$30m Capricorn Coast development clears final hurdle
A $30 MILLION residential and retail development set to change the face of Yeppoon's foreshore has been given the official green light - but not without controversy.
Livingstone Shire Council on Tuesday approved a development application which effectively allows the buildings from The Strand Hotel bottleshop on Anzac Parade to Queen Street, to be bulldozed to make way for the seven-storey, 45-unit, Mint Apartments complex.
Under the plans submitted, The Strand Hotel will remain as is.
Obstacles which threatened to derail the project emerged on Tuesday as councillors considered the development application lodged by Brookport Holdings.
It was revealed that the applicant's submission provided for 79 car parks which fell short of the local authority's requirement under the Livingstone Planning Scheme 2018.
It was also revealed the scheme set a six-storey limit and this application was for seven.
This caused lengthy debate around the council table.
Adding further pressure to councillors was the fact that the applicant had, in previous discussions with council officers, refused to budge on the numbers.
Furthermore, if councillors were unable to reach a decision on Tuesday, the statutory timeframe for the application would pass, and as such, the outcome would be "a deemed refusal".
That could have resulted in a costly trip to a planning court if the applicant wished to take such a course of action.
Cr Glenda Mather said she did not like the position the council had been forced into.
"They (applicant) are forcing us into a corner (by saying) you either approve it, or refuse it, we'll go to court - that's really what it says to me and I don't like that," Cr Mather said.
"And the fact that they weren't prepared to let it lie on the table to negotiate further at this stage, that disappoints me.
"I would have liked the opportunity for us to negotiate further.
"Because the way I see it, in black and white, this is an overdevelopment of a site.
"They can't provide what's necessary to comply with the planning scheme, not only with the height but with the car parks."
Council officers recommended the authority approve the development application subject to stringent conditions.
In relation to car parking, the condition was that the residential component of the development provided a minimum of 57 standard off-street parking spaces.
In addition, the commercial component was to provide at least 38 of these parking spaces.
Cr Jan Kelly spoke in favour of the recommendation from officers.
"I have always, in my six plus years at this table, made no claim to be a town planner," she said.
"I rely on officer's recommendations.
"I recognise the officers in the planning area are qualified, they understand the legislation of the planning act, and all of the other legislative requirements.
"Our planning act does require a maximum of six storeys and our officers are recommending this one that has got seven storeys.
"I'm satisfied the officers are satisfied that this is acceptable, and I have every confidence in what they're putting in the conditions."
The council meeting heard that during the public consultation process for this development application at the end of last year, not one submission was received.
A number of councillors expressed their surprise at this.
"There has not been one single comment back from the public in regard to this one - no adverse comments have come through," Cr Kelly said.
"If the public have not come forward with any submissions against this application, then I have to work on the assessment and the assumption that the public are supportive of it."
Before the development application was discussed, Mayor Bill Ludwig declared a perceived conflict of interest and left the meeting.
Of the councillors who remained, Jan Kelly, Pat Eastwood, Nigel Hutton, Tom Wyatt and Adam Belot supported the recommendation from officers.
Only Cr Mather voted against it.