13 March 2017

Why do misconceptions become truths?

I've received many emails this week, many on the same topic. This topic being the area bounded by Unley Rd, Edmund Ave, Rugby St and  Oxford Tce. This area contains the Village Green, several unlisted cottages, the Council Offices and Chambers plus a host of heritage listed properties including the Town Hall and Library, the Unley Museum and the Anglican Church buildings. As far as heritage goes the frontage to Unley Rd is amazing.
Two weeks ago Council voted not to go ahead with  the potential sale of the 'air rights'  on the Civic Centre site. This was introduced by the Mayor, supported  by all Councillors excepting myself. In hindsite it was a poorly timed and probably also a poor idea. However, this is a red herring when it comes to discussing and debating what should be approved for the Central Unley Development Plan Amemndment. The two are linked but not the same. The Mayor's motion last  week only agreed to Council not developing the Civic Centre site in the life of this Council, that is until Nov 2018. This is only the new (1970's buildings).
The DPA covers all the area from Thomas St to Mary St on the west and Edmund Ave to Frederick St to the north. All other areas on Unley Rd are already zoned  to allow for 5 storey buildings. The area is as deep as Mornington Rd and Rugby St. This area currently has no height limits. There seems to be little objection to decreasing the height on the western side to between 2 and 11 storeys. However, the area discussed above remains controversial. Options for the Development Strategy meeting to consider are:

  • Is it crucial to keep the village green where it is?
  • Should the height limits on boundaries be 2, 3 or 5 storeys? And if so in what locations? At the recent rally  Sandy Wilkinson (heritage advisor) clearly stated that these height limits can be reached and the cottages retained with sensitive design.
  • Can Council just not make a decision about the eastern side?
The only one I know the answer to is the last one. Council can refuse to make a recomendation for the eastern side and the Minister, John Rau, will make one for us. He is most likely then to zone it the same as the western side, and that could be 11 storeys. Sometimes the devil you know is a whole lot better than the one you don't.

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