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Anson Street, St Georges Basin – Land and Environment Court – Class 1 Appeal – Proposed Residential Flat Building
This matter was listed for three hearing days - 4 September, 5 September and 22 September 2017 before Commissioner Dixon.   
Day 1 of the hearing was held at Blackett Park, St Georges Basin.   Amidst almost gale force winds, six resident representatives outlined their strong objection to the proposed development.  The objections raised included concerns about the bulk and scale of the development; overshadowing of the neighbouring properties; the lack of adequate infrastructure; social and environmental impacts; and economic viability.
Following the residents’ submissions, the Commissioner inspected the site and its surrounds and the hearing was then adjourned with the second day to take place in Sydney.  
Day 2 of the hearing saw the tendering of evidence from both parties and the evidence of the town planning experts.  Following that evidence, the Commissioner ordered that the applicant provide further amended plans which be notified to the resident objectors for further comment prior to the next scheduled hearing date.
During the adjournment, the applicant served amended plans which were made available to the residents via Council’s DA Tracking site.  The residents worked together and prepared a joint submission which has been served on the applicant’s solicitor and will be tendered to the Court at the next hearing date.
Unfortunately, the Commissioner fell ill which required the vacation of the final hearing date.  It is anticipated that Day 3 of the hearing will only take 1 to 1.5 hours.   It will consist of the tendering of the residents’ further submission and the applicant’s further amended plans.  The urban design experts will also provide some evidence and the legal representatives will make their closing submissions. 
The parties are working with the Court to arrange a further date that is suitable to all.   At this point in time, it appears as though 12 October 2017 from 4pm is a date and time that is suitable to the legal representatives and their experts. We are waiting to hear whether that date is also suitable to the Court.   Council will contact residents once a final hearing date is confirmed.

UPDATE: 26/9/17

The first Anson St hearing (for 2 blocks of flats) in the Land & Environment Court was held at BLacket Park SGB on 4th September, 2nd day of hearing held in Sydney on 5th. Some local residents attended that hearing and were disheartened although they had been told by Council previously that the DA complied with issues raised and that Council would have to state this. The Developers attorney picked out some issues with the residents speeches and Council's rep (as a Town Planner) and the developers Town Planner took the stand under oath responding to questions.

There was to be a 3rd Hearing day (22nd Sept) but the Commissioner was ill and notice was given late Thursday afternoon (about 5pm) that the Hearing would not be held but adjourned.

Have been advised by Council staff that no date has been set as the Commissioner is still not well and of course no decision will be reached on that last hearing day. The Commissioner will then take her time to read documents and make a decision. Possibly will take a few months and even though the height is permissible in the zone the buildings are definitely not in character with this area. It is possible the Commissioner who has visited the site and the area will realise this during the time taken working on her decision.

All of the community members who have been working to get the word out as well as speaking to the community and Commissioner have done the best they can and hopefully the outcome will be the best for our area.

A refusal with this first DA could make all the difference to the outcome of the RA proposal for the Master Concept Plan for 14 blocks of 4 storey flats in Anson St that is also in with the Land & Environment Court for which no date for conciliation or hearing has been announced.

There is still a decision to be made by the Dept of Planning for a proposal to come out for community consultation to lower the height now permissible on the blocks of land that the 14 blocks would  sit on. This would mean the height that is now 13metres (4 storey) would be lowered to 8.5metres (up to 2 storey) A long way to go but is in the process.  

A positive outcome for this also will  make all the difference to Anson St development proposal.

