Apartments approved for Chipala Court, Edgewater

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.
Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

A TWO-storey apartment building proposed for a suburban street in Edgewater has been approved after more than a year since the application was made.

The original proposal for 14 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court was first deferred by the Joondalup council in September 2017, with revised plans refused by the Metro North-West Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) in July and the council again in August.

The applicant then appealed the JDAP’s decision to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and through this process, revised the plans again, reducing it to 12 units.

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

Yesterday these plans were presented back to the JDAP for it to reconsider its previous refusal.

CF Town Planning and Development director Carlo Famiano said other changes included reducing the site coverage, relocating the vehicle access from Chipala Court to Apalie Trail, concealing the carpark to the rear of the development and relocating the open space.

He said it proposed an active frontage on both Chipala Court and Apalie Trail, which would improve the appearance of the streetscape.

1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater. Picture: Martin Kennealey

He said the discretions being sought were minor and a result of the site constraints, and urged the panel to recognise the proposal was in an R40 zone in a housing opportunity area.

“It meets the objectives of the housing opportunity area and will help the City meet its infill targets and diversity of housing types,” he said.

However, Planning services manager Chris Leigh said while the latest proposal was a “much better design” and it “largely complied”, the City still believed it was “not suitable for approval”.

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

He said it did not reflect the surrounding area, which is mainly comprised of “detached single-storey housing with buildings separated”.

“This development presents as a single two-storey mass with no real building separation,” he said.

“It doesn’t strike an appropriate balance between what is there and the future vision.”

Panel specialist member Fred Zuideveld said he was concerned at the way the City was looking at the future character of the area and asked if this would include two storeys.

Mr Leigh said the City was comfortable with two storeys but they could be achieved in more sympathetic ways.

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

Alternate deputy presiding member Clayton Higham also asked if it would be difficult for the “first cab of the rank” to come up with an appropriate design at the higher density and Mr Leigh said yes.

“It is a negotiation between the current character and former density and what is now allowed,” he said.

“The City is in the process of revising its framework to allow better control of the impacts in housing opportunity areas.”

Developer Naim Jones said the proposal would have a minimal impact on adjoining properties and would improve the streetscape with many of the current homes approaching 40 years old.

He said the proposal “tried to include a town house appearance”, using “varying materials” and “extensive landscaping” to reflect the area and it incorporated a “very large open space to encourage social interaction and form a community among occupants”.

Mr Jones said they were also in discussions to include Tesla solar tiles “that will hopefully be available by the time we are ready to build”, which would be a WA-first, battery packs to store power and an electric vehicle charging station in a visitor parking bay.

He said this would help occupants save money and would “offset tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide”.

“We want this to be a showcase and a pioneer of future eco and sustainable living,” he said.

Mr Leigh said the City required more information regarding the landscaping, with the Joondalup Design Reference Panel concerned if what was being proposed would be viable, and regarding the sustainability measures the applicant was in discussions for.

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

Edgewater Community Residents’ Association (ECRA) treasurer Joanna Quan also raised concerns about noise generated from waste trucks, with the collection point 2.6m and 4.6m away from certain bedrooms, the location of external air-conditioning units, overshadowing of one unit’s bedroom and visitor parking.

She said the proposal would create a “dominant builtform without any consideration of the surrounding residents” and it did not respond to the “existing suburban character of the area”.

Mr Leigh said the City had assessed these concerns and was comfortable with what the applicant had proposed, including waste collection being unlikely to occur before 9am and after 3pm.

However, he agreed the City’s “fundamental issue” was that the proposal did not “adequately respond to the existing character”.

Agreeing with the recommendation to refuse the development, Cr Philippa Taylor said it was inappropriate for the area and Cr Christine Hamilton-Prime said she was concerned “at the last hour” the applicant was discussing new sustainability measures that were “not concrete” and based on “loose discussions”.

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

However, presiding member Karen Hyde said the panel was in a difficult position given this type of development is “contemplated” in the City’s Local Housing Strategy, the proposal was “generally compliant”, the discretions being sought were minor, the site works would be minimal and remaining concerns including the permeability of the front fence and waste collection could be addressed in approval conditions.

“It is difficult to confirm the reasons to refuse,” she said.

“The proposal has changed since we last saw it with two units dropped and pitched roofs and materials to reflect the area.”

Mr Zuideveld said the “high degree of articulation” meant the development would not be a “solid mass” but would “read more as a series of town houses”.

He also said it would sit “well below the adjoining properties” so it would not be a dominant building in the street.

Mr Higham said he would also “reluctantly approve” the proposal.

“The difficulty lies with the R40 zoning without the additional policy framework,” he said.

“If the City could start again, it might not put R40 there because I’m not sure it was the right thing to do.

“But our job is to judge with the framework we have and R40 is what we judge against.”

The motion to refuse the development was lost 2-3, with the Joondalup councillors on the losing side.

The alternative motion to conditionally approve was passed 4-1, with Cr Taylor holding her position.

Conditions included additional landscaping plans and information on waste management and sustainable materials to be provided, the planting of mature trees, the lots to be amalgamated, the front fence to be permeable and several air-conditioning units to be relocated to more suitable places.

Artist impressions of the revised plans for 12 units across 1 and 3 Chipala Court, Edgewater.

At the end of the meeting, an Edgewater resident asked how the community could appeal the decision.

Ms Hyde said WA did not allow third party appeals and so it would be up to the City if it wished to pursue.

ECRA has confirmed it has already contacted the City to find out its next steps.

“Given the current community consultation on the housing opportunity areas is about to reach its final stages, and hopefully will result in better planning frameworks, there is a real potential this development would not be possible in the near future,” secretary Beth Hewitt said.

“Our community is greatly distressed by the potential of these nasty units being repeated across the suburb.”

– The panel will assess another application for 12 units at 80 and 82 Trailwood Drive, Woodvale at its next meeting on January 24.