Over-the-top Molonglo DAs: ‘Is it a Donald Trump negotiation tactic?’

Ian Bushnell 28 February 2019 2

The Luxe development, the third Molonglo proposal to be rejected for being too big.

The Molonglo community is pleased but also bemused after a third development proposal for a multi-unit complex in the growing area was knocked back by the planning authority, for much the same reasons as the first two.

The $58 million Luxe development proposed by 3 Property Group on the corner of John Gorton Drive and Opperman Avenue in Wright would have more than doubled the number of allowable dwelling for the site, from 107 to 244.

But the planning authority rejected the application for a six-storey building with 212 apartments, two levels of basement car parking and 32 two-storey townhouses with attached garages.

The planning authority had already rejected the Pod Projects Group and Zapari Group developments in Coombs under similar circumstances, considered to be a victory for the community.

Molonglo activist Damien Breach said the community welcomed all three decisions but was wondering what had brought on what seemed to be a tougher stance from the planning authority.

He queried why such obvious oversized applications were not screened out immediately.

“If they’re so far beyond what the requirements are, why waste everyone’s time and money, including the developers?” he said.

He said the onus still remained on the community to mount objections, with many people expending huge amounts of time and energy responding to these DAs.

“It demonstrates that there is something wrong with the system that the builders can even try it,” he said.

“Is it a Donald Trump negotiation tactic where you ask for the world and you’re happy with something in the middle?”

Mr Breach said the community expected that if a block sold with a limit of 44 units, that should be what it got.

“You get people making the largest financial decision of their lives based on the information presented to them,” he said.

“People who live next to vacant lots would have done their due diligence. If it continues no one’s going to buy next to a vacant block because you never know what’s going to go there.”

Luxe was also considered an example of overdevelopment, being too big for the site, lacking open space and room for sizable trees, and without taking into account the impact on the surrounding environment and neighbouring properties.

The proposal also failed to provide adequate setbacks and amenity, with poor outlooks for residents and a lack of interesting views for the public, as well as traffic management issues.

“The extent and continuous length of the elevation of the townhouses located adjacent to the public open space restrict the opportunity of a visually interesting articulated façade for public view. Also, the continuous extent of the façade facing the internal driveway with repetitive garage doors will have a negative impact on the visual amenity for the future residents when viewed from the communal open space proposed,” the decision says.

“The repetitive nature and layout of the townhouses also limits an opportunity to connect the public open space and the communal open space within the block.

“The assessment concluded that reliance on criteria, and the above-mentioned non-compliances are indicative of overdevelopment of the site, making the land not suitable for a development with a scale and density as proposed. This conclusion is further reinforced by the quantum of the proposed development when it is compared to the indicative yield for the site as noted in the preceding estate development approval.”

Several agencies, including Transport Canberra and City Services, Icon Water and the Suburban Land Agency did not support the proposal.

The Molonglo sites will still be developed, with Zapari already going back to the community in a bid to come up with an acceptable proposal for its Coombs block.

The Luxe proposal only attracted four written representations, fewer than the other two.

The proponent can appeal the decision.


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2 Responses to Over-the-top Molonglo DAs: ‘Is it a Donald Trump negotiation tactic?’
Margaret Dudley Margaret Dudley 8:18 am 02 Mar 19

All of these points were brought up in the inquiry into the DA process (yes there was one). The report from that inquiry was meant to be released in November last year but has been postponed until the end of this year.

Fortress Epiphany Fortress Epiphany 7:06 pm 28 Feb 19

Makes you wonder if the planning authority ever goes through a pre-DA process and if non compliant development applications are still lodged, why planners don’t do a quick check over the counter and then noting the building has twice as many apartments as allowable, refuse to accept the lodgment or the DA fee and send the applicant back to try again.

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