Report on Compulsory Conference of SAT

On 19th July, George Davies attended and spoke to the SAT regarding the Georgiou development in Northwood Street, West Leederville. It borders residential zoning across a Residential Interface Node policy area.

Georgiou appealed for a second extension to the Joint Development Assessment Panel [JDAP] in May, this time for two years. Remarkably it was rejected. The Developer, as usual when failing at a JDAP, appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal [SAT].

Here is his report:         2017.07.19 SAT Presentation

I attended the SAT Directions Hearings re JDAP vs Georgiou on 9th and 30th June. Ben Secrett also attended on 9th June and reported to WLRA.

Both parties indicated they did not seek a Mediation.

Interestingly the SAT Member, Maurice Spillane, said he would schedule a Compulsory Conference nonetheless, to be held on 19th July, prior to any formal Hearing. Similar to a Mediation, not open to the public or third party.

He commented that he was aware of third party interest in the issue (meaning community), spotted my presence in the room on this second occasion and said that he would recommend I be given ten minutes at the beginning of the Compulsory Conference and then withdraw.

Ben Dickenson of the Post said the staff though this was worth featuring and arranged a photo for the 8 July edition.

I attended the Compulsory Conference on 19th July. The SAT Member presiding, Patrick De Villiers, was very welcoming and gave me a chat before the proceedings about the processes and indicated he would invite questions.

The presentation seemed to be well received. I have attached a copy for your information. Corinne MacRae offered help re the data and suggested the opening paragraph about the 26 home.

There were no questions so I then withdrew.

I attended the follow up Directions Hearings No.3 on Friday, 28th July. This took place before the original Member Maurice Spillane. The Georgiou lawyer said “the Compulsory Conference didn’t achieve the result the Applicant was seeking – we wish to go to a Hearing”. The JDAP lawyer said they would agree to a Hearing but did not intend to call a third party witness. Georgiou lawyer said that should the Hearing reject their application they would request a further two months window.

It was agreed that the Hearing be set for one day, viz. Wednesday 27th September. The hearing is open to the public.

2 thoughts on “Report on Compulsory Conference of SAT”

  1. G’day folks

    I have sent this to the Southern Blencowe mob but I think others may also find it interesting.

    You may remember In 2014 the Conservation Council of WA, CCWA, partnered with Psaros do do a survey of community attitudes to higher density development to counter urban sprawl. The survey also featured Psaros claims to be a leader in sustainability initiatives in design.

    In April this year there was a General Meeting of the CCWA open to the public. I went along and put to the meeting that there was need to look more closely at the claims of Psaros and partnership this developer. The CEO, Piers Verstegen said he would ring me to arrange a chat, but that didn’t happen.

    Another General meeting was advertised for Monday, 14th August, so I wrote a report and tabled it for awareness. I was given a brief opportunity at the end of the meeting to add some comment.

    I attach the report I wrote for your potential interest.

    Regards
    George

    1. George’s Report:
      CCWA and Psaros – Report to General Meeting 14.08.2017
      George Davies
      Introduction
      At the General Meeting of 26th April 2017 I suggested a need to address an issue around a previous survey partnership between the CCWA and the developer Psaros. Piers indicated he would get back to me but has not had time to do so. I offer a report for reference and consideration as follows:

      Partnership with developer Psaros
      In August 2014, at The Fifth Estate Surround Sound, the Conservation Council of Western Australia director Piers Verstegen and Perth developer Psaros announced a partnership to encourage sustainable apartment development in Perth.
      The partnership began with a market research survey to help understand community attitudes to apartments and sustainability.
      Mr Verstegen presented Psaros as ‘a leader in sustainable projects in the city’: “Psaros are leading the way in Perth with their sustainable apartment developments so it makes sense that we work with them to promote sustainable urban living as an affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly choice for Western Australians,” Mr Verstegen said.

      The Managing Director at Psaros said the sustainable product offering was working. “We are proud that Psaros apartments include features such as solar power generation, solar hot water and electric car recharge stations”. Verstegen told the Surround Sound  it was time to stop saying no to things like sprawl and start saying yes to the right type of development.

      Reference: http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/articles/ccwa-and-psaros-in-unique-partnership-to-change-the-game-on-development

      Survey results
      It is understandable that the CCWA would seek to assess and enhance public acceptance of appropriate development with increased density, as a constraint to unfettered suburban sprawl. The survey results showed a general acceptance of increased density by the public, especially around transport nodes.

      The survey of 500 people has been used by the Property Council to support developments whilst also trivializing Local Government and community challenge to developer plans. Discussion of the findings in the West Australian (22 December 2014, page 20) reads:
      “Property Council WA executive director Joe Lenzo said councils were the biggest obstacle to WA achieving its infill housing targets, often because of a perception of community opposition. He said councils should know ‘the community is saying something different to what you think they’re saying.”

      Developers have a track record of seeing opposition to their particular high rise also as reflecting ‘Nimbys’ and small activist groups with poor understanding of planning.
      I suggest such approaches are very frequently simplistic and unworthy of implicit endorsement by the CCWA. A small sample is offered to illustrate this point.

