22 January 2021

25-metre building heights proposed for Molonglo's Dairy Road Precinct

| Ian Bushnell
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Sign and artwork at Dairy Road Precinct.

Dairy Road is home to an eclectic range of businesses, and will eventually have residential development. Photo: Molonglo Group.

Building heights in the Molonglo Group’s Dairy Road Precinct in Fyshwick will be limited to 25 metres under a draft Development Control Plan (DCP) released by the National Capital Authority (NCA).

Molonglo Group, which sold the Nishi Building in NewActon in late 2019 for $256 million, is slowly developing the 12.4 hectare precinct.

Bounded by the Monaro Highway, Dairy Road and Jerrabomberra Wetlands, the Dairy Road Precinct will eventually be home to residential development as well as businesses in what the owner envisions as a genuine mixed-use community.

While ACT Planning is responsible for approving projects in the precinct, its location next to the Monaro Highway, a designated approach to the national capital, requires a DCP approved by the NCA to guide future development.

At present, an eclectic range of businesses have established themselves on the site, with some buildings repurposed, but during the 10-15 year development horizon, Molonglo plans to add multistorey residential development.

The proposed maximum building height of 25 metres, or about eight storeys, corresponds roughly to the tallest point of the nearby The Canberra Times building, which the NCA says will result in consistent building high points in the area.

Buildings and major structures must also be set back a minimum of 10 metres from the site boundary to the Monaro Highway, consistent with the DCP for the site on the opposite side of the highway.

A 10-metre landscaped setback, combined with offsite vegetation, will assist in achieving a high-quality landscape corridor, says the NCA.

Maps of Dairy Road Precinct in Fyshwick.

Maps showing location of the Dairy Road Precinct in Fyshwick. Images: Supplied.

The draft plan calls for a high architectural design quality within a landscaped setting, stressing the importance of how a development may look from the Monaro Highway.

It also sets a high bar for sustainability, demanding best practice building and environmentally sustainable design, including strategies to minimise environmental impact, manage water and improve water quality.

The precinct must maintain a high public realm, and “visitors should experience surprise and delight as they move through the development and are exposed to buildings and places of high quality, variety and texture” – something that should come naturally to Molonglo with its track record in NewActon.

No access to the site will be permitted from the highway, but development should allow for connecting roads and paths to adjacent sites if and when these are developed as part of the broader East Lake development.

Pedestrian and cyclists within the precinct should be separated from motor vehicles where possible, to minimise conflict and collisions, and if not, roads should be designed to allow shared access.

Established trees on the site should be retained where possible, and the precinct screened from the highway, while continuous street trees should be used to define the pattern of major and minor streets.

Any species to be planted should not affect the ecologically important Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

Other rules relate to fencing, lighting, complementary materials, and ensuring service areas cannot be seen from the Monaro Highway.

The NCA is accepting submissions until close of business on Friday, 12 February, 2021.

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