Councillors Vote

Randwick Council will hold its first meeting following the election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor on 25 Sept.  Three of the development applications are clear examples of over-development.

It will be the first chance for the community to see if the election promises of opposing over-development will be fulfilled. There are 12 development applications, all except one recommended for approval by Council staff.

The most horrific application is for a 110 studio building over 8 levels at 390-396 Anzac Parade Kingsford. Just 34 carparking spaces are planned. The site backs onto the McDonalds carpark and is on the corner of Middle and Harbourne Lanes. There is already a large unit block on to the south of the site, facing Anzac Parade.

As the development is to be a boarding house a bonus 0.5 to floor space ratio is allowed, but even that is not enough, instead of a maximum 2.5 to 1, this proposal seeks 3.5 to 1. Also the very generous height if 24m for the commercial centre is not enough, with the plans being just under 26 metres. Incredible, but also very sad for many of the units to the south who will lose sunlight.

The Anzac Parade horror is closely followed by a proposed conversion of the Gemini Motel, on 65-71 Belmore Road Randwick. Currently 98 motel rooms, the plans are now for 63 studio units, 7 one bed, 4 two beds and 16 serviced apartments with 43 car parking spaces.

There’s no change to the building itself, but clearly a change of use to permanent occupation is an intensification of use, parking on demand for parking. Most of the planned studios are tiny, single aspect units. A proposal for larger and fewer units is required for this building.

The third over-development is at the old Prince Henry hospital site at 1-3 Jenner Street Little Baythere is a 73 unit building over 4-5 levels. The redevelopment of this site was governed by a special “2D” residential zoning which limits floor space ratio to 1.1 and building height to 15m (14m wall height). Instead what is proposed is 17 metres high with a floor space ratio of 1.45 to 1. As part of the ‘justification’ for excess floor space, it’s noted that an approval for an aged care facility also breached the floor space ratio, although by not as much. Tricky, get an approval for community need and then apply to build something else.

Too bad for neighbours who bought on the basis of the zoning being respected, never trust the representations of real estate salespeople regarding adjoining unbuilt sites, although in this case it seems developers and Council (if approved) will be to blame.

The development application recommended for refusal is for the Seals Club plan to extend their carpark at 9-11 Fenton Street Maroubra. The site adjoins the existing Seals carpark, but consent for this carpark was only granted for interim use, which expired in 2008. It seems the use of the existing has been continuing on an ‘unauthorised’ basis since then.

Expect some heavy lobbying for the application for the additional carpark, or perhaps it’s a lever to influence outcomes over controversial Maroubra Beach commercial centre rezoning process which by allowing buildings up to 16 metres high (Seals Club is around 22 metres) breaches a 12 metre height applied to other coastal areas in the area.

Let’s hope our new Council will respect their election promises. The community is watching. We will track the outcome of all over-development on our website