thought your “I can build whatever I want on my own property” argument through.

Face it, there needs to be some development standards that we all have to abide by for the benefit of everyone. Where we draw that line is up for debate, but I don’t think you can argue that there shouldn’t be any restrictions.

Can you post a link to a five story house in canberra?

Those other things sound wonderful though.

#88
Innovation8:58 am, 09 Jan 13

I drove past it yesterday and had a look. From the front it is not pretty but not quite so bad as the CT photo taken from the rear/side and not much worse if any than some of the poorly extended houses in that street and Fergusson Cres. The South sloping block itself is crappy with a very wide corner, no parking out front and a very narrow back garden.

As a design, I’m surprised that the house achieved sufficient energy efficiency and I presume the panels on the roof were necessary to get its rating high enough – which would be pretty desperate.

I’m not sure if the new house creates any shade on No. 9 or the blocks behind in Bedford St but I doubt it. Privacy and visual appeal could be fixed a bit by putting some/better plantings in and they look like they have a screen wall upstairs on their balcony to what I think is the North or North East.

As for planning rules, the problem is more that the ACT Government has made knee jerk changes back and forth over the last twenty or so years that no-one can keep up. Owners end up chasing rule changes or make changes under new more stringent rules only to find their neighbour later on makes changes under more lenient rules.

Like all media, the CT beat this article up by taking an unflattering photo of the house. As well, unless the CT was insinuating that Andrew Kefford had abused his role as ACT Public Service Commissioner in some way in getting his house plans through ACT Government processes, I think it was unnecessary to have publicly named the Kefford’s and his role.

#89
farq10:23 am, 09 Jan 13

Innovation said :

…As well, unless the CT was insinuating that Andrew Kefford had abused his role as ACT Public Service Commissioner in some way in getting his house plans through ACT Government processes, I think it was unnecessary to have publicly named the Kefford’s and his role.

I don’t think anyone insinuated that.

The article makes quite clear that it’s the planning system (or lack of a system) that is the issue.

Too much red tape has been cut under the guise of making housing more affordable. It’s basically a free for all. IMHO that is not acceptable in a planned city like Canberra.

#90
JessP3:22 pm, 09 Jan 13

So everyone in West Belconnen should live in a 3 bedroom, single bathroom home?

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