In this recent decision, the Planning and Environment Court
dismissed a submitter appeal against an approval for a three storey
apartment building located on Donaldson Street, Greenslopes. The
proposed development had initially been approved by Brisbane City
Council, but the approval was appealed to the Planning and
Environment Court by a group of local residents.
Thynne + Macartney acted on behalf of the successful developer
in the appeal.
The proposed development was an attractively designed building
with a Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 1479m2. The
subject site had an area of 1349m2 (109% GFA). The proposal, in
terms of GFA was twice as dense as the applicable acceptable
solution in the Low-medium Density Residential
(LMR) area, outlined in CityPlan 2000 and CityPlan
2014. Notably, the surrounding streets had a mixture of single and
two storey detached houses as well as various two and three storey
multi-unit dwellings. The proposed development was well located in
close proximity to prominent community infrastructure, including
Greenslopes Mall, Greenslopes Private Hospital and major public
The primary issue in the appeal was whether the proposed
development's building form, through its height, bulk and scale
was in conflict with the Holland Park Tarragindi District Local
Plan (the Local Plan) and the Low Medium Density
Residential Zone Code (the LMR Code) in CityPlan
2000 and the equivalent in CityPlan 2014.
The Court found that the height, bulk and scale of the proposed
development complied with the Intent and Overall Outcomes of the
Local Plan and the LMR Code. Specifically, the Court found that the
surrounding locality supported the proposal as there were several
three storey multi-unit developments in the neighbourhood.
The Court also found that whilst the proposed development
significantly exceeded the GFA requirement of 50% to 60% stipulated
in the Intent of the LMR Code, this was only one factor to be
considered as opposed to being determinative of any conflict. The
Court took comfort from several other developments within the
locality of the proposed development having similar GFA's to
the proposed development. Ultimately, the Court determined that
there was no conflict with the relevant provisions in the LMR
In summary, the Court found that from a reading of CityPlan 2000
and CityPlan 2014 as a whole, the proposed development complied
with the applicable planning instruments because the proposed
development was compatible with other built forms in the
What the decision means
The decision is of great assistance to property developers
arguing against a strict adherence or narrow interpretation by
Council's assessment officers of the relevant bulk, height and
scale provisions in both CityPlan 2000 and CityPlan 2014. While the
references in both planning schemes to maximum heights, number of
storeys, maximum GFA and setback requirements are important factors
to be taken into account when assessing the suitability of a
proposed development, other factors, such as the built form of
existing developments in the locality and the aspiration to ensure
that surrounding infrastructure is used as efficiently as possible,
will also be fundamental considerations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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