Council vertigo

• Mustera’s Kishorn complex would have featured “sky gardens” every three floors.

MELVILLE councillors have called for a meeting with senior planning staff to curb their enthusiasm for big, contentious developments.

Last week the city’s planners recommended a 20-storey apartment tower in Applecross be approved, despite 204 public submissions against the development and just four in support.

Councillors voted against the tower 10-1 at a special meeting last Wednesday, arguing the developer Mustera Property Group hadn’t proven enough community benefits to justify a 10-storey height bonus and it was too big a jump from the surrounding four-storey precinct.

The apartment tower, proposed for the corner of Kishorn and Forbes Roads, was also knocked back by the Metro Central JDAP on Thursday in a 4-1 vote.

Melville councillor Nick Pazolli, who spoke against the development at JDAP, told the Herald some of his colleagues were concerned about why staff were supporting such big projects.

Community sentiment

“We are trying to meet with the CEO and other officers to bring the officers into alignment with the sentiment of the community,” Cr Pazolli said.

Last year the planners also recommended a 16-storey apartment on Kintail Road be approved, but the project was also knocked back by councillors and the JDAP and is currently before the State Administrative Tribunal. It was also held up over the vexed issue of how to judge whether a community benefit is worth and extra storey or two.

Cr Pazolli said he was also unhappy about the short time-frame for councillors to consider large projects such as the Kishorn tower before they were flicked for mandatory assessment by the JDAP, pointing to the fact he was fronting the JDAP less than 24 hours after the council’s decision.

If it had been approved, Mustera’s 97-apartment project would have been Perth’s most verdant skyscraper, with every third floor featuring a “sky garden” and a community garden on the first floor.

It had been assessed as “exemplary design” by the Canning Bridge Design Review Panel, which provides the council with advice from architects, urban designers and landscape architects on whether buildings are up to scratch and deserving of height bonuses.

Another council panel had judged the apartment was worthy of the community-benefit height bonuses.

by STEVE GRANT

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