7 Lindsay St

November 28, 2013

in Past Issues

Some of you may have noticed this letter in the Canberra Times of Sunday 17 November 2013.

“Neil Evan, executive director of the Housing Industry Association ACT, said: ”Too many developments are drawing objections because of their height or size.” (“City’s future will benefit most from fewer residents resisting progress”, November 10).  I agree, but my reasons probably differ from those of Mr Evans.  He infers that too many residents object to height or size just because they are opposed to infill or to change.  I disagree.  I know that too many times residents NEED to object to development applications because too many proposed buildings are higher or bigger (or both) than rules allow.  I have reviewed many development applications that exceed allowable height and/or size rules, and/or fail to meet rules regarding setbacks from boundaries.  I (probably naively) hope for a rational, law-abiding society where development proponents would respect and follow rules.  Too often this is not the case.  I just reviewed a development application for a dual occupancy (very near where I live) that was publicly notified in the newspaper less than a week ago.  The development proponent’s own supporting documents admit that the proposed development does not meet height rules and setback rules. Development proponents must play by the rules to protect the present and future interests of all Canberrans.

 G. Fitzgerald, Griffith”

We share G. Fitzgerald’s sentiments.  We believe the dual occupancy DA referred to is that for 7 Lindsay ST, Griffith, DA 201324241, which closed for comment on 25 November 2013.  The proposed development involves the demolition of the existing unextended late 1940s solid brick house, and its replacement with two  three-bedroom dwellings.   So far this is unexceptional, and is indeed considerably more in keeping with the character of the area than the 31 apartment Altair development on Stuart St, which lies over the back fence from 7 Lindsay St.  However, a close reading of the Statement Against Criteria reveals problems: the proponent concedes that the proposed building would breach the vertical envelope for the building, but dismisses this as a minor excursion.  Similarly the Statement concedes that the proposal breaches the side setback rules at the rear, but again suggests that this is a minor transgression.

If the plans are examined in detail it becomes apparent that this understates the matter.  The planes defining the allowable height of the building penetrate the side walls at both front and rear, sometimes up two 2 metres within the building.  Similarly the side setbacks are significantly breached.  In one case a side wall permitted to be no closer than 6 metres from a side boundary would in fact be only 3 metres from the boundary.  These are not trivial infractions.  Furthermore, although the proponent asserts that the development would comply with the rule restricting the plot ratio to a maximum of 50%, it appears that this is not the case, although it is impossible to draw a firm conclusion either way,  because the development would include a large basement for which no plans have been submitted, so the area cannot be precisely determined.

The GNCA lodged and objection to the DA, and this can be read here.

GNCA members John Edquist and Deborah Price also lodged an objection, which is here .

 

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