Bexley rezoning backlash

'Sneaky decision': Bexley North residents are calling on Bayside councillors to overturn a decision to rezone their streets. Picdture: John Veage
'Sneaky decision': Bexley North residents are calling on Bayside councillors to overturn a decision to rezone their streets. Picdture: John Veage

Bexley North residents are calling on Bayside councillors to overturn a decision of the Bayside Council Planning Panel to rezone their residential area for high rise development.

On May 1 the panel supported a rezoning planning proposal which would permit the construction of three six-storey unit blocks with around 100 apartments on the corner of New Illawarra and Bexley Roads.   

Despite residents presenting a petition with 90 signatures collected in only two days, the panel approved the rezoning concept to go to the Department of Planning for Gateway determination.

An online petition already has 400 signatures calling on the councillors to listen to their constituents and reverse the panel’s decision.

The draft Planning Proposal seeks to rezone the land from R2 Low Density Residential (R2) to R4 High Density Residential (R4) and increase the maximum height of buildings on the land from 8.5 metres to 20.5 metres.

According to the council officer’s report, the intended outcome of the draft Planning Proposal is to facilitate the provision of new housing within walking distance of regular public transport and existing shops and services in Bexley North local centre.

 But Stephen Kelly, a spokesman for residents in the area, said the approval created a precedent that will lead to other high density development in Bexley North and neighbouring suburbs.

In February 80 residents convinced councillors to reject a proposal for nine and six storey buildings for apartments, and a motel, on the Bexley North Hotel site which is adjacent to the site which has been rezoned.

They are now asking councillors to reverse the rezoning decision and listen to the concerns of residents.

“Residents were only given a few days to respond to the 178 page detailed plan,” Mr Kelly said.

“If this decision stands then developers will be calling the shots in Bayside Council. 

“A developer should not be given a blank cheque to rezone half a block from two storey residential dwellings to high density at the expense of local residents.

“A developer should not be given a blank cheque to rezone half a block from two storey residential dwellings to high density at the expense of local residents.

“The justification for approving the rezoning for 100 units is that the railway station is in walking distance.  

“This ignores that people in these new units will also drive cars. Traffic in the area is already backed up for hundreds of metres to access the M5.  

“It also ignores the fact that trains are already at capacity level.  

“Development needs to be matched to the provision of services like schools and hospitals and other infrastructure.

“It is laughable that the plan prepared by the council claims that this development will lead to a reduction in traffic because the unit blocks will replace the existing petrol station on the site.

“And the three six-storey unit blocks will tower over neighbouring single storey homes. 

“The height and bulk of this development will completely alter the character of the suburb.”

The council report says the proposed increase in height and FSR is consistent with the surrounding area. 

  • The residents’ online petition is at: change.org search for Bexley Road.

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