Amendments to reduce residential density in Duncraig ceased to allow a holistic approach

Local residents Chris Shaw,Leanne Panetta and Namita Mehra discussing density issues last year. Picture: Martin Kennealey 	d468473
Local residents Chris Shaw,Leanne Panetta and Namita Mehra discussing density issues last year. Picture: Martin Kennealey d468473

THE City of Joondalup will not progress two planning scheme amendments that seek to reduce the residential density in part of Duncraig.

Amendments 88 and 90, which were initiated in June and December last year, proposed to reduce the density of Housing Opportunity Area 1 west of the Mitchell Freeway from R20/R40 and R20/R60 to R20/R30.

The City has 10 housing opportunity areas that aim to increase density in areas near train stations, public transport and shopping centres to meet State Government infill targets.

Planning and community development director Dale Page said at last month’s council briefing community consultation on the amendments was extensive with 1014 information packs sent out.

She said the City received 511 valid submissions, of which 43 per cent came from residents in the amendment areas.

Of the 272 in the area for amendment 88, 76.8 per cent supported reducing the density and of the 94 in the area for amendment 90, 78.7 per cent were in support.

Comments supporting the amendments cited concerns of higher densities resulting in loss of gardens, trees and verges, issues with traffic and parking and the quality of developments.

Comments opposing the amendments stated redevelopment of the area was needed and should be encouraged, higher density accommodated a growing population and the amendments were contrary to State Government policy and targets.

Ms Page said though residents’ concerns for higher density were acknowledged, the recommendation was not to progress the amendments.

She said Duncraig residents were not alone in their concerns, with other suburbs also seeking lower density, and that a “broader and more strategic approach” was required to manage the impacts of density across all housing opportunity areas, which is the aim of consultants the City is in the process of appointing to help with its work into the ongoing issue.

“If we progress the amendments, this will create expectations in other parts of the community and there will be further calls for additional amendments,” she said.

Resident and real estate agent Namita Mehra said Duncraig had “copped the brunt of the high density developments with 21 apartments and grouped dwellings ready or under construction and as many as 25 other blocks sold for potential development”.

“Yet not one apartment has sold to date and only two town houses have sold,” she said.

“Developers are building little shoeboxes on the basis of how many the can squeeze on the block creating properties that are too small for both young families and downsizers.”

She said if the area was reduced to R30, developers would be restricted to duplexes and triplexes which were more suitable for the area.

Fellow resident Suzanne Thompson added that at R30, profits could still be made but “not at the expense of those who live next to you”.

She said R30 would result in “less dwelling numbers, less traffic, less pressure on the infrastructure and amenities and the chance for trees, backyards and off-road parking”.

She said with the exception of a few dissenters, the “majority had spoken” during community consultation.

“You asked us our opinion now we are asking you to honour our decision,” she said.

“If we have to wait for consultants to do their work in putting this poor infill strategy right, it will be too little too late for us.”

However, resident and surveyor Craig Miller disagreed.

“Downzoning the area to R20/30 is an unnecessary amendment which will result in a poor planning outcome,” he said.

“It will counter the development of the majority of blocks to duplex-potential only… which could significantly reduce the potential yield of the strategic housing area by at least 40 per cent.

“Planning changes are required to address Perth’s future growth.

“Are the issues being raised real or are they simply catastrophised concerns?”.

Fellow resident Peter Lamb said he had made a decision to buy land in the higher density area and if the amendments went through, he would lose financially and his development plans would be affected.

“Based on the zoning of this land, we made significant financial planning decisions and they will be significantly affected if these amendments go through,” he said.

Mayor Albert Jacob moved the officers’ recommendation.

He said for the City to address the “legitimate community concerns being raised” in all housing opportunity areas, it needed to stop making ad hoc amendments.

“They don’t help anyone… and approaching planning in this way is divisive in our community,” he said.

He said he was also concerned the amendments were “doomed to fail in their current form”.

