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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Petition launched to limit building heights

A development application is yet to be lodged but Woden residents are already taking action through an online petition regarding a potential development for Easty Street.

The e-petition, which closes on 31 March, has attracted 237 signatures as at 11am Tuesday 22 January. It is calling for the ACT Government to reduce building heights for N12 (Block 13 Section 81) and N10 (Block 17 Section 156) Easty Street sites in Phillip, and preserve all of Arabanoo Park’s existing open green space.

Greens Planning spokesperson and Member for Murrumbidgee, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, is the sponsoring member for the petition.

“I am a former resident of Easty Street and so I know what is there now – it is three storeys high,” Ms Le Couteur said. “The proposed development is very tall (25 storeys). Very tall buildings have a large impact on the surrounding area, such as overshadowing of existing homes and parks, and dumping a lot of extra traffic onto surrounding streets. Unless they are designed carefully and in the right location, they can leave the surrounding area feeling dark, isolated and unsafe.”

An ACT Government spokesperson said the Planning and Land Authority will determine whether the proposal meets the relevant solar access requirements during the development application (DA) assessment process, once a DA has been lodged.

“The Territory Plan specifies solar access requirements for residential components of developments, but this may differ depending on a number of variables, e.g. site configuration or orientation,” the spokesperson said. “Generally the requirement is for three hours of solar access to residential components between 9am and 3pm on the winter solstice for 70% of units, but criteria may be applied if this cannot be achieved to provide for daytime living areas to have reasonable access to sunlight.

“The Planning and Land Authority has previously applied its own 3D modelling to analyse shadow impacts and to examine how the best possible outcome is achieved. For example, several recent DAs in both the City and Woden Town Centre were required to be amended to protect solar access to both an existing residential development and significant areas of public space.”

In terms of Arabanoo Park, the ACT Government spokesperson said the rezoning was to “allow for additional community uses at the edge of the park” with the majority retained as urban space. The change is a recommendation from the Woden Town Centre Master Plan (2015).

However, Ms Le Couteur said the Greens are concerned about retaining public green spaces for the community, “especially for people who live in higher density areas”.

“I share the concerns about rezoning Arabanoo Park from urban open space to community facility,” Ms Le Couteur said. “The Assembly’s Planning Committee (which Ms Le Couteur chairs) recommended that Arabanoo Park should not be rezoned. “It is important to keep the east-west green connection on to Edison Park and the cemetery. The area is expected to have an influx of residents. They need green space to play and walk in. To avoid the heat island effect, the area needs to have trees and other greenery.”

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