SIZE has possibly always mattered for building prestige in Sunshine Beach, but one councillor has questioned why council is intent on going outside its planning guide to allow a detached house to rise to three storeys rather than the standard two.
Acting on planning staff advice, councillors have approved the Park Rd house despite the misgivings of Councillor Tony Wellington.
"It's one storey higher - it's three storeys not two, which is the recommendation for a single dwelling and the setbacks are also not appropriate for a single dwelling," he said in general committee.
The council has issued a preliminary approval on the provision that the applicant scales back the building site coverage from 40% of the block to 35%, in line with other three-storey, 12m high buildings nearby that include duplexes.
Cr Wellington said the staff argument being put forward was that it "should be approved because it is consistent with other nearby duplexes" which could be three storeys high.
"However we are dealing with a detached house, so the question I raise is whether the building should be approved if it breaches the planning scheme.
"I worry about what precedents are set," he said.
"I wonder whether we should be sending a message that if something's in a zone that could allow other buildings, we therefore shuffle our building code accordingly," Cr Wellington said.
Cr Sandy Bolton said she understood Cr Wellington's concerns but "whether this was a single-use dwelling or a duplex, the impacts are no greater".
"They could just have said they were doing a duplex and put an extra door in or whatever," she said.
Cr Frank Wilkie was told by staff that a duplex and up to five one-bedroom units could be built on this land under the plan and all would require one car-space per unit as well as a visitor carpark.
"I think Cr Wellington raised a good point - it is right to question the decision because it raises the whole issue of (following) the planning scheme," Cr Wilkie said.
"I'm reluctant to refuse this application.
"If we were to refuse it, the possibility is the applicant would go away and exercise his rights to develop the site to the fullest and put in an application for a dwelling which is the same scale but perhaps a greater intensity."
Cr Wilkie said this would "deliver more people and cars in the street".
Cr Wellington accepted the councillors' views and eventually agreed with the staff position.
"It's not something I'm going to die in a ditch over," he said.
- PETER GARDINER
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