GREENS MOTION: Disallowance of development plan amendment discharged

Today Mark discharged his motion that would have disallowed the development plan amendment involving industrial land at Bowden-Brompton. 


I move: 

That the City of Charles Sturt privately funded Bowden-Brompton mixed use (residential and commercial) development plan amendment tabled on 15 October 2019 be disallowed pursuant to section 27 of the Development Act 1993.

I move:

That this order of the day be discharged.

I want to put some brief explanation on the record. I put this disallowance motion on the Notice Paper following a resolution of the ERD Committee to object to a development plan amendment (DPA) involving a large area of former industrial land at Bowden-Brompton. The DPA proposes that the site be rezoned for mixed uses but primarily for housing. The DPA was funded by a consortium representing the owners of the land and led by Detmold, the largest owner. Their objective, quite reasonably, was to maximise the land's value before onselling it to a developer, who will ultimately develop the site.

Clearly, the more development that can be accommodated on the site, the greater the value of the land. The proper role of planning, on the other hand, is to get the best outcome for the whole community, not just maximise the value of land for its owners. The public interest must be the guiding principle, regardless of who has paid for the process. During public consultation, it became apparent that a number of nearby existing residential properties, mostly older single-storey dwellings, could be adversely affected by overlooking and overshadowing, given the proposed height limits in the area to be redeveloped.

This message was delivered to the ERD Committee by Mr Peter Malinauskas, the local member. On the back of his submissions, the ERD Committee resolved to suggest to the planning minister that he drop the building height limits on some of the street frontages from three storeys down to two. Ultimately, these suggestions were not taken up by the minister and, as a result, the committee resolved to object to the amendment.

That decision, the subsequent tabling of the DPA in parliament and the disallowance motion that I moved on the same day certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. It is almost unprecedented, being possibly only the second time that this has happened in 25 years. I acknowledge all the work that the Clerk and his counterpart in another place have had to do to understand the process and its limitations, particularly once it was realised that a compromise might be possible. Crown law was dragged in and legal opinions were flying in all directions.

At the end of the day, common sense has prevailed. The consortium of property owners, their planning consultants, the local member, the local council and the minister have agreed that some minor changes can be made to the zoning rules and that these will be considered as part of the development of the new Planning and Design Code, which is currently out for public consultation and which will replace the DPA which the ERD Committee rejected. Meetings have been held, letters and emails have been exchanged, hands have been shaken and, as a consequence, I feel comfortable in discharging this disallowance motion.

The final thing that I would say is to make it clear that I support the transformation of former industrial land in the inner suburbs to medium-density housing. It is the best future use of that land and is certainly preferable to urban sprawl. If done properly, development on this site will help make Adelaide more sustainable.

But what this exercise shows is that proper consideration must be given to the views of local communities. For too long, the planning system has been stacked in favour of property developers and against ordinary citizens. As I have said before, the system of parliamentary scrutiny is usually a joke, and only in rare cases such as this is it able to give effective voice to those who are usually ignored. I am pleased to have helped secure this compromise.

Motion carried; order of the day discharged.