Staff concerns over setting precedent ignored

A $2.3 million development planned for the vacant site at 1292 Hay Street has been approved by the Perth City Council.

At its 8 June meeting, councillors voted to overturn a staff recommendation that the application be refused.

Councillor Noel Semmens moved the conditional approval, saying the proposal had a great deal of appeal for a vacant site.

The developers wish to erect a three-storey office, retail and residential development on the site.

Council officers had opposed the development because it exceeded the maximum permitted plot ratio allowed for a non-residential development under council’s City Planning Scheme.

The plot ratio allowance is 1.33:1 and the applicants asked for 1.58:1.

Mr Semmens argued the total plot ratio, when taking into account the residential portion of the development, was less than the plot ratio allowed for a combined use development.

Council staff also said approval of the development would set an undesirable precedent.

Mr Semmens said the concessions made by the developer made for consideration in regard to strict plot ratio.

“I believe the total development justifies the alternative motion,” he said.

Although staff recommended refusal, one of their notes to council said the bulk, scale and general design of the proposed building was appropriate for the location.

“The Draft City Planning Scheme encourages nil setbacks to Hay Street, retail development fronting Hay Street and the provision of continuous pedestrian protection over the footpath,” the staff note said.

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