A developer has approached the NSW Land and Environment Court, seeking permission to breach planning rules on building height at his project in Sydney's Balgowlah Heights.
While the developer claims that his proposed three-level apartment building with two commercial units on the ground floor will offer greater housing choice, the Northern Beaches Council has objected to the development application and sought its withdrawal.
According to the Council, the application didn’t meet their rules for building height, parking and privacy, and communal open space allocation.
Residents of Balgowlah Heights have also expressed concern over how the proposed building will flout the 8.5-metre height limit in the suburb by almost four metres.
However, the Court has agreed for a hearing on the site of the proposed redevelopment following an appeal from the project’s architects Benson McCormack.
The architect claims that the height concerns have been addressed in the $4 million proposal.
Experts have observed that the Court had no authority to change planning rules.
Most of the appeals made in the Land and Environment Court have been brought by developers. Of the 431 planning appeals in court, 415 were by developers but only 73 went in their favour without any amendment while 111 appeals were upheld after suitable amendments to satisfy the Council.
Both community members as well as elected representatives have shared their concerns about the proposed development setting a wrong precedent.
Though the project’s architects say the building will improve retail amenity in the neighbourhood as well as expand housing choice for empty nesters, the Council is concerned about the lack of compliance with development controls.