10 November 2014
The Chief Executive Officer
City of Sydney
DA D/2014/1521 – 87 Bay Street Glebe NSW 2037
- I refer to the Development Application for the site bounded by Bay Street, Wentworth Street, Cowper Street and Wentworth Park Road. I was not notified of this application despite living a stone’s throw from it.
- The DA proposes 213 residential units, up from 185 – 195 mooted at the Planning Proposal stage, plus 3,980 commercial space, plus 740m2 retail space. The gross floorspace is 20,887m2, on a site of 5,427m2, making it the highest density development in Glebe.
High Rise Development
- High density high-rise development is unwelcome in Glebe. Apart from some reasonably scaled terrace like dwellings at the rear of the site, the development is incompatible with the size and scale of existing medium density development. The proposed development is monumental in style, forever to be an eyesore in an area noted for its regular and modest nineteenth century working class development.
- The proposed development will visually overwhelm surrounding development, and will severely impact the residential amenity of existing development, by reducing solar access, and obliterating it for some, by increasing traffic and demand for parking, and by increased noise.
- As the architects acknowledge, it will be difficult to provide amenity to the rear (Wentworth St) of the site, and the development will adversely affect the amenity of the NSW Housing site to the south.
- There is no need for additional retail space in this area, with the commodious Broadway shopping centre 200 metres to the north, and Glebe Point Road another 50 metres away.
- The site is suitable for non intensive commercial development, similar to what has existed there for many years. The site is too noisy for residential uses on Bay Street and along Wentworth Park Road.
- There should be no basement parking, as the site is below the flood level. The “public artwork”, a symbolic creek, is likely to find itself well and truly under water from time to time. Two levels of basement parking are accessed via entrances in Cowper Street and Wentworth Street.
- Private gardens and landscaped areas on the roof should not be permitted, as same will impact adversely on the future residents of NSW Housing site only metres to the south.
- The planning proposal envisages an enclave of high-rise development encompassing the subject site, the Housing NSW Cowper Street site and the Council depot.
- High rise development has no place in Glebe. In the 1970s the entire Glebe area was classified as an area worthy of preservation by the NSW National Trust. Further, Glebe was regarded by UNESCO as worthy of preservation in to and as one of the historic areas of Sydney which require the safeguards of legislation to preserve it as an historic heritage for the future (Department of Housing and Construction briefing note 13 December 1984). The consent authority should act to preserve this historical legacy, not destroy it.
- Where the architects describe the apartment interiors as having “an aesthetic vaguely reminiscent of a bygone industrial past”, the operative word is “vaguely.” Before the existing development, terrace homes had been constructed along Wentworth Street, then known as Water Street. The site was also home to the Glebe Ragged School from about 1896 until the early 1920s. Wentworth. There is no acknowledgement of this past.
- The unit mix does not comply with the DCP, which provides for a maximum of 40% studio and 1 bedroom units. It is proposed to build 64% studio and 1 bedroom units. A further 17 units are to be dual key. This mix is likely to see the units used as serviced apartments or short term accommodation in the future, as investors seek a return on the inordinate cost of units in the development ($700K and upwards).
- The development is in several other respects non compliant with the LEP & DCP. The developer seeks to justify these non compliances by excluding the affordable units from consideration. To exclude the affordable units from contention, in circumstances where they are relied upon in so many other ways to get this development across the line, reflects a cavalier “have your cake and eat it too” approach to planning.
- The proposed development is non complaint with noise controls. The development does not even comply with the required provision for bicycle spaces, falling short by 64 spaces. There can be no possible justification for this omission. The applicant suggests residents and visitors can catch the bus or walk.
- The affordable housing component is a proposed Stage 3 of the development, and is intended to have its own strata plan. In the circusmtnaces there must be some doubt that the affordable housing component will ever be built. 23 of the proposed 25 affordable units are proposed to be studio units. Some of these units are as small as 27m2, well below the minimum required by SEPP 65. The affordable units include 17 single aspect south facing units. The affordable units are all intended to be leased, more than likely on a long term basis, thereby entrenching housing disadvantage. If the dwellings were larger, and not overshadowed by high rise to the north, there would be more scope for improving amenity.
- The Planning Agreement is inadequate to protect the affordable housing units from being appropriated for other uses. The previous proposed affordable housing partner, St George Community Housing, advised Council that the planning agreement was not in the public interest, because acquisition of the units would require the affordable housing provider to pay the market price for them. The benefit obtained by the developer in the form of uplift in development capacity would therefore come at little or no cost to it.
- The site is a noisy one, with high traffic volumes on both Bay St and Wentworth Park Road.
- Traffic associated with the development will generate additional noise impacts on surrounding development. 4720 m2 of retail and commercial uses in addition to 213 units will substantially increase traffic volumes, and with it noise.
