Councillors swing on the Breeze decision
BREAKING: A motion to simply ratify after-the-fact changes to the development approval of a Mooloolaba high-rise project has been rejected 6-3 by Sunshine Coast Council.
Cr Greg Rogerson had wanted his colleagues to reject a recommendation from planning officers to allow some but not all of the changes which don't accord with the approval.
A motion put by Town Planning portfolio councillor Christian Dickson to reject all the changes has also been defeated but by the closer margin of 5-4.
The Mayor Mark Jamieson and Division Eight Cr Jason O'Pray have been absent for the vote and the discussion.
Cr Rogerson was ruled to have got to his feet first ahead of Cr Dickson and was allowed to put his motion first.
Councillors are now debating a fresh motion which seeks to alter some of the planning officer recommendations relating to landscaping and the building's balustrade design.
Doubts raised over what council actually approved
DEVELOPER Aria proposed a site coverage for its Mooloolaba Breeze apartments well in excess of planning scheme limits based on what it described as an "exceptional design outcome for the site" which would positively contribute to the local area.
Sunshine Coast Council will decide today whether what was ultimately built delivered that outcome and also complied with the approval granted for the development.
A planning department report into an application from the developer for a "permissible change of use" to bring the development approval into line with the nine-storey building that now sits on the Esplanade at Mooloolaba, has found partly in favour of the developer.
However it has recommended some of the changes made to what was approved are not acceptable.
The report recommends councillors reject approval of those elements, a position it says will ultimately result in the matter being decided in the Planning and Environment Court at a minimum cost of $50,000.
The initial development application sought a site coverage of 65%, an amount well in excess of the planning scheme maximum of 40% and representing a windfall of 2485 sq metres more floor area over the building's nine floors.
Analysis of the completed building shows it does occupy 65% of the 993 sq metre site bordered by the Esplanade, Meta Street and First Avenue.
The developer is emphatic it has not exceeded the site cover approval it was granted.
However the 2014 planning department report to council detailing the development's approval lists the site coverage at 56%.
And a planning department report produced this year into an initial application from the developer in June to vary the approval also lists the site coverage as 56%.
The report further stated "the original application's compliance with the Planning Scheme requirements relating to bulk, scale and setbacks was marginal and was only supported on the basis of the design outcomes, and was at the upper limits of officer's discretion to support the application".
The council yesterday ignored questions asking for definition of the upper limits of a delegated officer's discretion.
It also failed to address questions in relation to the apparent site coverage discrepancy.
The issue of site coverage is not the subject of the report to be considered by councillors today.
In its 2014 development application Aria stated "The proposal has a site cover of about 65%. While this exceeds the acceptable outcome, the development provides an exceptional design outcome for the site, will positively contribute to the local area, and will not compromise the performance outcome. The siting and design of the building allows for spaces and landscapes between buildings; which is achieved due to the site having three street frontages and the existing adjoining development to the south-east being setback about 6m from the common boundary. Sufficient area at ground level is provided for communal open space, site facilities, resident and visitor parking, landscapes and maintenance of a residential streetscape."
An independent architect's assessment to be considered today was not as flattering although it found some of the changes to the original approval could be deemed to have met the desired performance outcome.
Town Planning head Cr Christian Dickson has called for his fellow councillors to reject the developer's application saying the rules were the rules.
Meanwhile the council will not consider any potential prosecution of a breach of Section 580 of the Sustainable Planning Act until after today's matters are determined.
Section 580 of the Sustainable Planning Act (Compliance with a Development Approval) states "A person must not contravene a development approval, including any condition in the approval".
A statement yesterday attributed to a council spokesman said: "Tomorrow's report is about a formal DA application to Change an Approval. It is not about an assessment of other claims, or about legal advice on actions which might be taken. Any legal action that council chooses to take will be discussed on the basis of confidential legal advice at some time after the DA request is dealt with."