Over-55s apartments approved for Duncraig

Artist impressions of the proposed over-55s apartment development at 57 Marri Road, Duncraig.
Artist impressions of the proposed over-55s apartment development at 57 Marri Road, Duncraig.

A TWO-storey apartment development for over-55s has been approved for a vacant lot opposite Duncraig Shopping Centre.

The $2.5 million development at 57 Marri Road, between Marri Park and a vet hospital, proposes 10 units with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a study that could be used as a “home office or spare room for when grandchildren stay over” and private outdoor living spaces.

It also proposes to have 18 resident car parking bays, three visitor bays and four bicycle bays.

Owner Wei Duan, of Hanrise Pty Ltd and Tang Family Trust, told the Metro North-West Joint Development Assessment Panel the apartments would appeal to local residents wanting to sell their large family home and move into a “modern economic home”, with “low maintenance and secure” units allowing residents to travel more often.

He said the building had been designed to look like “two side-by-side townhouses” from Marri Road and the pedestrian accessway and to be “sympathetic to the existing builtform”.

“As a developer, we want the units to sell, be lived in and enjoyed,” Mr Duan said.

Rowe Group town planning consultant Daniel Hollingworth added there were no residential properties on any of the boundaries and the design allowed for activation on three of the four sides.

However, Joondalup planning services manager Chris Leigh said the development was not in keeping with the current or intended future character of the area.

Though he acknowledged it was an R40 site and there was a three-storey building nearby, he said it was a commercial building and the surrounding residential area was generally “single detached buildings at R20”.

Mikasa Designs architect Sharyn Smith said it had been a “challenging project with a sloping site, steep embankment to the street and no existing street access”.

She said this meant the parking could not be located at the rear and while putting it at the front would reduce the bulk and scale, it was a “poor design outcome” so it was proposed to be centrally located.

She also said while they were allowed to develop to a plot ratio of 0.6, which would be 10 apartments at 82sq m, but they had proposed to increase the apartments to between 87sq m and 100sq m to accommodate the third room.

She said the development also proposed 46.1 per cent open space including the rooftop and landscaped frontages, however Mr Leigh said the City had calculated open space at 41 per cent based on previous advice from the Department of Planning.

Mr Leigh also said the proposed plot ratio was what would be expected for a higher density development at R60 and questioned the cross ventilation for some apartments.

Panel acting deputy presiding member Brian Curtis asked if it was an “over development given the tight site” and why the developer hadn’t scaled it back to meet most of the requirements.

Ms Smith said while the City had calculated the plot ratio at 0.71, they had calculated it at 0.69 and believed it was within what was allowed.

Panel acting specialist member John Syme also questioned the “very steep driveway”.

While Ms Smith acknowledged it, she said it met Australian standards and if it was to be less steep, the parking would have to be located 1m higher, which would make the overall building higher, or the parking would have to be located on the street.

Though Joondalup city officers had recommended the application be refused for reasons including bulk, height, boundary setbacks, open space, site works, retaining walls, the driveway and the proposal not in keeping with the surrounding area, panel presiding member Karen Hyde asked how the requirements could be relaxed given the R40 coding and lack of surrounding residents.

Mr Leigh said the City acknowledged this but while setbacks and open space may not have an impact on the surrounding properties, it could impact potential occupiers.

Cr Philippa Taylor, who was the only Joondalup councillor on the panel following apologies from the City’s three other representatives, attempted to refuse the application but had no support.

She said while it was the “perfect place” for over-55s apartments, there were “too many discretions” being sought and she had concerns about the steep driveway, lack of deep soil zones and the bulk and scale.

Mr Syme moved an alternative motion to conditionally approve, despite believing the proposal was “on the edge”.

“It has pushed the envelope as far as it can possibly go but it doesn’t break out – just,” he said.

He said given the location of the site and its characteristics, the approach was “acceptable” and offered a “fairly comfortable living environment”.

Mr Curtis agreed the “limits have been pushed really hard” but was not convinced it would be detrimental to the surrounding area.

Ms Hyde said it was a “unique site surrounded by public areas” and walkable from “high levels of amenity for seniors living” but believed some additional conditions were required to ensure quality for future residents.

These included landscaping to include 10 per cent deep soil zones and be adequate enough in the communal open space to give privacy for residents living on the perimeter.

The proposal was approved 3-1.