Edgewater: Decision on apartment complex for Tuart Trail deferred

Artist impressions of the 14-unit proposal at Tuart Trail, Edgewater.
Artist impressions of the 14-unit proposal at Tuart Trail, Edgewater.

A DECISION on a proposed two-storey apartment complex in Edgewater has been deferred to address design concerns.

The 14-unit development across 7 and 56 Tuart Trail, valued at $2 million, proposed 11 two-bedroom and three one-bedroom dwellings with a single vehicle access point from Tuart Trail, 18 on-site car parking bays with 14 for residents and four for visitors and another five visitor bays within the verge.

It went before the Metro North-West Joint Development Assessment Panel on Tuesday and was recommended for refusal by the City of Joondalup.

Resident Jean Ireland, who was “representing the majority of Tuart Trail residents” said the proposal did not maintain the amenity of the area, with the “bulk, colour and dominant builtform detracting from the current garden streetscape”.

She said it was a case of quantity over quality, making “no attempt to fit in”.

She also believed it would lack amenity for occupants with blank two-storey walls making the outdoor area feel like a “prison exercise yard”.

She also said the verge would not be wide enough to plant seven street trees as well as five visitor car parking bays.

Moharich and More planning and environmental law firm director Belinda Moharich, acting on behalf of the landowner and applicant, said she was “very concerned to see the approach taken by the City” when assessing the proposal.

She said there were inconsistencies in the way it assessed this proposal compared to previous similar applications, with the City making many references to the yet-to-be approved State Planning Policy 7 (SPP7), also known as Design WA.

Joondalup planning services manager Chris Leigh said since the last development assessment panel meeting , the City had found out SPP7 was considered a “seriously entertained document” and so the City was giving “more weight” to assessing applications against it.

“In the past, we have limited how much weight is given because of the uncertainty surrounding ultimate approval and when it would take place,” he said.

“But now we have been advised of a high degree of certainty and a shorter time frame so we have given it more weight.”

He said this information was given to the City late in the process and due to time constraints, issues regarding the proposal assessed against SPP7 were not discussed with the applicant.

Ms Moharich said the proposal met most current requirements and the three areas of non-compliance were “tenuous at best”.

Responding to comment about the proposal not integrating with the surrounding area, Ms Moharich said it would be the first R40 development in the area so it was going to look different to the existing R15 houses built in the 1980s.

She said the proposal needed to be considered along with the aspirations for the future amenity and streetscape of the area.

Mr Leigh said the City acknowledged the character of the building did not need to match or replicate what was existing but it did not mean it “doesn’t need to be given any regard”.

He said there needed to be a balance.

CF Town Planning and Development director Carlo Famiano, also representing the landowner, said he was disappointed to see the recommendation for refusal.

He said a lot of work had been put in to ensure the proposal met all planning frameworks and when the City was contacted to see if there were any issues to be addressed, he was told “no”.

Mr Famiano said two-storey buildings were common in the area and they had taken into account the topography of the land.

He said they had also included a pitched roof and softening landscape to help integrate with neighbouring properties.

In response to verge concerns, he said the area was “quite wide” and they could shuffle the parking bays and spread the planting of trees.

Crs Philippa Taylor and Christine Hamilton-Prime moved to refuse the application with Cr Taylor saying the design lacked creativity and Cr Hamilton-Prime saying it would set a “detrimental precedent”.

However, the other three panel members said they could not support a refusal based on the City’s use of SPP7.

“We don’t know what the final of SPP7 will look like and using it as a basis for refusal means it will probably end up at SAT (State Administrative Tribunal) and I think it would be a very difficult argument to win,” specialist member Fred Zuideveld said.

However, he said he was also “not fully supportive” of the development with issues regarding the car parking.

Acting presiding member Sheryl Chaffer moved to defer the application for a minimum of eight weeks to allow the applicant to address concerns including the design having regard to the “intended future character of the area”, more passive and active surveillance of the carpark and pedestrian areas and the dimensions of the bays and vehicle access, how the verge will accommodate street trees and parking and to redesign the communal outdoor area to improve amenity.