A NSW Land and Environment Court decision to refuse a proposed controversial Dunbar Park Estate development has delivered a crucial community victory and another blow to the state’s troubled planning laws.
City of Ryde said the judgement handed down Wednesday by Commissioner Peter Walsh was a “huge win for residents”.
The planning proposal involved demolition of an existing single dwelling in Lexcen Place, Marsfield and its replacement with a residential flat building comprising four apartments.
A statement issued by City of Ryde today hailing the victory, featured a TWT photograph of Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale with residents from last August, shortly after the TWT-backed campaign against the development began.
Residents sought an urgent rezoning of Dunbar Park Estate and Mayor Laxale obliged, proposing – with the unanimous endorsement of Council – it be changed from R3 to R2, a lower-density zoning which normally wouldn’t permit residential flat developments.
The same August 22 (2017) Council meeting formally refused the development application “based on a range of factors, including the proposed development being inconsistent with the character of the local area”.
The developer, Raffi Yessaeian, then took the well-trodden path of appeal in the Land and Environment Court – considered by developers a reliable but costly ‘green light’ to override council and community opposition.
A year-long court process again left the community in limbo, while there were also delays in the rezoning process and in April, the introduction of new laws to “fast track” the supply of medium density housing.
Under the changes, Lexcen Place-style developments would potentially be permissible as complying development in all residential zones, with as little as the stroke of a private certifier’s pen.
The development application for consideration by the Land and Environment Court was “modified considerably” to narrow City of Ryde’s contentions.
But that was ultimately not enough to overcome other issues with the proposal – particularly in relation to parking – Commissioner Walsh sensationally dismissed the appeal and with it, the revised application.
Commissioner Walsh sensationally dismissed the appeal
and with it, the revised application.
Ryde Council fight
“Council has fought this proposal all the way as it was completely out of step with the area’s amenity and character and would have seen the ludicrous notion of basement parking being introduced in a quiet residential street,” Clr Laxale said.
“This win will send a message to NSW MPs Victor Dominello and Anthony Roberts who are determined to impose the Medium Density Housing Code in the City of Ryde.
“Flat buildings do not belong in quiet residential streets, and the deferral they’ve suggested just isn’t good enough. Ryde needs a complete exemption.”
He said throughout the process, City of Ryde was supported by a community “determined to save our streets from overdevelopment forced on us by ill-conceived NSW Government planning policies”.
“This week’s decision from the Land and Environment Court has made the fight worthwhile,” Clr Laxale said.
“Thanks must go to all the residents involved, particularly those residents who have been involved in this process since my first notice of motion to Council way back in August 2017.”
Both Clr Laxale and Ryde MP, Mr Dominello, took the opportunity to express opposition to the development on two separate occasions in February and August this year, during court hearings held at the proposed site.
Mr Dominello took to social media to announce the court’s decision soon after it was handed down.
“We have won the fight against overdevelopment at Dunbar Estate,” he wrote.
“I am glad the Court’s judgement has taken the community’s wishes into consideration.”