Council breaches height limits to approve new Jetty highrise

A seven-storey highrise has been approved by Council for the Jetty area, despite it breaching height restrictions by one storey. Photo: Coffs Harbour City Council.


AN impressive seven-storey residential flat building containing 46 apartments and two ground floor businesses in Orlando St, Coffs Harbour has been approved by Coffs Harbour City Council, despite the highrise breaching height limit restrictions in the area.

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The seven storey apartment and commercial complex includes commercial tenancies on the lower level and a roof terrace on the top floor.

The corner site is currently occupied by a single storey commercial premises on the corner of Orlando St and a single storey residential dwelling in Collingwood St, which will be demolished as part of the proposal.

The development application for the building was publicly exhibited, with Council receiving 41 submissions on the development, including eighteen objecting to the development.

Public submission issues included the height breach, traffic impacts, overshadowing impacts, being out of scale with the area, not complying with planning instruments, setbacks, the development setting a precedent, and restrictions on future residents not being able to complain about neighbouring noise.

The development was reported to Council for determination due to ‘significant public interest and community input’, as well as the development proposing to vary a development standard in the Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013 by more than 10%.

The proposed height of the building is 21.4 metres, which is 2.4 metres above the allowed 19 metre limit.

A Council report on the development stated “the request to vary the height development standard within the Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013 can be supported as the proposal continues to achieve the objectives of the height development standard, the zoning and is in the public interest”.

Cr George Cecato said the building would set a benchmark, which others would follow.

“This building will definitely set the benchmark, no question, it will be the building that will be judged by future developers,” Cr Cecato said.

“That particular corner is very ugly, very passe, it will give it life, it will be a new direction that we haven’t seen for a long time.

“It will alleviate housing shortage, and will contribute to the economy of the Jetty Strip and surrounding areas.”

Cr Keith Rhoades said the development was at the “top end” of applications that had come before Council.

“I’ve been here for a while, I’ve seen some great developments, but this is up at that top end,” Cr Rhoades said.

“Here we are, we’re talking about a couple of metres over the LEP guidelines.

“If we can encourage other developers whether they are below, right on or above that whisker of the recommended heights in our LEP, that can produce buildings of that quality we’re on the right track, and this is what we should be supporting in this Council.”

Cr Micheal Adendorff said he “Would like to see everybody get the opportunity to raise their building heights in the Jetty.”

“The reason this is before us is because we are asked to exercise a discretion, that discretion is whether the height excess in the circumstances is justifiable,” Cr Adendorff said.

“My view will be that it is.

“I think the problem that we have with planning is that planning lags behind demand, so the message that developers are sending us is that that precinct is ripe for sympathetic development that might exceed current building height limitations.”

Cr Sally Townley agreed that it was “quite a great looking building”, but could not condone Council disregarding its building height limits.

“I agree that it is the type of development that we desire in the Jetty Strip, but we spend a lot of time in here talking about building heights and that’s because it’s a really tightly contested space in certain parts of our town, particularly Woolgoolga, Sawtell and the Jetty,” Cr Townley said.

“We have these building heights in place for a reason.

“It is 12 percent above the building height, which actually is a whole extra floor, and so you kind of ask ‘is a building height not a building height when it’s at the Jetty?’”

Cr Paul Amos also couldn’t condone Council breaching it’s height limit restrictions for the highrise.

“I could not support it because of the consistency; in this instance we have a building that’s zoned to take six storeys and we have a seven-storey building on it,” Cr Amos said.

“There will be people that will have their amenity eroded, in the form of a view taken.

“I believe that it’s a great looking building, and in a six-storey form I would have no worries supporting this.”

Cr Denise Knight urged fellow councillors to be careful when assessing developments which breach Council’s building height limits.

“We have to be careful on our building heights because it is a thing that everybody is watching, and we do have an LEP, so I think we just need to be very cautious and make every decision on its merit as the DAs come through,” Cr Knight said.

Council resolved to support the request to vary a development standard of Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 for the variation of the Height of Buildings Standard for the development, approve the development for a residential flat building (46 apartments) and business premises (2 tenancies at ground floor) on the corner of Collingwood and Orlando St, Coffs Harbour, subject to conditions.

Cr Denise Knight, Cr Michael Adendorff, Cr John Arkan, Cr George Cecato, Cr Keith Rhoades and Cr Tegan Swan voted for the development to be approved, and Cr Paul Amos and Cr Sally Townley voted against.



One thought on “Council breaches height limits to approve new Jetty highrise

  1. Where does the leniency end? Next time it’s four metres and then it’s five levels over the restriction. They can make all the excuses they want. The Jetty area will suffer and in 10 years, we will all wonder why tourists don’t want to come to the cement jetty that was once beautiful.

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