Why can’t the site be developed for townhouses?

There are many costs the developer incurs as part of creating a new development that will need to be recovered with purchase. In the case of redeveloping former industrial land for residential purposes, this can include significant costs for site decontamination and remediation, to make the land safe for housing. A few of these costs are unknown, so Council will need to be mindful of this when determining an appropriate level of development for the site.

Under the current zoning of IN2 Light Industrial, there are rights to a certain amount of floorspace, and Council’s standard controls for townhouses in the R3 Medium Density Residential Zone would result in a development with approximately half this level of floorspace. Although residential floorspace is more valuable than industrial, a steep reduction in the potential floorspace may render the development unviable, with the site instead either redeveloping for industrial purposes or becoming derelict over time.

With townhouse design, the need for extensive driveways and parking at surface level reduces the amount of space that could be used for other things to enhance the development, for example, landscaping, screening, pedestrian thoroughfares and common outdoor areas. With a multi-storey development, under the rules for the R4 High Density Residential Zone, all the carparking can be included underneath the building, which saves considerably on carparking at street level.

The proposed design proposes a mix of townhouses, and townhouse-style apartments bordering the existing residential properties and fronting Milton Street. It attempts to strike a balance between the existing scale of residential development in the area and the need for the developer to achieve a commercial return sufficient for change to occur.

Why can’t the site be developed for 1-2 storey houses? (R2)

The site needs adequate yield to pay for all the associated costs as part of creating a new development – there are a lot of unknown costs, for example site contamination and rehabilitation. Although extensive testing has been done, no one-really knows how much this will cost until the time comes. Subdividing the site into housing lots is likely to deliver significantly fewer new dwellings than other development options. If developers calculate the yield is not likely to be realised, and the site is not developed, it will potentially sit vacant for several years to come – attracting antisocial and disruptive behaviour. The other possibility is that the site would be redeveloped for industrial purposes.

How will contamination (including the asbestos in the buildings) be managed?

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has requirements around assessment and management of asbestos and other contaminants in soil and buildings which developers and Councils must follow in urban areas to minimise risk. An accredited provider must undertake the extraction and also disposal of asbestos. The other contamination must be managed in accordance with relevant State government legislation. These steps are required to be followed and mapped out in detail at Development Application stage and must be addressed in the conditions of consent.

How will stormwater be managed?

The current stormwater management systems on the sites will need to be upgraded to meet modern standards. Overland flow of stormwater from the sites (in excess of piped capacity) across Council property at Whitfield Reserve will need to be properly managed as part of any redevelopment of the site.  Stormwater management is required to be addressed by the developer at the Development Application stage in accordance with Council requirements.

How will traffic be managed?

Council requires Traffic Impact Assessment as part of any future Development Application for redevelopment of the site. A preliminary assessment of traffic matters has been undertaken as part of this planning proposal. This assessment indicates that the surrounding road network can accommodate the future traffic originating from the site. Among other things, a roundabout is proposed to moderate traffic flow and improve safety for right hand turns into and out of the site. The introduction of a new roundabout would also serve to slow down traffic on Milton Street, improving pedestrian safety. A traffic management plan would be a likely requirement as part of the conditions to be addressed in Development Application stage.

Will there be enough parking for new residents?

Council regulates the amount of car parking spaces required per apartment as part of new development via Canterbury Development Control Plan 2012. The current parking rates for townhouses and apartments ranges from one car space per apartment per dwelling for studio and 1 bedroom dwellings, up to 2 car spaces for 3 or more bedroom apartments. In addition, new developments are required to provide one on-site visitor space for every five (5) dwellings as well as one (1) bicycle space per five dwellings for residents and a further one (1) space per 10 dwellings for visitors. This is in addition to any existing or proposed on-street parking.

Can there be a neighbourhood shop and a café?

Many residential developments also have a commercial operation on the ground floor which acts as social meeting places for the community – Council can certainly consider this suggested change as part of any future development application over the subject sites. Given the size and scale of the redevelopment possible under the planning proposal, the developers may well consider uses of this nature.

Can you plant deciduous trees (seasonal trees) at the southern end?

At development application stage, there is a detailed landscape plan that is created by the applicant that must be approved by Council prior to implementation. Council can require that suitable trees are used on this portion of the development to preserve sunlight in winter to surrounding properties.

Is childcare as part of the development a possibility?

Yes it is possible that childcare facilities could be included in the development although they are not currently proposed. However childcare is a permissible use in the proposed zone. The developers may wish to include facilities of this nature in a future development application; however this is not something Council can impose upon them.

I live nearby. Will my property decrease in value?

We are not in the business of property valuation and speculation. Broadly, the introduction of new apartments into suburbs has led to increased demand for established properties in those suburbs, as the new residents often decide to stay in the area and seek to upgrade to a house over time. Ensuring new development is well designed and does not have detrimental impacts (such as loss of sunshine or privacy) on adjoining properties does mitigate against concerns of this nature. We advise you to get specialist advice if you’re concerned about this.