Marrickville cautious on stopping extra storeys
- Max Chalmers
- Thursday, 6 December 2012
Marrickville Council has rejected a proposal aimed at closing a developmental loophole allowing extra building heights.
The Greens allege the loophole allows developers to add an extra storey to buildings, taking them above current height restrictions.
Greens Councillor David Leary said changes to planning laws intended to allow developers and owners flexibility relating to aerials, sloping properties, and that other height-related peculiarities had been manipulated and misused.
“What has happened is a number of developers have come along and said ‘well we interpret that as allowing us to put an extra floor on every building’,” he said.
After the handing down of a Land and Environment Court decision appearing to validate this interpretation, Council staff developed an amendment designed to prevent extra storeys being added above established height restrictions.
But when put before Council the recommendations were rejected as Labor, the Liberals and some independents – including Mayor Victor Macri – voted it down.
Liberal Councillor Rosana Tyler defended her decision to vote against the amendment, believing it had been presented to Council too soon. She warned too much haste would result in rushed changes that would inevitably need to be revisited.
“My concern is always that if you do something very quickly to try and ameliorate something as the result a court case, or as a result of legislation, later on down the track you’ve got to amend other stuff,” Ms Tyler said.
“By doing the restriction the way they wanted to, it wasn’t going to allow for the antennae and for the various other things, which was the purpose of those [laws] in the first place.”
Ms Tyler warned before making changes, Council should consult with other government bodies that were dealing with similar issues, especially Leichhardt Council.
Marrickville Mayor Mr Macri echoed Ms Tyler’s caution.
“We’ve just adopted these new controls; we just have to give them a go and see how they go,” he said.
He described the recommendation forwarded to Council as “one rogue decision” which flew in the face of years of regulation refinements.
Mr Macri also said all developments would have local impact taken into account and would be rejected if they interfered with the amenities of surrounding buildings.
“If they cause infringement, they won’t get approved,” he said.
Mr Leary defended the amendment Council staff had proposed, calling it a “very sensible recommendation”. He rejected accusations of haste.
“The staff had given us a very clear explanation why this loophole had to be closed so I wouldn’t characterise it as a knee-jerk reaction at all,” he said.
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