Here you'll find some commonly asked questions, which we've sought answers directly from the City of Subiaco's Planning Dept, as below, to help you make sense of what's going on...
Q. What are the current heights and boundary setbacks in the existing town planning scheme?
A. Currently you can build up to 9m wall height with an overall height (roof) of 12m. This allows for a 3 storey building with an additional 4th storey within the roof space. There are currently no requirements to set back the development from the rear of the lot. Side boundary set back requirements are at clause 6.1.4 of the R-Codes. Table 5 generally dictates side boundary setbacks in accordance with the width of a lot, between 3 – 4 m. Although you should note that these setbacks are discretionary.
Q. Why this proposed change and is there any hope of keeping it the same?
A. This is a land owner initiated scheme amendment. The city’s role is to process the amendment in accordance with the state planning regulations, which includes undertaking public advertising, considering the submissions received, undertaking a planning assessment in accordance with the relevant state and local planning framework and preparing a recommendation to Council as to whether or not the amendment should be supported. Regardless of the decision of Council, the amendment may be approved, modified or refused at the discretion of the Minister of Planning, Lands and Heritage.
Q. What is the comparison between what we have now and what is being proposed?
A. This is difficult to respond to, essentially it will still only allow for a 4 storey building to be constructed, but the floor to ceiling heights will be greater (Ed: by more than 50%), the upper 2 storeys will be required to be set back from the rear boundary and the permitted plot ratio is increased (Ed: doubled to 3:1), which allows for greater floor space in relation to the size of the land.
Q. Is there any protection for any of the existing single storey ‘heritage’ shops
A. There are no properties with any identified heritage significance along this stretch of Rokeby Road. There are a couple of places on the local heritage inventory but this is an information only document that provides nil heritage protection.
Q. Have the parking and traffic studies been done as recommended by Planning now that the Scheme Amendment 35 has been advertised and if so, under what guidelines for building heights and occupancy options (i.e.: office, boutique or volume pax grocery style outlet) did the Council use for the study?
A. All future development applications will be required to undertake necessary traffic impact statements where relevant, and will be assessed against the parking requirements in Town Planning Scheme No. 4, or draft Local Planning Scheme No. 5, once gazetted.
Q. Is there any way to change the amendment to have greater set backs and greater boundary distances so that it is better than what is next to Crossways? (The Crossways 4 storeys apartments on Bagot Rd on the East side goes right to the side boundaries and nearly to the back laneway)
A. The proposed amendment provides for a 5m setback of the third storey and a 7m setback for the fourth storey. There is scope for the city to recommend that the amendment be modified to increase these setbacks, but this may or may not be supported by Council and again may or may not be supported for the decision maker, which is the Minister of Planning, Lands & Heritage.
Q. On top of the 10.5m wall along the rear laneway boundary, what is the proposed maximum height of balustrade of the third floor balcony, that can be built along the rear boundary of the laneways behind Rokeby Road and what materials can it be built from?
A. In clause 6.4.1 of the R-Codes, it requires balconies to be setback 7.5m from the adjoining R20 properties or if the setback is insufficient, it requires visual privacy screening to 1.6m above floor level. (Ed: it is insufficent in this Scheme Amendment, its only 5m for the 3rd storey and 7m for the 4th) See C1.2 of the clause for the definition of what is acceptable in terms of the materials used for screening.
Q. What are the differences to residents living on the laneways behind if (i) 3 storeys is built vs (ii) 4 storeys and thinking about worst case scenarios where they are built to the maximum height and setbacks allowed.
A. Generally the only planning impact would be the additional building bulk, visual privacy concerns are likely to designed out of any development by incorporating deemed-to-comply visual privacy screening around any balconies etc. There are also broader vehicular access and parking issues generated by the additional floor space that would need to be taken into consideration. (Ed. Traffic and parking studies have not been undertaken.)
"So if Council's got a New Town Planning Scheme 5 (TPS5) in the pipeline, why are we even being asked to look at this Scheme Amendment?"
Well, it seems the developer, Greg Pearce, can't wait that long for TPS5 to be finalised and legislated. So let's bulldoze our way through the current Scheme instead, shall we?
Add to that, we know Council's own TPS5 contains plans to do a similar thing to the Scheme Amendment, but on BOTH sides of the street, or worse. Its all secret at the moment (and sounding very ominous by all accounts), but we will apparently get a look at the new draft approved by the State Government in April. And we'll have a chance to respond to it.
THAT'S the thing we should be working on, not this self serving Scheme Amendment! In our view, residents should never have been placed in this situation, not by Council, and not by the State Government. This is ad-hoc planning at its worst.
What we've got to remember is, once a streetscape, its character and heritage is lost, it's lost. You can't recreate that authentically. And the sense of uniqueness and destination that it provides will be gone too. We don't want any more of Subiaco to turn into West Perth.
So get that submission in by March 13 and lets get this sorted. We've all got more important and relevant challenges ahead with TPS5, and Save Rokeby South will be right there, standing up for fair and sensible development for the good of ALL.