A planning panel has refused a development application for a new backpackers hostel with a ground level restaurant and rooftop bar in the Cronulla CBD.
In a unanimous decision, Sutherland Shire Planning Panel accepted the recommendation of council planning staff and police, who opposed the proposal for a four-storey development at 109 Cronulla Street, which is occupied at present by a newsagency.
The panel found the proposal did not satisfy considerations in the council's amalgamation plan for properties in Cronulla Street.
The panel also took into account written submissions opposing the project, specifically the concerns of police.
"The proposed rooftop bar, associated with a backpackers use, well elevated above other buildings and with little or no relief to side boundaries and adjoining sites represented a sub-optimal design for a rooftop bar," the panel said.
"The size of the site, access arrangements and unclear demarcation for customers of the rooftop use and the backpackers use on the site gave rise to the panel sharing concerns expressed by NSW Police.
"The design and use of the rooftop bar in this instance were not supported, although this did not represent a universal conceptual lack of support for a rooftop bar generally."
The panel said it became apparent from questions asked by the applicant that the type of license proposed may not be within those which trigger referral and determination by the panel.
"This was not entirely clear," the panel said.
"In any event...council staff advised that as one of the neighbouring properties within the subdivision pattern in the Sutherland Development Control Plan 2015 of direct relevance to this application was owned by a councillor, and that council staff preference was that the panel assume the delegation of staff to determination the application, due to potential perceptions of a perceived conflict.
"The panel agreed it was appropriate in the circumstances to determine the application."
Police and council planning staff are opposing the development of a new backpackers hostel with rooftop bar in the Cronulla CBD.
The proposal is to demolish the existing building at 109 Cronulla Street, which is occupied at present by a newsagency, and construct a four-storey mixed use development comprising a ground floor level restaurant, with backpackers accommodation above and a rooftop bar.
Sutherland Shire Local Planning Panel is due to determine the development application (DA) on Tuesday, September 15.
The proposed development would comprise:
- Lower Ground Floor - Vehicle entry and turntable and parking for two vehicles, including one shared vehicle space, waste storage, general storage, toilets to service the ground floor restaurant space and services.
- Ground Floor - restaurant with total seating for approximately 82 patrons and outdoor terrace area overlooking Croydon Street. Patron numbers include both indoor and outdoor seating.
- Two levels of backpacker facilities catering for 40 guests, consisting of 20 bunk beds of varying arrangements, including a reception / lounge area, a kitchen, toilet and bathroom facilities, and balcony areas overlooking Croydon Street.
- Rooftop bar area and facilities for approximately 70 patrons open to the public.
- Vehicular access is proposed from Croydon Street, with the main pedestrian access to the ground floor restaurant, backpacker facilities and rooftop bar being from Cronulla Street.
The assessment report by council staff said police had made a detailed submission, strongly objecting to the proposed rooftop bar and the proposed hours for the ground floor licensed restaurant.
The police submission requested, if the application was approved, it be for a two-year trial period and trading hours of the restaurant be restricted to midnight indoor and 10pm outdoor, and the rooftop bar be restricted to 1am indoors and midnight outdoor.
"Concerns were also raised regarding the protection of neighbourhood amenity in the vicinity of the proposed late night trading venues and how the applicant may be able to responsibly manage the surrounding environment," the report said.
"NSW Police have also raised concerns regarding the ability to implement many of the statements made in the Plan of Management (POM) particularly the queuing of patrons and exceedance of capacity.
"NSW Police consider that the POM fails to reflect the risks associated with a licensed bar, with extended trading hours, in a high risk location for alcohol related crime, street offences and anti-social behaviour. The POM requirements for the proposed uses have not been adequately addressed."
The report recommended the DA be refused for several reasons, including the proposed development failed to comply with the objectives of the B3 - Commercial Core zone and urban design principles in Sutherland Shire Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2015.
Other reasons included the development would result in adverse amenity and visual impacts onto neighbouring properties in a visually prominent locality and that "approval of the development will create an undesirable precedent and is therefore not in the public interest"
The history of the proposal goes back to April 2018 when a pre-DA discussion was held with council staff.
A DA followed and, later, amended plans, which responded to matters raised by the council.
The report said the application remained deficient with respect to requested information.