A BID to overturn a ban on residential apartments at a 9599sqm block owned by businessman Paul Lionetti across Toll Place from his Due South Tavern has been lodged with the City of Albany.
Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd has applied for permission to erect up to 6800sqm of apartments on Mr Lionetti’s block, at Lot 3 of the Albany Waterfront project.
The company’s application to amend the Albany Waterfront Structure Plan says Due South has “proven a popular attraction to the waterfront area and wider Albany region”.
The application, prepared by Harley Dykstra town planners, argues that “a lack of private investment in the waterfront area can be partially attributed to overly restrictive planning regulations, resulting in development of the area being unviable”.
“The landowners are committed to completing a high standard of hotel and apartment development on the site,” Harley Dykstra continues.
“Importantly, it should be noted that the holiday accommodation and a hotel will remain the primary land uses on the site, and multiple dwellings will be a secondary use.
“Additional control measures can be incorporated through subsequent planning stages (i.e. – development application) to manage the number and location of any multiple dwellings proposed.”
Harley Dykstra imagines the control measures “should” ensure that the number of bedrooms associated with the holiday accommodation and hotel components will “always, and at all times, exceed those associated with any multiple dwelling component”.
But Albany Ratepayers and Residents Association President Elizabeth Barton said the whole rationale for the waterfront project was to promote tourism, not medium density residential living.
“What will happen is they’ll build the residential, but the tourism will never get built,” Ms Barton, who in 10 days in the late 1990s collected 2500-plus signatures against the waterfront project, said.
“It will become a residential area.
“It was always agreed there would never be residential down there, because it’s a tourist node and residential development is in conflict with the operations of the port.”
Harley Dykstra argues that the modified plan for the vacant block responds to “an increasing trend towards a flexible approach to tourism planning and to support the viable operation of these buildings, which have historically prevented the development of a hotel and short stay accommodation on Lot 3”.
“To facilitate investment in new hotels and holiday accommodation, there has been an increasing trend towards including an element of permanent residential accommodation within tourist developments,” Harley Dykstra stresses.
“Examples of this include the Middleton Beach Hotel site, Elizabeth Quay, Port Coogee Marina and Bunbury Ocean View Hotel.”
State Planning Minister Rita Saffioti recently told The Weekender that residential apartments would likely be needed to make a 12-floor hotel viable at Middleton Beach (‘Residential mix for hotel’, February 8).
Harley Dykstra submitted that owners of apartments on Mr Lionetti’s block would be encouraged to let their dwellings for short stay accommodation.
The City of Albany and State Department of Planning received a copy of the plans for preliminary comment in October.
The final decision on whether apartments are allowed rests with the Western Australian Planning Commission.
When contacted by The Weekender, Mr Lionetti declined to comment.
The Albany community can comment to the City until April 12.