Enquiries : 0424100051

Email to Basin Villages Forum from Council, dated 25th July

Hello David (Reynolds)
Thank you for your letter of 20 July 2017, which the Acting Director of Planning, Environment and Development and General Manager have drawn to my attention. I sincerely hope this response goes someway to assisting you. Importantly, the application is no longer under assessment by the Council.  It is now within the realm of the Land and Environment Court of NSW.  So what this means is that the processes and procedures are governed by Orders and the rules of the Court.  In response to your letter I will deal with the 3 points in turn.
An extension of time 
Whilst we are normally happy to accept submissions for extended periods especially where an application is still under assessment we are not in this position.  The application has in effect been determined by way of refusal and is the subject of an appeal.  Currently there is a Court Order which stipulates the notification dates.  The dates in the Order are 20 July 2017 – 10 August 2017.  This notification was also at our instance given that we believed that the community should be informed of any changes. 
We are also required to file an amended statement of facts and contentions (SOFC)  by 17 August.  So in short, we will need to review the plans and submissions and compile an amended SOFC between after 10 and before 17 August so that it can be checked and reviewed.
So, in answer to your question, we are firstly bound by the dates set by the Court and there is no scope to realistically extend the dates given the timetable we have been set.
Review of the amendments
We are working on this and will likely seek, advice from our urban designer.  As the matter is before the Court, we will not be doing a conventional s79C assessment or Council report.  Our comments on the changes will be how the changes have addressed our concerns.  That is, our earlier contentions.  From a very quick desktop review the changes made to the development show that the height of the development appears to satisfy the controls contained in the Shoalhaven Local Environmental Plan 2014.  This is for us a ‘big ticket’ item.  We are reviewing the proposal with respect to our earlier concerns to see how the other issues have been resolved (eg setbacks, pedestrian access into buildings, solar access, overshadowing, privacy, bulk and so on.) 
The following is a summary of the more substantial changes made to the proposal 
·         A reduction on the gross floor areas of buildings A and B.
·         A reduction in the number of units from 56 to 54. The proposal now comprises 33 x 3 bedroom units, 19 x 2 bedroom units and 2 x 1 bedroom units.
·         A reduction in the number of basement car spaces to 100.
·         Alterations to the internal floor layout of the units.
·         An increase the setback to Anson St of the top floor
·         A redesign of the common open space areas between the two buildings.
·         Each building to have two lifts instead of one to reduce the length of corridors.
·         Increased private open space areas for units
·         Increased separation between the two buildings.
·         Floor to ceiling heights increased.
·         Building height to be contained within the 13m height limit.
 We understand that the community would like a much more reduced scale development however, the adopted and legally made controls are what we have to consider and is what the Court will also be looking at.

We are happy to meet and discuss process.  We have a briefing on the matter with Councillors on 15 August.  This is confidential as it will contain legal and privileged information.  However, in saying this, our review of the proposal will be mostly complete and we can summarise key points for you after this date.  If you wish to meet earlier, our review of the plans may not be complete but we can certainly discuss process and procedure with you. As an alternative, noting that it can be difficult to arrange meetings you may wish to consider contacting our Legal Coordinator, Ms Samantha Neilson who will be pleased to assist you with your enquiries concerning legal and court processes.
I hope this helps you.  If you have any questions about the matter and / or the plans, James Bonner who has carriage of the matter may be able to assist.
The contact number for us is below.  Thank you for your interest in this matter. 
Cathy Bern
Section Manager - Development Shoalhaven City Council

New diagrams:
elevations & material finishes
Axonometric view
The following is a summary of the more substantial changes made to the proposal 
·         A reduction on the gross floor areas of buildings A and B.
·         A reduction in the number of units from 56 to 54. The proposal now comprises 33 x 3 bedroom units, 19 x 2 bedroom units and 2 x 1 bedroom units.
·         A reduction in the number of basement car spaces to 100.
·         Alterations to the internal floor layout of the units.
·         An increase the setback to Anson St of the top floor
·         A redesign of the common open space areas between the two buildings.
·         Each building to have two lifts instead of one to reduce the length of corridors.
·         Increased private open space areas for units
·         Increased separation between the two buildings.
·         Floor to ceiling heights increased.
·         Building height to be contained within the 13m height limit.

The Basin Villages Forum’s Submission dated 3rd August, 2017 can be viewed here (pdf) -
BVForum DA1830 Submission

Following below is text from Submission sent by Basin Villages Forum to Shoalhaven City Council, on 12 April, 2017.
The General Manager,
Shoalhaven City Council
PO Box 42
Dear Mr Pigg
Re: DA16/1830 Anson Street, St Georges Basin
Basin Villages Forum is at best disappointed that such minor changes have been made to this DA. The Community does not believe that their concerns have been heard or understood by the Applicant.
The application is still inconsistent with Section 79C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act , SEPP65 and SEPP71

