11 June 2019

Increased building heights proposed for Curtin Group Centre

| Ian Bushnell
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Building heights will be limited to a single storey on three sides of the courtyard to ensure sunshine but up to six storeys will be allowed on the Statesman Hotel site. File photos.

Allowing buildings up to six storeys tall at the Curtin shops are part of changes proposed to the Territory Plan based on recommendations of the Curtin Group Centre Master Plan finalised last year.

Draft Variation 363, which include zoning changes and amendments to the Curtin precinct map and code, has been released for public comment.

The Government says the changes will ensure sunlight in the central courtyard while providing a moderate increase in building heights in selected locations and protecting the character and amenity of the centre.

It says the changes will also improve the public domain and green spaces, including retaining the grassed area next to the service station, improve walking and cycling links and provide protection for pedestrians with requirements for awnings and active store frontages.

The Government proposes to limit the building height around the central courtyard to a single storey but allow for taller buildings where it complements the character of the centre.

Up to five storeys will be permitted to the south-west, where the Haridemos family’s controversial mixed-use development is planned, and north-west of the central courtyard, while the Statesman Hotel site and part of the parking areas can have six storeys, with setbacks to protect the character of the streetscape.
The Government also proposes permitting residential development in the medium density residential zones adjoining the centre up to six storeys.

A render showing the five-storey mixed-use development that is now set to proceed.

The Curtin shops has been a battleground over building heights between the Curtin Residents Association and the Haridemos family, with the Association this year going to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal to try to have the approval for the proposed five-storey development set aside, despite winning some concessions that scaled back the proposal.

On 3 June, the Association withdrew its application in the face of growing resistance to any further delays to the proposal which had left one side of the centre derelict after business leases had been terminated.
The variation rezones a parcel of unleased land at the south-west corner of the Carruthers Street roundabout from residential/commercial zone to urban open space, as well as the southern part of the centre from commercial core zone to commercial business zone.
It also bans ground floor residential uses within the core area to encourage an active streetscape, and provides minimum setbacks for development along Theodore Street to protect the existing street trees and separate the existing residential area to the east.

Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate’s Director-General, Ben Ponton said the Curtin Group Centre Master Plan was supported by the community after an extensive engagement period that included a Curtin community panel.

“I am confident that in moving forward with these changes to the Territory Plan, we will create more places for social activity in Curtin as well as introducing opportunities for urban renewal within the centre, thereby promoting business growth and housing choice,” he said.

“Curtin can play a vital role in growing Canberra’s economy and strengthening our community. With its proximity to the future City to Woden light rail line, new housing and development opportunities and improved walking and cycling networks, the centre has the potential to set the standard for quality urban renewal.”

Community consultation on DV363 ends on 22 July. To view and comment on the draft variation, visit www.planning.act.gov.au or www.YourSay.act.gov.au

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