Mosaic Developers have put in an application for a residential tower on Lytton Rd, between Northcote and Heidelberg St (A005978489). This development is within the Kangaroo Point South Neighbourhood Plan.
In Queensland, we have a performance based planning system, meaning developers are expected to meet certain performance outcomes, rather than adhering to any specific planning requirements. Within this, developments can be considered code assessible - aligning with a neighbourhood plan - or impact assessible - outside of a neighbourhood plan. Developers are then able to argue that while they might not meet certain requriements in a neighbourhood plan, they're able to meet other objectives. Overall this approach gives huge amounts of power to developers, and means communities and neighbourhood plans can be ignored.
This particular development is considered ‘code accessible’, as opposed to ‘impact accessible’. This means that submissions from the community don’t have to be considered, and there are no rights of appeal for submitters. Having spoken to the planners looking after this development application, the development is considered 'code accessible' because the proposed building is within the height limits (8 storeys) outlined in the neighborhood plan. This is despite other deviations from the neighbourhood plan.
From my review of the proposal, and feedback from community members, there are some of the key issues with this development:
- Height: The height limit for a site of this size on Lytton Rd is 8 storeys. However, with the addition of a rooftop pool area, this building is effectively 9 storeys.
- Traffic impacts: With the addition of 201 new car parks, and access via Northcote St only, the traffic impacts will be significant. Residents have been suggesting that the development also have traiffic access off Heidelberg St, and fewer car parks.
- Ground floor activation: With the inclusion of a residents only gym on the ground floor, the objective of ground floor activation for the community has been ignored. The whole ground floor should be allocated to community uses - cafes, shops, businesses, community facilities.
- Height transition: The back edge of this site is meant to have a building height transition, graduating from 8 storeys, as outlined in the neighbourhood plan. The neighbourhood plan says "Due to its proximity to the established low density residential area of East Brisbane, new development provides a transition in building heights to minimise amenity impacts". This has not been included in the design. Instead, the design is large and bulky on all sides.
- Insufficient setback on the Northcote St side
- Integration with Mowbray Park: The neighborhood plan calls for a design whereby “Development overlooks Mowbray Park” but the proposal has at least 50% or more of apartments overlooking existing neighbours.
- Housing affordability: Billed as 'oversized luxury apartments', this development will do nothing to address the housing crisis. Council should require the developer to include at least 20% of the apartments as public housing.
Overall, this proposal is an example of the major failings in our Queensland planning system. Community consultation is nearly non-existent. Developers are able to put in proposals that clearly do not follow the neighbourhood plan. They are able to maximise their own profits at the expense of the local community.
The council has an extension on their final decision until Friday next week (28 July 2022). I’d really encourage everyone to:
- Make a submission if you haven’t yet done so. You can adapt some of the notes here, or look at submissions that your neighbours have made, here. About 50 residents have already put in submissions, but we've seen developments approved with hundreds of objections. You can also read my submission here.
- Write to the Lord Mayor ([email protected]) and Councillor Fiona Cunningham ([email protected]) with your concerns about this development. Again, you can adapt the points above, or look at other submissions.
- Write to the Planning Minister, Steven Miles ([email protected]) regarding broader concerns with the planning system, including consultation, and the immense power that developers have.