- The presently quiet Wentworth and Cowper streets will provide access to the 170 onsite parking spaces over 2 basement levels. When development on the NSW Housing site bounded by Bay, Wentworth, and Cowper Streets, goes ahead, the noise levels will be extreme.
- The garbage collection point for the whole of the development is in Wentworth Street in the vicinity of the affordable housing units, and existing and proposed NSW Housing development. The noise of garbage collection from the combined commercial retail and residential uses will be enough to wake the dead. The Wood & Grieve report does not consider the noise impact of garbage collection on residents in Wentworth Street and Cowper Street.
- The Wood & Grieve Acoustic Report claims, in Table 4, that an acceptable level of night-time noise is 50dB(A). It then adjusts those figures to produce Table 6, to suggest that residents to the west (Cowper Street) should find night time noise of 52 dB(A) acceptable, residents to the south (NSW Housing) 50dB(A), and industrial receivers at any time 70d(B)A.
- The State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 provides that the consent authority must not grant consent to the development unless satisfied that the night-time LAeq does not exceed 35dB(A) in any bedroom and 40dB(A) elsewhere: clause 102(3). This policy applies to land adjacent to road corridors with a daily traffic volume of 40,000. The Bitzios Report shows that traffic in nearby streets, such as William Henry/Harris Street exceed this amount. “Adjacent” does not mean merely “abuts”, or “is contiguous with”, and the site is proximate enough to be considered adjacent: Hornsby Council v Malcolm (NSWCA, 23 December 1986). That Bay Street is in regular gridlock can be observed at peak hours and on weekends. Vehicles exiting the development will have to use Bay Street, contributing to the traffic build up.
- The noise level suggested by Wood & Grieve as “acceptable” is 3 times the level of the SEPP (Infrastructure) 2007 maximum of 35dB(A).
- A Regulation Impact Study prepared in relation to a proposal to address the problem of intrusive external noise considered the WHO Guidelines for Community Noise. Those Guidelines describe adverse health effects of noise, including sleep disturbance, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, changes in respiration and cardiac arrhythmia, increased fatigue and depressed mood. The effects are particularly noted in shift workers, the elderly and people vulnerable to physical and mental disorders. The effects can be avoided where continuous noise in a bedroom does not exceed 30dB(A). The WHO report states that 70dB(A) can cause hearing impairment.
- The developer proposes to address noise control through glazing design. That assumes that occupants will keep their doors and windows closed. The architectural design report however suggests that operable windows and cross ventilation will reduce reliance on air conditioning. The indoor sound level for the Daikin air condition model RQ100LV1A, specified in the Wood & Grieve Acoustic Report, is 43 dB(A). This is unacceptably high.
Construction Noise and Hours of Work
- Noise from construction should be tightly controlled. The developer should not be permitted to work at weekends, or to engage in any noise generating activities before 8am.
- There is also an issue with vibration during construction, as the developer intends to drill down into the sandstone rock shelf to construct 2 levels of parking.
- The BCA report assumes that the basement levels do not constitute a storey in the rise of storeys. That assumption may not be justified: The Owners — Strata Plan No 69312 v Rockdale City Council and Anor  NSWSC 1244.
- There are vastly insufficient numbers of exits, including from floors comprising residential units. There is insufficient smoke separation between access routes. Travel distances to available exits exceed the permissible distances, including from the rooftop terraces. Distances between alternative exists also exceed the permissible distances. There are other non compliances noted in the Olsson Report.
- The requirement that a maximum of 8 units be accessible from a corridor has not been complied with. Up to 14 units are accessible from internal corridors, and this may lead to congestion in the event of fire.
- The site is prone to flooding. For that reason, it is necessary to ensure that residential units are a minimum of 1.5 metres above flood level, commercial development a minimum of 1 metre above flood level, and access to the basement car parks 500mm above flood level. The Flood & Stormwater Investigation Report confirms that it will be necessary to provide for safety and evacuation planning, and additional exits from the basement car parks. How people with impaired mobility are expected to enter, or evacuate, when the development is surrounded by water is no where addressed.
Hands off Glebe submits:
- The development application should be refused.
- Exposure to unacceptable noise levels makes the site unsuitable for intensive residential use.
- The overall development should be much reduced in height.
- Residential development should be restricted to the rear of the site, concentrated on Cowper and Wentworth Streets, with larger units and improved amenity.
For Hands Off Glebe
 Max Solling, Glebe Public School History.
 The qualifications of the report writer, Ben Beverley, are unstated.
 Bitzois, 87 Bay Street, Glebe, Traffic Impact Assessment, P25
 August 2012, Australian Building Codes Board, Australian Government
 Part 4.1, p16
 Matt Shuter 24/9/2014, p8
 Matt Shuter 24/9/2014 and see Olsson Fire & Risk.