ACTPLA planning mistake in Kingston

Thumper 15 May 2008 21

ABC online is reporting that the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA) has botched a commercial building approval in the southern Canberra suburb of Kingston admitting that it made a mistake approving a five-storey development on Wentworth Avenue, when only four floors are allowed under the Territory Plan for the area.

ACTPLA have also confirmed that they cannot go back on the decision.

How could this have happened?

(It must also be noted that despite the extra level, the building meets the height restrictions for the area)

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21 Responses to ACTPLA planning mistake in Kingston
damianheffernan damianheffernan 11:22 am 18 May 08

A web search shows the ACT Government and the developers released a media release in December 2006 which clearly states “The blocks provide an opportunity to build up to four stories of office space with an option for residential on the top two levels.” ( So in other words all the parties knew way in advance that there could only be four stories. So what happened? We won’t ever know because it’s all hidden deep in the files.

the planning insider the planning insider 9:25 pm 16 May 08

The reason that ACTPLA are so slow is that planers there have to contend with a great many NIMBY’s who complain about every development and make assessing development applications as difficult as possible. You know the type, they just site on their hands and complain about other. Then, after you do an assessment you are faced with invertebrate bosses who argue the point with you and are worried about what their bosses above them will say and give much more weight to people who object that to approving complying developments.

Most planning organisations are staffed by the spineless at the upper echalons who bow to the political masters and allow the whingers to basically rn the planning system.

ant ant 9:59 pm 15 May 08

ACTPLA are slow. And weird. They’ll grumble over a Bunnings shed, and yet can make basic mistakes like this kingston one. Very weird.

As for the shop mannequin, it was probably in the window of Cassidy’s, an excellent shop, much like those country stores that sell everything. Well, the newsagent’s is still there, Cusack’s is still there, but so many other places have changed. Ganter’s has been there a while…

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 8:49 pm 15 May 08

AussieLyn – the question that has to be asked is ‘why are ACTPLA being pushed’? Answer – because they are REALLY FU(KING SLOW!!! The amount of time they take to push even basic things through is ridiculous.

deezagood deezagood 8:35 pm 15 May 08

I lived in Kingston in the early 90s; it was a real mix of the old and new. There was a greasy take-away shop that had the best, enormous vegetarian dim sims … standard Saturday morning breakfast after a big night out at ‘La Grange’ hotel in Manuka. I still think about those dim sims … and at least the Kingo never changes 🙂

CanberraResident CanberraResident 8:15 pm 15 May 08

If you ask me the entire Kingston re-development is a mistake. I wish they had left the place as it was … I lived in Kingston in the late 60s and early 70s, and it was such a different place then. Who would have thought there would have been so much room to build???

A bit off topic, but, for the first time in years, I took a stroll around Kingston shops the other day, and the memories of the mechanical pink horse where the supermarket used to be came flashing back – circa 1971. And the old sewing shop which is now occupied by some yuppy arty-farty glass shop. Can’t believe Cusack’s is still there. One shop had an old style mannequin in the window; also a reminder of 1960’s Kingston.

It was a pleasure to see a 90+ year old man walking across the pedestrian crossing with his walking stick; about the only living reminder of days gone by … probably lived in the same house for 60 years … I hope he lives to 105 …

aussielyn aussielyn 8:03 pm 15 May 08

ACTPLA assessors are pushed to approve DAs quicker so no wonder mistakes happen, scrutiny of plans is being compromised. Some lifts have been approved that do not even take reclined ambulance stretchers. Talk to an ambo about access in multi-storey blocks. Developers always want to push the limits of any building height so they can maximise the number of flats in any development, now visitor car parking is ok on indented car parks on the street.
Attics in core areas (now R2Zone) are now turning into storeys with complete flats.
As an ex CEO of the MBA is now a director in the Chief Minister’s Dept the development lobby is sitting at the big table exerting its influence.
Seven stories is happening on the Embassy Motel site in Deakin. High rise (7 storeys) will happen in all the main roads of the ACT and on street visitor parking will be more common.
A yellow sign in your street means something is happening that you have no hope of influencing unless you have an active residents group that know the rules and an architect that can read the plans.

I-filed I-filed 5:48 pm 15 May 08


ant ant 2:01 pm 15 May 08

On the news reports, they kept showing pictures of those space-ship apartment buildings on the Kingston Foreshore. Is that them? I counted 5 floors! Rules aside, they look pretty yuck and I’ve heard that the building standards are quite low ie thin floors and walls so you can really get to know your neighbours, and they’re charging a motz for them.

I guess that’s why they’re always so keen to pre-sell those places off the plan, as selling when they’re built runs the risk of buyers hearing people trampling about upstairs (or worse, downstairs).

captainwhorebags captainwhorebags 1:48 pm 15 May 08

The floor in question is a mezzanine floor. There was some confusion as to whether it counted as another floor or not. Turns out it does.

Heavs Heavs 1:31 pm 15 May 08

Jeez these Macarthur people don’t mind a whinge do they. Every second thread seems to be getting hijacked.

Poor me, I’m getting a power station in my backyard. Boo hoo princess. Get a can of HTFU or move.

VicePope VicePope 1:27 pm 15 May 08

Mistakes happen. They shouldn’t, but they do. This was one of them. ACTPLA has done the right thing by ‘fessing up and saying they can’t revoke the erroneous approval (I’ll assume they’re correct about that for the moment and that no issue arises about the decision being void because it was not lawfully able to be made). If the error is part of a disturbing pattern of blunders, the situation might be different.

While the main responsibility rests with ACTPLA, it’s a bit worrying that the builder/developer/architect didn’t pick up on what they were allowed to do in the first place. This sort of stuff should be reasonably well known in the relevant community.

farout farout 1:25 pm 15 May 08

Two floors have been rented out to a Malaysian Harcore Midget Band.

caf caf 1:21 pm 15 May 08

Maybe a half-height floor like the building in Being John Malkovich.

Kramer Kramer 1:00 pm 15 May 08

So a building with an extra floor, but within height restrictions – must be housing for the vertically challenged.

tom-tom tom-tom 12:36 pm 15 May 08

Its an embarrassing stuff up but they should get some points for at least owning up to it

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 12:20 pm 15 May 08

ACTPLA made a basic administrative error … geez, who would have thought.

AG Canberra AG Canberra 12:02 pm 15 May 08

Obviously another builder tried to get 5 floors approved and were knocked back citing the territory plan….

Geez – if these guys can’t count floors how can we expect them to decide correctly on something really important???

RAGD RAGD 11:48 am 15 May 08

Not too sure if its a massive mistake to make, but makes you wonder, how did they find out it was a mistake? or who found out? How many other buildings have been mistakenly approved in the last few years?

Or if no one found out and ACTPLA just fessed up, why did they? Are they diverting our attention from something else?

That’s enough conspiracy movies for me.

deezagood deezagood 11:41 am 15 May 08

Fortunately this ACTPLA mistake won’t have a major negative impact on community health or well-being … not like, oh, let me see …. ummmm giving ActewAGL some land right next to a residential suburb to build a 210 megawatt gas turbine power station (for example)

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