“I have great sympathy for those residents west of Davallia Road and those in the Carine Glades estate but west of Strathyre Drive should be medium density,” he said.

“More than eight years ago when this was first raised, this area had R60 in it and amendments 88 and 90 seek to take the whole area back to R30.

“These are the houses closest to a train station and public transport node anywhere in the City of Joondalup.

“There is no rational argument to downzone the area west of Strathyre Drive on Beach Road back to R30.

“The most integrous thing we can do as a council is cease amendments 88 and 90 and begin to address strategically all 10 of the housing opportunity areas in a more defined, strategic and nuanced way.

“It might not be the method you sought but we are trying to get the same outcome.”

Cr John Chester asked if the City had any capacity to control the developments which were raising concerns.

Ms Paged said the Joondalup Design Review Panel now dealt with many of the applications in the housing opportunity areas and met on a monthly basis.

“We do refuse applications if an applicant is unwilling to bring the proposal to a point where we feel we can reasonably support it,” she said.

Chief executive Garry Hunt added that the City was constrained by the State Government’s planning laws.

“We can’t largely do what the community is asking us to do,” he said.

“There is no magic wand that is going to wind back all of this and stop it.

“There is no quick fix.”

Ms Page added that reducing the density would “not fix the problem in isolation”.

“Grouped and multiple dwellings could still be permitted at R30,” she said.

“And it will not provide any greater retention of existing vegetation and won’t necessarily improve the quality of the builtform.”

However, Cr Russell Poliwka said the council had “missed a couple of things”.

“We have caused severe angst,” he said.

“We seem to be hung up on protocols and procedures rather than the human element.”

He said residents were happy with duplexes and triplexes but did not want a multitude of units.

“You’re going to end up with chaos as far as motor vehicle movements,” he said.

“You’re going to have a socio economic problem you’re not going to be able to solve in the future.”

He said the ideal solution would be to have the consultants’ report to take a holistic approach but “the danger is real”.

“By the time we get to the stage of implementing the consultants report, we are going to have massive apartments in place without any constraint,” he said.

The recommendation was passed 7-4 with Crs Poliwka, Nige Jones, Christopher May and John Chester voting against.

This decision means the council can now request the Planning Minister finalise the City’s draft Local Planning Scheme (LPS3), which has been held up by amendments 88 and 90.

This was because the residential densities in LPS3, which is before her for a final decision before it can be implemented, contradicted the densities being requested in the amendments.

Mr Jacob said it was a critically important strategic document that had been in development for many years.

“We need this plan to respond to our employment targets, to drive builtform excellence, activation, economic development and job creation in the city centre, in particular,” he said.

“I encourage the council to request the minister finalise the plan as soon as possible to help us focus on fixing the issues in all housing opportunity areas in a strategic, coordinated and inclusive way.”

 

Residents continue to fight for reduced density

THE Joondalup council received another two petitions last month requesting a reduction in residential density.

One had 1495 signatures requesting an interim measure or amendment to zone Housing Opportunity Area 8 in Edgewater and Woodvale to R20/30 and limit developments to a maximum of a duplex or triplex.

The second had 354 signatures, also requesting an interim measure or amendment to zone Housing Opportunity Area 5 in Craigie, Kallaroo, Hillarys and Padbury to R20/30 and limit developments to a maximum of a duplex or triplex.

Kallaroo resident Nadine Woodley-Smith said the community of the Northshore estate wanted its amenity, character and green spaces to be preserved.

She said there were 83 properties in their part of Housing Opportunity Area 5.

“Ninety per cent of those residents have been recently surveyed by us and 91 per cent of them signed our petition demanding a moratorium on development until after the final review,” she said.

She asked what the council would do to help the residents now “before it’s too late for our family-oriented culo de sacs, our proivacy and out beautiful green coverage”.

“There’s no need for R40 in Northshore,” she said.