JUNE 2019: Rob Stokes issues BOARDING HOUSE warning to decision makers

CAAN spoke to a Northern Beaches local from Allambie Heights … despite ‘the govt speak’ that higher density development is located near transport … this area has scant public transport with a 10 minute walk to a stop ‘near Allambie Heights’ … as the local said ‘you need a car!’

-the 12 room cap does not apply to applications prior to February 2019

APPLICATIONS pending for …

82-room boarding house in Gladys Ave, Frenchs Forest, a 122 room facility in May Rd, Dee Why and a 39 room house in Naree Rd, Frenchs Forest

HAS the need for so-called ‘affordable housing’ come about due to the sell-off of Public Housing Estates?

IS it another avenue for the usual suspects to empty the wallets of tenants?

Rob Stokes issues boarding house warning to decision makers

June 26 2019

Planning Minister Rob Stokes has urged decision makers to read the room when deciding on controversial boarding house applications.

Ben James,

Manly Daily

Planning Minister Rob Stokes Picture: Chris Pavlich.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes Picture: Chris Pavlich.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes has urged decision makers to read the room when deciding on controversial boarding house applications.

Mr Stokes ruled out retrospectively enacting the 12-room cap on boarding houses in low density residential zones but said courts and planning panels must make decisions that “reflect the recent change in law”.

An artist’s impression of the boarding house approved at Allambie Heights. Picture: Walsh2 Architects.
An artist’s impression of the boarding house approved at Allambie Heights. Picture: Walsh2 Architects.

The cap was introduced in February for boarding houses planned for low density R2 residential zones.

These areas are typically comprised of single dwellings and are without the infrastructure to cope with large numbers of people.

However, the cap does not apply to applications submitted before that date.

With several pre-February applications for the northern beaches pending, community groups and Mayor Michael Regan have called for the cap to be retrospectively applied.

“We are alive to the concerns but I can’t retrospectively bring in the cap,” Mr Stokes said. “It is not a sensible process of law making.”

However, he added: “I would certainly encourage independent decision makers to take account of the fact the government has recently changed laws to direct boarding house applications into more appropriate locations.”

Members of the Northern Beaches Strategic Community Group held a protest outside the approved Binalong site last week. Picture: Scott McGale
Members of the Northern Beaches Strategic Community Group held a protest outside the approved Binalong site last week. Picture: Scott McGale

It comes as the Manly Daily has learned the department is looking at the application of boarding house rules more broadly in residential zones.

In recent months community groups and council have spoken of their frustration at boarding houses being approved, despite strong local opposition.

*Earlier this month a 32-room house in Allambie Heights was approved in the Land and Environment Court despite being rejected by council officers and the Sydney North Planning Panel.

Under the 12-room cap the development would have been refused. At least six other applications currently pending would fall foul of the 12-room cap if submitted now.

*They include an 82-room boarding house in Gladys Ave, Frenchs Forest, a 122 room facility in May Rd, Dee Why and a 39 room house in Naree Rd, also Frenchs Forest.

Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan is among those to have called for the retrospective cap.

The 82-room boarding house planned for Gladys Ave. Picture: BKA Architecture
The 82-room boarding house planned for Gladys Ave. Picture: BKA Architecture

*However, Gopala Maurer, president of the Northern Beaches Strategic Community Group, has gone one step further and called for a complete ban of boarding houses in R2 zones.

“We are not anti-development, we understand there has to be a mix of housing,” she said. “But this has to be done through proper well thought out planning to ensure the developments are appropriate.

“We need to find a better way to manage this so that we don’t continually have the community battling these applications. It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars, the community’s time and councils’ time and money.

“With proper planning and legislation there is a place for the council, community, government and developers to work together to create the right mix and need for our community.”

Mr Stokes said both he and the department are acutely aware of the tensions surrounding boarding houses.

“I have spoken to developers, community groups and council,” he said. It is important that we have a mix of housing but it has to be done right.”

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/manly-daily/rob-stokes-issues-boarding-house-warning-to-decision-makers/news-story/84d554576e2ad8c1aad7394f331174bd

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