20 October 2023

ACAT bound: Casey development knocked back for second time

| Ian Bushnell
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apartments next to a lake

Still too big: An artist’s impression of the proposed development in Casey. Images: Cox Architecture.

A high-rise mixed-used development in Casey has received an emphatic no from the planning authority for the second time despite the original proposal being scaled back.

However, the disappointed developer will fight the decision in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

KG Capitol and JEGA, which operate the adjacent Casey Market Town shopping centre, submitted a Reconsideration after the original 11-storey, 219-unit proposal for Block 9, Section 132 on Bentley Place near the Casey Pond was rejected as being a case of overdevelopment.

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The revised proposal for Block 9, Section 132 on Bentley Place near Casey Pond took two levels out of the triangular-shaped complex, reducing the number of units to 170.

It also made a number of changes in response to the decision.

However, the planning authority found the new proposal was still too big for the site and locale, and there were not enough changes across a number of areas to make it compliant.

“The applicant has not addressed all reasons for refusal, provided sufficient reasons to depart from the reasons or provided sufficient amendments to the original development to warrant approval of the amended proposal,” the decision says.

It fell down on the nil setbacks proposed, the contention that the ground floor units were for commercial use when they could easily be adapted for residential use, inadequate landscaping and space for trees, and while there were enough parking spaces, the basement car park would need to be reconfigured so vehicles could manoeuvre.

The decision says a “further reduction of scale and potentially different configuration” is required.

The car park side of the proposed development.

“There is nothing similar or close to the scale of the development proposed,” it says. “It is considered excessively tall, intensive within the block and offers limited connection to existing or future visual planning outcomes.

“This is further accentuated with the building-to-boundary elements of the development.

“While departure from the rule is permitted, the scale of departure from existing surrounds and policy direction for the site is not supported. Simply put, the scale of this development is not anticipated for the site.”

The National Capital Design Review Panel had said an increase in the building height currently allowed for the site was acceptable and recommended that it be between four and eight storeys.

A spokesperson for the developer said the outcome was disappointing.

“As a developer, we are committed to delivering quality projects with a focus on community, creativity and sustainability,” the spokesperson said.

“Whilst our proposed development is different from the current offerings in Casey, we believe that it provides benefits to the local and broader community and would fit well into the Group Centre, supporting Casey’s growth over the decades to come.

“Importantly, it would also provide over 170 new homes to Canberra families at a lower entry point than many of the surrounding options at a time when the housing crisis is peaking.”

The spokesperson said there was significant support for the development application from within the community.

“We intend to appeal the decision at ACAT,” the spokesperson said.

The revised proposal attracted 107 written representations, with the main concerns including overdevelopment, traffic, parking and pedestrian access.

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Gungahlin Community Council president Henley Samuel said the decision was a victory for the community.

“The worries of the public have been heard,” he said.

Mr Henley said the council always welcome development as long it suited the location.

He said the site was unsuitable for a development of that size and the traffic network was already not coping with the current population.

“They need to consider all these things. Reducing the size would be a good starting point,” Mr Samuel said.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.

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