Planning panel takes a stick to proposed large medium-density development at Sutherland

A planning panel almost ran out of letters of the alphabet in listing reasons for knocking back a proposed large medium-density housing development in a leafy Sutherland street.

The 24 grounds of refusal, from a to x, were headed by the "narrow site width, forcing cramped design that results in unacceptable bulk, scale and massing".

The proposal was also described as "not being consistent with the streetscape and neighbourhood character".

Other areas of concern ranged from the removal of several mature trees and a landscaping ratio shortfall to deficiencies in drainage, waste storage and driveway access, and the impact on street parking.

Sutherland Shire Local Planning Panel endorsed a council recommendation in refusing the development application (DA) for the 10 dwellings at 5-7 Kurrajong Street, where two houses stand at present.

"The panel has concluded that the application will result in an unacceptable and significant impact on the environment and would adversely affect the amenity of nearby residents," the published decision said.

"The panel considered that the proposal does not comply with a number of key planning controls, has poor site planning and layout and would result in the loss of a number of large, mature onsite and road verge trees that are worthy of retention.

"In particular, the development would cause the loss of the Peppercorn tree located on the common boundary with 3 Kurrajong Street and mostly within the neighbouring property."

The decision was welcomed by residents, who staged a protest in February this year against the proposed development and a smaller project on the other side of Kurrajong Street.

About 90 people, including councillors and state election candidates - although none of the Liberals - attended the event, which was also designed to raise concerns about shire-wide development..


Organisers of the protest meeting, Marcela Bilek and Andrew Mathas, who have lived in the street for about 20 years, said the decision was "an indication of how much the system favours developers".

"The council had strongly recommended this DA not be approved because it failed to comply in many respects, and the developers had stopped corresponding with council," Ms Bilek said.

"Surely this alone should be grounds to reject it without having to spend further taxpayer funds taking it to a local planning panel hearing.

"The developers did not attend the panel hearing, as expected.

"Unfortunately, the DA for 4 Kurrajong street, which is directly across the road, was approved at an earlier planning panel hearing.

"We are now asking the NSW Government and council to explain the earlier decision.

"Even though both the geotechnical report supplied by the developers and the geotechnical report supplied by the neighbours recommended that vibration monitoring / low vibration excavation techniques be employed, the planning panel did not add any conditions to that effect.

"Yet, two weeks prior, a planning panel added conditions for vibration monitoring and copies of geotechnical reports to be provided to neighbours for a very similar DA for Oakwood Street.

"Both panels had the same chair so this inconsistency is particularly surprising.

"The only difference that we could see to explain the discrepancy is that one developer indicated he was open to considering conditions, which were then imposed, whereas the other refused to consider any conditions.

"Developer refusal to engage should be seen as a sign that the conditions are more necessary not less."