Our issues remain:
While it is permissible in the SLEP2014 for a maximum height of 13m on this land, it does not equate to good town planning.
The height permissible was a decision made by the elected councilors on the floor of Shoalhaven City Council, against staff recommendation and community support. The height remains inappropriate for the area, it generally being an 8.5m limit across the precinct.
The height of 13m is out of character in this area. All areas in this precinct are a maximum of 8.50m. This proposal will be seen from the water and all local view
- points. It will stand as an inappropriate blight on the landscape. All previous developers have respected the visual amenity of the area and not sought to gain an increase in height.
The community considers the Shadow diagrams incorrect, believing the diagrams do not correctly show the impacts on the adjacent over 50s affordable housing of Rosevale Village. The diagrams need to be reassessed.
Rosevale Village contains 54 homes with approximately 90 residents, many of whom will have their solar access severely compromised. The older residents have chosen this village for their retirement years and are now faced with a large development proposal that will greatly impact on their lives. The over shadowing and possible impact the construction will have on their homes, with the requirement to dig out 7 metres for underground parking on a site in close proximity, is creating a great deal of stress for these homeowners.
Height alone does not make this building unacceptable. 3 storeys and it would still not suit the area. The community is asking for good town planning that will serve the area into the future.
Most members of the community are keen to support medium density but would like this to be done in a desirable way that maintains the character and ambience of the area.
SEPP 65 and its Associated Apartment Design Guide Line.
Stated Aims of this document include
This application in its current form does not meet any of these aims. It does not respond appropriately to the character of the area. Traffic and transport issues remain unresolved.
Further, SEPP 65 goes on:
Establishing the desired future character is determined through the strategic planning process in consultation with the community, industry and other key stakeholders. Understanding the context during this process is crucial to support change and determine appropriate building types and planning controls.”
There has been no strategic planning that involved community consultation in regard to this site. The community would like the opportunity to be involved with determining the future of their area.
Environmental Concerns 79c
The landowner has not provided required surveys for Critically endangered orchid species. There is an Environmental Assessment done by Dr Kevin Mills on this land but we believe it was in 2011 prior to the De Battista’s subdivision request. Partial land clearing was commenced and permitted after the owners subdivision approval was granted but it has been highlighted that a critically endangered orchid species Speculantha venticosa occurs within 200m of this site.
Suitable surveys for this species have not been undertaken. The landowner was advised of this requirement. The site is now so badly damaged that there is no longer any chance of any orchids being found.

• This action demonstrates a blatant disregard for the process required to assess a DA.
A second species Melaleuca biconvexa is known to occur on the site and must also be assessed on this site during the DA assessment phase of this project. We understand that the Applicant has to submit study and show how Melaleuca biconvexa can be protected on this site.
Fire Risk
Under the current title provisions, the community believes that the bushfire risk is not adequately addressed. The Rural Fire Service should be involved in the DA process.
Part 4 Clause 16   Stormwater
The consent authority must not grant consent to a development application to carry out development on land to which this Policy applies if the consent authority is of the opinion that the development will, or is likely to, discharge untreated stormwater into the sea, a beach, or an estuary, a coastal lake, a coastal creek or other similar body of water, or onto a rock platform. The community therefore requests on these grounds (and others stated) that this application be
This application lies within the catchment of St Georges Basin, sitting on sloping land within 300m of the foreshore. Every large development this close to St Georges Basin has resulted in a major pollution requiring emergency responses. St Georges Basin has suffered repeated siltation inundation events from developments in the catchment.
It is therefore appropriate that at this DA application stage there is a comprehensive site construction management plan that addresses any likelihood of a pollution event that will affect St Georges Basin waterway. An isthmus has developed on the foreshore as a result of repeated siltation events. The community is happy to provide photos that show the change over time from badly managed developments.
This proposal includes digging 7m below natural ground- level and there will inevitably be water issues. These have not been addressed and are of major concern to the community.
The community is also concerned about the long-term management of the storm water. There is only a minimum of soft landscaping and it is therefore only reasonable that adequate storm water detention is managed on site.
The community does not believe this important issue has been suitably addressed in the DA application.
Anson St is in parts a very narrow carriageway. It does not have the capacity to cope with development at this concentration. There must be a cumulative approach to assessing the traffic impact in this residential area. There are several developments in the area that will impact on the road network. These include the recently subdivided area of Links estate and the approved subdivisions at both 74 and 92 island Point Rd.
There will be a substantial increase generated by this application and added to subdivisions in progress the road infrastructure will be overstretched. Anson St in particular will be adversely affected by any increase in traffic.

In the DA there is provision for 107 carparks for 56 units. This is less than 2 per unit and does not provide any storage for boats or trailers etc.
There are 7 visitor carparks on site. It should be noted that Anson St is a No Parking area and these 7 would have to facilitate all visitor carparking. This seems hopelessly inadequate.
This application is not supported by State Planning instruments, Shoalhaven City Council nor the community.
It should not be considered in its current form and it is a dangerous precedent to go ahead with the like of this application without any strategic planning to support it and its future viability.

Yours sincerely

Anson Letter Page 1
Anson Letter Page 2
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