City of Joondalup recommends four-storey limit for Sorrento Plaza

An artist impression of the proposed Sorrento Plaza at a maximum height of six storeys.
An artist impression of the proposed Sorrento Plaza at a maximum height of six storeys.

THE City of Joondalup will recommend that a proposed $75 million development for Sorrento has a maximum height of four storeys.

Sorrento Plaza was proposed to consist of apartments, restaurants and retail stores on West Coast Drive, ranging from three to six storeys.

Because the site is made up of four separate landowners, a structure plan is needed to guide any redevelopment.

At last night’s meeting, councillors were to consider the draft Sorrento Activity Centre Plan, which proposed a density of R80, and two scheme amendments to rezone the lots from commercial and residential to centre.

These documents were advertised for community consultation late last year, with the City receiving 610 submissions from the public, of which 407 were objections.

The council document said objections were “predominantly opposed to the six-storey building height, the increase in traffic and parking… and the bulk and scale of the development being out of character with the area”.

At the meeting, some residents also questioned what guarantee there was that the staged development would be “developed in its entirety” and what an acceptable timeframe would be.

Mayor Troy Pickard said there were no guarantees because there were different landowners and it would be up to each to decide when their development would occur.

City officers had recommended the council support the draft activity centre plan and amendments and forward them to the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), which will make the final decision.

However, Cr Mike Norman moved an alternative motion to limit the maximum height to four storeys (13.8m).

“Everyone would like to see the Sorrento commercial centre rejuvenated in its entirety and support the provision of multi-storey dwellings but not at the height proposed in the structure plan,” he said.

“The planning officers have suggested there is no solid planning rationale for what could be seen by the WAPC as an arbitrary reduction in height but I disagree.”

He said a six-storey building would be “imposing” on not only surrounding residents but also the “thousands of people each week who drive by on West Coast Drive or who walk and cycle on the adjacent shared path located at ground level”.

“It is claimed the built form and character of the building will be sympathetic to the surrounding area, but it will actually be considerably higher and more imposing than all the buildings in the surrounding area and anything else built, or currently being built, along the entire City of Joondalup coastline,” he said.

“There are many who would like to see no more than three storeys over the entire site and some have said that anything over two storeys will be unacceptable to them.

“However, those who made deputations last week on behalf of local Sorrento residents have agreed with me that a four-storey height limit is a reasonable compromise.”

Other councillors spoke in favour of the alternative motion, including Russell Poliwka, John Logan, Russ Fishwick, Sophie Dwyer and Christine Hamilton-Prime.

Mr Pickard said the council had received many emails from the City officers that there were “no planning grounds to refuse”.

He said a “town planning matter” was “determined on town planning principles” and while he respected Cr Norman’s motion, he “didn’t hear any town planning principles of why we should deviate from the officers’ recommendation”.

“The officers’ report demonstrates quite clearly there is sound planning grounds for this development,” he said.

“It is not our prerogative to slice off storeys in a structure plan and I think the WAPC will frown upon this council for doing so.

“We should either accept the recommendation or reject.”

He said the WAPC was the decision maker and “they could choose to accept, reject or amend our recommendation”.

Cr Norman said if the WAPC was only going to use planning grounds to assess the plan then “why have public consultation”.

He said the council should give a clear signal to the WAPC of its desire for a development with less bulk and scale.

The alternative motion was passed 10-3, with Mr Pickard and Crs Nige Jones and Liam Gobbert against.

 

Developers urge WAPC to approve Sorrento Plaza at six storeys

SORRENTO Plaza will not go ahead if a recommendation to cap the height at four storeys is adopted.

At last night’s Joondalup council meeting, the council voted to support a plan that would guide the redevelopment of land bounded by West Coast Drive, The Plaza, Padbury Circle, Drakes Walk and Raleigh Road.

The $75 million development proposed apartments, restaurants and retail stores ranging from three to six storeys.

However, at the meeting, the council amended the plan to cap the height at four storeys before it was sent to the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), which is the final decision maker.

Representing the applicants, Parcel Property general manager Danielle Davison said should the WAPC adopt a maximum of four storeys, “the development of the site will not proceed”.

“The site will remain as it is for years to come at the detriment to the hundreds of patrons that enjoy the facilities every weekend,” she said.

“This would deny the community access to a facility that will greatly enhance the access of the broader community to the Sorrento beachfront.”

She urged the WAPC to assess the plan, which City officers had recommended for approval at six storeys, on its planning merits.

She said the council’s decision to reduce the development to four storeys was not “fully reflective of the community but merely a reflection of a minority of residents”.

“The City of Joondalup wrote to 702 residents in the immediate vicinity requesting feedback and only 149 responses of objection were received,” she said.

“Similarly, of the 7000 residents of Sorrento, only a total of 407 objections were received in total and in contrast, there were 202 responses in support.”

Ms Davison said the development was not viable at less than six storeys because of the high cost of building in a coastal environment and the need for underground parking near a high sea level.