Zapari takes ACTPLA to ACAT over Coombs knockback

Ian Bushnell 10 January 2020 24
Zapari Reconsideration

A render of the development from the Zapari Reconsideration, which ACTPLA rejected. Image: Supplied.

The ACT Planning Authority’s (ACTPLA) resolve to prevent another oversized development in the Molonglo Valley will be tested again with Zapari set to challenge the rejection of its 149-unit development proposal in Coombs.

Zapari is taking ACTPLA to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) after a revised proposal was knocked back last month. But with Zapari lodging its application with ACAT on Christmas Eve, it is unclear how many interested parties are aware of the action and have had time over the holiday period to make a submission, which closed on Monday (6 January).

Weston Creek Community Council has only just applied to be a party to the action.

Zapari’s original proposal for the corner of John Gorton Drive and Terry Connolly Avenue in Coombs for an eight-storey, 212-apartment development was scaled back to seven storeys and 149 apartments, with floor area more than halved and setbacks and green space increased.

ACTPLA had knocked back the original proposal because of its size relative to the site, poor design, and overshadowing and privacy implications for neighbouring residences.

The maximum number of dwellings allowable on the site is only 44 and Zapari was again seeking to vary the site’s Crown lease to accommodate what would be a 239 per cent increase.

ACTPLA’s notice of decision rejecting the revised proposal said it was “significantly” over the permitted Estate Development Plan and the development “would have an adverse impact on the neighbourhood and landscape character of the area”.

Zapari is the second developer to take ACTPLA to ACAT over development proposals in Coombs, although POD Projects managed to cut a deal over its plans for the corner of Arthur Blakely Way and Colbung Street in Coombs, which had been rejected three times.

POD wanted to build a 107-unit development on a block that has a 40-dwelling limit.

The deal will see the proposal lose two storeys and 10 units, and add more car parking, landscaping and communal green space, but the outcome will still mean a 143 per cent increase on that.

ACTPLA said there was a “reasonable prospect” that the development would be approved if it went to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

This approach angered many in the community who believed ACTPLA was not prepared to defend its decisions, which had been seen as drawing a line in the sand on inappropriate development.

Molonglo activist Ryan Hemsley said at the time that there was now a real danger that developers would see this capitulation as a green light for lodging equally inappropriate development applications in the future.

On his Save Molonglo website he asks of the latest action: “Will ACTPLA defend its decision to refuse this development (twice!), or will it roll over and let it through with some minor amendments, as it did with POD?

“If it pursues the latter option, what’s the point in having a planning authority in the first place?”

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24 Responses to Zapari takes ACTPLA to ACAT over Coombs knockback
Robert McMahon Robert McMahon 12:16 am 14 Jan 20

Land was sold with 44 units allowed. So 149 are sought. What a joke. There should be an absolute development prohibition on anything more than what was approved at point-of-sale. Developers are doing this everywhere.

Lee Sheather Lee Sheather 12:05 am 13 Jan 20

The trouble is precedents have already been set for other developers who have gone over their quota.

Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 5:52 pm 12 Jan 20

Surely there are already way too many units through Molonglo.

Dan Smith Dan Smith 5:16 pm 12 Jan 20

If this gets approved then maybe it’s ACAT that should be investigated for corruption or undue influence.

Justin Sev Justin Sev 1:30 pm 12 Jan 20

Wish we could build quality apartments with a floorplan that you could use with more than two anywhere else in the world. Greed is king here. Even the penthouses are rubbish.

Acton Acton 1:16 pm 12 Jan 20

Molonglo Valley looks like it was designed by student architects trained in Pyongyang, North Korea. Our own Beloved Leader should set up a sister city arrangement.

Maria Greene Maria Greene 10:11 am 12 Jan 20

Apparently we have planning laws and a planning minister. Who knew?

Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 9:37 am 12 Jan 20

Nothing will get between good planning and the developers urge to maximise fortuitous profit

Acton Acton 7:52 am 12 Jan 20

The densification and uglification of Canberra continues if another multi storey block of apartments proceeds. Residents do not want Canberra to resemble another New Delhi, Beijing or Sydney but the ACT Government lacks the guts to control rapacious property developers.

Giuliana Zuccaro Giuliana Zuccaro 9:29 pm 11 Jan 20

Instead of putting in lots of new apartments how about getting the shopping centre in the Molonglo Valley up and running. Just my two cents.

    Steve Ulr Steve Ulr 11:30 am 12 Jan 20

    that would take common sense. I guess weston creek shopping centre wouldn't be happy with that though so it appears there is no rush...Planning fail again.

Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 9:11 pm 11 Jan 20

Hasn’t that horse bolted? Molongolo valley is awful.

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 8:51 pm 11 Jan 20

We don’t need any more ghetto-style “apartments” that will be slums in ten years.

Nick Ell Nick Ell 8:40 pm 11 Jan 20

Cant see how they can argue and win when they knew what the limitations were when they are buying the land. The pod development compromise already showed that if you push them hard enough they will budge. Simple negotiation, shoot for the sky, settle on the actual figure you want.

    Maria Greene Maria Greene 10:32 am 12 Jan 20

    who knew we had a Labor government with Greens having balance of power?

    Robert McMahon Robert McMahon 12:18 am 14 Jan 20

    You’d think so—but baby developers are doing it: they buy land for a price allowing x units and then submit plans for many more units. I’ve noticed they seem to put in an outlandish proposal and then scale it back to something that the govt agrees to, but us much more for which the land was sold.

Frank Trapani Frank Trapani 8:24 pm 11 Jan 20

Good on you for implementing the ACT building regulations and stand up to corporate greedy...

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 8:19 pm 11 Jan 20

Eeek! not an attractive option

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 8:07 pm 11 Jan 20

Come on , it’s only an additional 105 units over the allowable 44. It’s not like they knew this when the purchased the site.

    Christina Raymond Christina Raymond 8:24 pm 11 Jan 20

    Marc Edwards, I think you win Facebook for the best use of sarcasm today!

Emmac Ph Emmac Ph 7:20 pm 11 Jan 20

The developers shouldn’t buy the land if all they want to do is get variations- their greed is just awful

Shaun Hazell Shaun Hazell 7:00 pm 11 Jan 20

Future slums the whole lot are ugly as.

Spiral Spiral 2:13 pm 11 Jan 20

This development should not go ahead.

Let them fight it out in ACAT and if the developer wins then it will be clear to community that ACAT needs to have action taken against it.

There is an election on its way, a great opportunity for our politicians to promise action against an ACAT that would sell its soul to unethical developers.

Make this a test of ACAT, not a test if ACTPLA.

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