It was third time lucky for property developers Nicolas Daoud and Co Pty Ltd, when the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) met once again to make a decision on the controversial Akuna Street development at Kiama Pavilion on Tuesday.
In December 2017, the JRPP deferred the development application in order to receive revised plans to address a range of matters.
The JRPP held another public meeting on April 30, after council received 79 submissions at the close of public exhibition for the revised $31.146 million Akuna Street proposal.
The proposal was again deferred.
Following the second public meeting, Kiama Council decided to withdraw their offer of sale for the CBD site. However, despite the roadblock, council received amended plans and documents from the proponent.
A Kiama Council spokesperson said their position remained the same despite today’s decision.
“Kiama Council notes today’s decision of the Joint Regional Planning Panel to approve, with conditions, the development application for Akuna St.
“This approval process is separate to the commercial aspects of the development.
“Council still owns the land where the development is planned.
“Council resolved in August to reject the offer from Mr Daoud to purchase the land, and not enter into any further form of direct negotiation with any party.”
The plans were on public exhibition from September 19 to October 3 and received 18 submissions objecting to or raising concerns with the proposal.
The issues raised included the building’s height, concerns it was overdevelopment of the site, the mixture of residential and commercial components were inappropriate, as well as the mix of housing types within the development, increased traffic and lack of parking.
The planning panel felt the revised plans addressed a number of the concerns raised at the last meeting and unanimously voted to approve the plans.
However, the height of the building still does not comply with the Kiama LEP.
About 50 people gathered at the public meeting, where five community member spoke, with the majority arguing the issues previously raised had not been adequately addressed.
Five members of the community spoke at the public meeting, with the majority arguing the issues previously raised had not been adequately addressed.
Representing the Kiama Central Precinct Committee, Peter O’Neill was left feeling “disappointed for the residents”.
“This is the largest business site left in Kiama, it was a fantastic opportunity to develop something that would be worthwhile and reflect the character of Kiama, however they’ve chosen to approve an over-development of the site,” Mr O’Neill said.
“There’s now 96 one and two-bedroom units been approved, no three-bedroom units, and going on the price of other units in the area, it won’t be affordable.
“The other issue it, this is zoned 2b for commercial and retail use, and they’ve actually reduced the size of the commercial and retail space and increased the height of the residential space.
“Where we needed more commercial space to revitalise that end of town, that now won’t happen.”
The revised proposal has been reviewed by Kiama Council’s architectural and urban design consultant, BHI Architects, they concluded the proposal further improved the urban design outcome in-line with the JRPP’s previous recommendations.
“There has been a concern raised by residents already about what will happen to the future of it,” Mr O’Neill said.
“There is currently a town centre plan being put forward by council, residents will have the opportunity to talk about it then, what we’re hoping is that council will get together with residents and planners and actually plan for the whole of that area, not just that site, but the rest of the CBD and have some sort of uniform approach that will appeal to residents and visitors alike.”
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