THE $238 million Kirrawee brick pit development proposal has been approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission — ending 10 years of uncertainty for the community over the future of the site.
Sutherland Shire Council was bypassed, with the final decision made under Part 3A of the state government's controversial Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
Henroth Investments Pty Ltd can now build two residential towers of 14 storeys and 11 storeys and seven smaller buildings ranging in height from three to seven storeys.
There will be 432 apartments in all, parking for 1150 cars and a 9000 square metre public park.
In its determination, the commission said the proposal would provide additional housing stock, increase the range of retail services and provide a public park.
"The broader impacts, such as traffic generation, would not be unreasonable subject to the improvements sought by the RMS," the report said.
The NSW Department of Planning received 191 public submissions, of which 108 were objections. Kirrawee, Gymea and Sutherland Shire chambers of commerce also expressed concern over traffic and the threat to businesses.
Sutherland Shire mayor Carol Provan was extremely disappointed by the decision.
"We put all our concerns on the table and they just didn't listen to us," she said. "Once again, the state government has not taken into account the concerns of the community. They are just walking all over us."
Cr Provan said there were still grave concerns about the development. "We certainly need more development but we don't need it in a place that is so gridlocked," she said.
Sutherland Shire Council spent more than $500,000 in the Land and Environment Court fighting the proposal.
Development proposals for the site date back to 2002, when it was still owned by Sydney Water. The initial $113 million application was for six storeys, 250 units, 10,978 square metres of retail and 737 car parking spaces. The retail component was amended to 10,352 square metres but the application was refused by the Land and Environment Court in August 2009.
A DA was lodged for a larger development worth more than $220 million consisting of 490 units, 13,450 square metres of retail space and 1378 car spaces. The developer applied for assessment under Part 3A.
A park was offered by the developer to the council under a voluntary planning agreement in February 2011, but the offer was refused, with the council saying the maintenance costs and financial liabilities did not justify ownership.
The council instead rezoned part of the site from open space to mixed use, levied the developer and began searching for other open space for a park.
The developer cut the tallest tower from 15 to 14 storeys early last year and the depth of the towers was reduced.
The number of units was cut to 432 and car spaces reduced to 603.
Is this a good move for Kirrawee?