JOONDALUP council has refused a proposed three-storey apartment development in Duncraig.
The application proposed 13 apartments across 4 and 6 Brechin Court, consisting of 12 two-bedroom and one single bedroom units, 18 on-site car parking bays with 13 for residents and five for visitors, two verge bays for visitors, and an internal communal open space.
The proposal was advertised with all 70 submissions and a 63-signature petition objecting.
A neighbouring resident said at the council briefing that Brechin Court was only a “very small cul de sac” and the proposed apartments would have an “enormous and detrimental” impact on what was “previously a charming and small community”.
However, planning and community development director Dale Page said the plans had been revised several times in response to comments made by City officers and the Joondalup Design Reference Panel and following community consultation.
This included re-designing the proposal from two storeys to three to “provide additional open space and landscaping and improve the amenity of the development”.
“Three storeys is permitted within the current framework and coding of R60, however it is acknowledged that with the amalgamation of two lots and the three-storey height, the scale of the development will be greater than existing development in the locality,” the council document said.
“In an area undergoing change, design should respond to the planned future character of the area while mitigating impacts on existing residents and development.”
Ms Page said the revised proposal met most of the planning requirements and where it did not, the discretions were minor and met the design principles.
This included portions of the development exceeding the maximum 9m height at 4cam and 89cm in two places.
“There is no reasonable basis or justifiable reason to refuse,” she said.
Cr Tom McLean asked if the council rejected the application, how successful the City would be if an appeal was made to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).
“It would be difficult to defend given its compliance,” Ms Page said.
However, at the council meeting another neighbouring resident asked if it did go to SAT, would it be assessed under the old guidelines or the new Design WA.
Ms Page said because Design WA was in effect from May 24, that would be the “overarching document”.
“Design WA is stricter in some respects so it is possible it would not have met all requirements,” she said.
However she said three storeys would still be allowed under the new guidelines.
Cr Russ Fishwick moved the alternative motion to refuse the application for several reasons including height, “undue bulk as viewed from the adjoining properties”, the cumulative impact of the discretions being sought and the collection of waste potentially causing a “nuisance to occupiers of adjoining premises”.
He also raised concerns of increased traffic, with an extra 65 vehicle movements per day, and the development being “greater than what the site can accommodate”.
In regards to the potential cost of a SAT appeal, Cr Fishwick said councillors were elected to “represent the community and not rubber stamp all of the administration’s recommendations”.
However, Cr John Chester said he was conflicted given the site was a “short walk from Warwick train station” and suitable for infill, and noting the re-design from two storeys to three to “reduce the build footprint”.
Cr Philippa Taylor also agreed it was the “perfect spot for infill”.
The alternative motion was passed 7-5, with Crs Chester, Kerry Hollywood, Tom McLean, Philippa Taylor and Nige Jones voting against the refusal.
The City is also assessing a 16-unit development on the neighbouring sites of 8 and 10 Brechin Court.