Lucky number ‘157’ for developer

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A PLAN to build an apartment complex housing 157 apartments in Seaford was given the go-ahead by Frankston councillors at this month’s public council meeting.

Councillors narrowly voted four-three to approve the planning application by Planning Horizon Australia for a 12-metre high four-storey building at 78-83 Nepean Hwy after an at times feisty debate about the project’s merits.

There were 32 objections from community members about the development with many feeling the apartment complex was an inappropriate overdevelopment in the area.

A council officers’ report had recommended the planning permit be granted subject to conditions including the management of acid sulphate soils at the site to avoid pollution of Kananook Creek.

Cr Glenn Aitken praised the architectural design of the planned building but said the number of apartments was too high.

“The stumbling block is the … amount of individual living places on a parcel of land,” he said.

“I would have found it more supportable had the density had been less intense.”

Cr Colin Hampton was pleased the developer “has gone out of his way to provide adequate car parks … but when you look at the number of apartments on the site and the size of the site and also the neighbourhood character within that area – this is a dramatic overdevelopment of that site”.

The apartment complex will have 248 car parking spaces, more than the minimum 188 requirement for such a development’s size.

Councillors who backed the planning application believed the apartment complex would not become “a slum” as feared by several objectors.

“The design is attractive. It’s not boxy, it’s not overwhelming,” Cr Rebekah Spelman said.

“The area is an upcoming area and luxury living is in demand by people with disposable incomes. On such a large site we really have to expect plans for vast developments.”

Cr Michael O’Reilly said there are not enough one and two-bedroom apartments in Frankston.

“It is 157 apartments but it is an extremely large block. In modern society more and more people are living on their own.”

He said Census figures showed 26.1 per cent of people in the Frankston area lived on their own and 32.9 per cent lived in a couple but only 3.2 per cent of dwellings in the area are single-bedroom apartments.

“The property values along the Nepean Highway are increasing dramatically,” Cr O’Reilly said.

“This will not be in any way, in my opinion, a slum. It’s a nice looking development.”

Crs Sandra Mayer, O’Reilly, Spelman and Suzette Tayler voted to approve the development. Crs Aitken, Cr Hampton and mayor Cr James Dooley opposed the planning application.

Crs Brian Cunial and Darrel Taylor were absent from the meeting.

Objectors can now appeal to VCAT about the decision.

First published in the Frankston Times – 30 November 2015

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