Community association blasts Griffith public housing proposal

Ian Bushnell 30 October 2021 20
77 Captain Cook Crescent

Housing ACT has 77 Captain Cook Crescent earmarked for three new Supportive Housing dwellings. Photo: Google Maps.

Housing ACT has been accused of failing to follow the government’s own planning rules in submitting a development application for three two-bedroom Supportive Housing dwellings to be built on a block in Griffith.

The Griffith Narrabundah Community Association says in a submission that the application for Supportive Housing is in name only, fails to comply with setback rules, does not provide enough outside space, and supplies such scant design information that it is impossible to assess whether much of it is compliant.

It claims Housing ACT is treating its tenants as second-class citizens by trying to build sub-standard dwellings.

It says Housing ACT should have to resubmit its application with sufficient information for the community and the planning authority to make a reasonable judgment about it.

“We are both disturbed and disappointed that the Government has proposed a development that does not, in so many ways, appear to comply with its own rules,” the association says.

“We are disturbed because the integrity of the planning system in the ACT is under threat when those who make the rules break them.”


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The 1297 square metre site at 77 Captain Cook Crescent (Block 12 Section 71) is currently occupied by a three-bedroom house that will make way for the single-storey Accessible Class C dwellings.

The association says it welcomes the redevelopment of older dwellings for Adaptable Housing so public housing tenants can stay in the neighbourhood and age in place.

But the planning rules only allow two Adaptable dwellings on an RZ1 site. The Association says Housing ACT is trying to get around this by claiming the proposal is for Supportive Housing.

Any more than two Adaptable dwellings would need to be built in an RZ2 zone, it says.

The Association says there is no evidence of the kinds of support services that usually accompany Supportive Housing and the proponent advised during pre-DA consultation that the new dwellings would be available for all eligible tenants.

The Association says that if the DA were for Adaptable Housing rather than the claimed ‘Supportive’ Housing, it could not be approved because it would fail the Replacement Housing Rule of the Multi-unit Housing Development Code which requires that at least one of the dwellings in a multi-unit development have at least as many bedrooms as the demolished dwelling.

It says the DA is in breach of the front, side and rear setback rules and the Principal Private Open Space rules.

“While it is understandable that a private developer might seek to extract the widest possible interpretation of qualitative criteria from ACTPLA, such considerations should not apply to Housing ACT,” the Association says.

“Government tenants in Government-owned Adaptable Housing or Supportive Housing dwellings should not be asked, or expected, to endure sub-standard conditions.

“We would expect the government would set the standards and lead by example. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be happening.”


READ MORE: More tree cover on multi-unit sites proposed in green planning changes


The Association also says the proposal would not comply with the government’s proposed DV369 requiring sufficient tree canopy cover and green space on residential blocks.

It says at present, about 67 per cent of the block is covered by planting area, but the new proposal only provides at most 22 per cent.

“One would expect a government body to take pains to ensure that any proposal brought forward was compliant with this Draft Variation,” the association says.

There are also no shadow diagrams to support claims of good solar access.

The three dwellings and attached garages have a total GFA of 400 square metres or 30 per cent of the block, but the association says there are no measurements to confirm this.

The Association says Housing ACT has taken a “mark your own homework” approach that, if accepted by ACTPLA, means we “may as well abandon the DA approval process”.

The $731,450 project also requires a lease change to allow supportive housing.

The Association says it would support a proposal for two dwellings on the site.

Housing ACT has lodged a similar DA for 18 Lockyer Street nearby.


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20 Responses to Community association blasts Griffith public housing proposal
Linda Applebee Linda Applebee 3:10 pm 01 Nov 21

pam applebee

Sarah Jane Walden Sarah Jane Walden 10:29 pm 31 Oct 21

Appear to comply?? Have they assessed the drawings and statement against relevant criteria appropriately??

These residents need to show how the development departs the territory plan rules let alone criteria… it’s a proposal that is suited to the site, the locals are likely simply concerned regarding the future tenants not the development which is disappointing far more than lazy development.

Peter Bee Peter Bee 7:41 pm 31 Oct 21

Yeah we cant have public housing near us : think of our property prices.