      Psaros in West Leederville
      In 2014 Psaros proposed a development in Northwood Street, West Leederville, which backed onto an ‘interface lane’, the border between residential and mixed and commercial zoning. In Fremantle there has been a principle that such interface development should be limited to three storeys with higher progression into the commercial area. The Town of Cambridge at the time in this area had a policy of four storeys, or six if community benefit could be established.
      • The Psaros development proposed an eight storey building. The Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) after a number of hearings approved a six storey plan, with the two Cambridge delegates being outvoted by the three State Government appointees to the JDAP
      • There is extensive evidence that JDAP government appointees have been in very close relationship with developers. A ‘Scrap the DAP’ movement because of this imbalance has had very wide community acceptance for some time.
      • The Psaros proposal made very strong claims about being cutting edge in eco-sustainability areas such as solar voltaic and solar hot water installation for the development. It also made strong claims for achieving privacy for the unit occupiers from the main street and adjacent properties
      • The proposal comprehensively ignored the fact that there would be significant eco-sustainability shadow damage to a range of residential properties in the surrounding environment, in terms of solar voltaic and solar hot water impairment.
      • The prominence given to privacy for residents in the proposed development gave no recognition of the lines of sight into lounge rooms, bedrooms and surrounding of households in the surrounding areas.
      • Three days prior to a JDAP hearing a large sign was erected on the site, announcing 36 units to be built, i.e. before the proposal had been submitted for approval. This was a case of blatant false advertising, accompanied also by a Sunday Times advert prior to hearing approval.

      Georgiou in West Leederville
      There is a Georgiou development proposed also for Northwood Street, West Leederville, backing onto the same interface lane as the Psaros building. Georgiou have similarly claimed cutting edge sustainability quality, whilst their massive proposal of six storeys covering five lots would block out sun in neighbouring Blencowe Street until 11am throughout the winter, with significant impairment of solar-voltaic and solar hot water sustainability. Gardens, lane traffic and privacy are also impacted negatively.

      The Georgiou development, approved in February 2015, is seeking a second extension to February 2020, though a Residential Interface Node Policy was introduced three months after the 2015 approval. Georgiou have appealed to the State Administrative Tribunal despite their extension being rejected by the JDAP, Town of Cambridge planners and local community. Joe Lenzo has been very wide of the mark here in asserting that councils don’t understand their community.

      Future partnership
      CCWA has made public commitment to partnership with developers. At the Surround Sound event Mr Verstegen announced the following:
      “We hope that the CCWA-Psaros partnership and the research we have commissioned will be the first step in building a powerful coalition of community and business to transform the City of Perth. Over the coming months we will be approaching other potential partners to join this exciting initiative.”

      This paper suggests a number of inadequacies in the above announcement as follows:

      • This broad goal is not consistent with the degree of careful analysis and research characteristic of CCWA in a range of other areas.

      • The JDAP imbalance of structure is being challenged on a wide community basis. This has nothing to do with Nimby, Luddite or anti-density ideology. It is about the assessment of appropriate development. Currently the JDAP structure has two local government representatives and three State Government. This demeans and patronises the voice of the community as represented by local government and favours a dominant number with undeniably close links to developer goals. (For reference see Scrap the DAP website.)

      • The concept that unfettered high rise development is for the betterment of the community is facile and superficial. An extract of my 2017 presentation to the JDAP Georgiou hearing reads as follows:
      “Don’t give me that fatuous hand on heart declaration that Georgiou is bravely ignoring the local activists and community research, overruling planning research and taking an unpopular line to help Perth cope with its increasing population demands.
      To whom is this an asset? To the bottom line of Georgiou, whose personnel will ride off into the sunset with their dollars and without any thought to the ongoing dynamics of the local environment.”

      Summary
      Mr Verstegen told the Surround Sound gathering it is time to “start saying yes to the right type of development.”

      • We need to see the “right type” of development as applying not only to constraint on urban sprawl but also as a criterion applying to the nature and quality of the development itself.

      • The self-congratulating claims of Psaros and others to be promoting sustainability need to be recognised as simplistic self –interest where there is significant impairment to sustainability factors in the environment in which a development takes place.

      • The general findings of the 2014 survey of 500 are not a basis to dismiss wide ranging concerns about process and quality in individual development proposals.

      • How can a Psaros track record on the ground of disdain for environment in which developments take place, self interest in terms of sustainability parameters and significant lack of respect for ‘the community’ be seen as part of a powerful coalition of community and business?

      • The CCWA policy of partnership with community and business needs to be revisited and carefully assessed.

      Reference material: (available from the author)
      • G. Davies 5,400 word submission to the 2015 Legislative Council Inquiry re JDAPs.
      • Numerous JDAP presentations
      • Special presentation invited by the State Administrative Tribunal.
      • Websites: CCWA and Psaros in unique partnership to change the game on development; Research shows support for Perth to embrace future; Scrap the DAP.

      Rev. George A. Davies

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