Richard Allen Richard Allen 5:25 pm 31 Oct 21

What the house that been empty for 2 years

And the other one had squatters

Also the on fire bomd in narrabundah all housing

Luke Barrow Luke Barrow 4:16 pm 31 Oct 21

Andrew Barrow that house looks familar

Jaffa Groube Jaffa Groube 3:58 pm 31 Oct 21

They have done the same thing in Weetangera. They make the rules up as they go and you need a good lawyer to fathom the Administrative Appeals tribunal rules so if you don't have a blind trust sugar daddy you're stuffed.

    Caitlin Emily Caitlin Emily 6:38 pm 31 Oct 21

    Jaffa Groube Weetangera is well known for not having any public housing. Are you sure it’s public housing ?

    Agreed they make up the rules to suit them.

    Jaffa Groube Jaffa Groube 6:54 pm 31 Oct 21

    Caitlin Emily yep, thy purchased a property in Mayo St to build housing for people with 'special needs'. No one knows what that means, some are saying it's for young people with social adjustment issues.

    Caitlin Emily Caitlin Emily 6:55 pm 31 Oct 21

    Jaffa Groube oh wow well there you go. The lack of community engagement must be frustrating.

    John Tozer John Tozer 8:45 pm 31 Oct 21

    Jaffa Groube - …and it’s for FIVE dwellings, not just three!

Kylie Watson Kylie Watson 1:31 pm 31 Oct 21

We’ve got a vacant public house next door that they’re going to demolish in Narrabundah. It is single story and was in reasonable condition - used to host families. If they replace it with a dual occupancy that could make sense but 3 dwellings is pushing it considering they’d need to demolish most of the trees and it’s surrounded by single occupancy houses. Will be interested to see if they align with the rules on it. They’ve let the house get dilapidated now and the lawn grow to almost chest height so we’re hoping they do something soon. Maybe they’re seeing what they can get away with?

Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 1:16 pm 31 Oct 21

I expected this to be about another NIMBY response but it's really nothing of the sort. Good on the Griffith Narrabundah community association for pointing out the massive flaws in this plan. It does indeed seem to show a huge lack of care for the future residents.

    Sunny Deis Sunny Deis 8:01 am 01 Nov 21

    Lin Van Oevelen the Griffith Narrabundah Community Associaton are not NIMBYS. They are currently vehemently fighting against the DA approval of an architecturally designed, environmentally friendly four townhouse development on another block in Griffith. The development idea was to build affordable housing opportunities, so that people could finally afford to buy rather than rent.

    This association are fighting tooth and nail to stop it happening too. But they’re definitely not NIMBYs. Be interesting to find out how many other developments they are trying to stop. Not in my backyard thanks.

James Daniels James Daniels 12:37 pm 31 Oct 21

They actually submitted a DA? In Tuggeranong I've seen them build medium density public housing on blocks that are only zoned for houses, and do so on streets that are already having problems from a concentration of public housing making a mockery of the supposed salt and pepper approach.

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 10:43 am 31 Oct 21

Wouldn’t the government be better of selling the land and finding a more affordable location to build these. Housing closer to amenities would make better sense

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 11:29 am 31 Oct 21

    Richard Willcoxson Yes, but that means concentrating public housing in the cheaper suburbs. The government will still own the land for sale in the future.

Reb Kon Reb Kon 10:41 am 31 Oct 21

Rich NIMBYs in community council that finds multiple issues with public housing proposal.

What am absolute surprise.

    Mel Lisa Mel Lisa 7:31 pm 31 Oct 21

    Reb Kon umm, they aren’t against affordable housing. The issue is they are trying to build three dwellings on the property when it’s only zoned for two.

    Reb Kon Reb Kon 8:28 pm 31 Oct 21

    Mel Lisa they are using whatever trope they can to stop public housing development.

    Go out past the 'inner' suburbs and see what kind of public housing is being developed there then complain about 3 houses.

    They have found a small issue which they can latch on to that justifies their opposition to the development as a smokescreen to elitist attitudes.

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