And an interesting article about Perth's battle between NIMBYs and Developers
https://thewest.com.au/opinion/opinion- ... b88704846zOpinion: Compromise a must to see high-rise development in Perth
Kate Emery Thursday, 4 January 2018 7:00AM
Talk about high-rise development in Perth and it is easy to trade in absolutes.
Residents who oppose development are whining NIMBYs. Developers are greedy and only care about money.
Local and State governments are either rubber-stampers in developers’ pockets or bungling bureaucrats bringing nothing to the table but red tape.
These extremes may be true in some cases. Mostly, however, the truth is somewhere on the spectrum.
Residents have a right to care how change will affect their city, suburb and house price.
Developers want to make money but the good ones also want to enhance their reputation with good design, not endanger their social licence to operate.
Governments and their agencies are often trying their best to balance competing demands. Decision-making bodies can be hamstrung by regulations.
In the world of absolutes, there is no place for compromise. But compromise can be a good thing.
Compromise is what may be on the table for 3 Oceans’ plan for a $450 million beachside skyscraper in Scarborough.
When the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority knocked it back last month there were two reactions.
In one corner were those who decried it as a missed opportunity for Scarborough and WA, not least for the economic boost it could deliver.
In the opposing corner were those who considered it a near-miss, fearing Gold Coast-style development that would destroy the coastline.
Since then, 3 Oceans has appealed and the case will go to a State Administrative Tribunal hearing.
However, before it gets to the SAT both sides have agreed to mediation, to be facilitated by Department of Planning director-general Gail McGowan.
The consent to mediation came after a meeting last month between Planning Minister Rita Saffioti and 3 Oceans managing director Dyno Zhang.
Neither the Government nor 3 Oceans is likely to be thrilled that the project has wound up in mediation. But for the community this may prove to be a best-case scenario if it leads to two outcomes: a more acceptable design and planning reforms to improve transparency.
Those are two big ifs but there are encouraging signs.
The design of the skyscraper, which comprises one 43-level tower and another at 35 levels, is eye-catching. It is also a lot higher than the area’s uppermost height limit of 18 storeys. That in itself is not necessarily a reason to reject the project. Good design is more important than height and a very tall building that looks beautiful and works in context is more welcome than a building that is shorter but less aesthetically pleasing.
Still, the extra height is a legitimate cause for concern for those who fear it could set a precedent or irreparably change the skyline.
Scarborough has a rich history of anti-high-rise development. Memories of the 2004 rallies against planned high-rise would still linger for the City of Stirling and the Government. A development bigger than the rules allowed that was perceived to have been rubber-stamped risked polarising the community.
Enter an opportunity for compromise.
One of the MRA’s big concerns was around over-development of the site. One option could be a slimmed down build that makes the height more palatable.
Or if traffic concerns can be overcome — a pedestrian bridge over West Coast Highway should be considered in context — the towers’ size might be found more acceptable. The entire process has been slow and painful but it is also a reminder that WA’s system of checks and balances is mostly working.
I say “mostly” because this case has also highlighted the need for greater transparency about how planning and development decisions are made in WA. As this paper’s commercial property editor Helen Shield recently pointed out, the MRA is the only decision-making body of its type that does not make submissions public. The opportunity to change that has now arisen, with the MRA being merged with LandCorp to create a new planning agency to oversee metropolitan planning activity.
If the 3 Oceans’ development goes ahead in a scaled-back form, Perth will get a bold new addition to the skyline and those with concerns will have had some of them met and at least feel they have been heard.
It is not the scenario either 3 Oceans or those who want to see the entire plan junked would have chosen. But compromise is like that.
In the words of former German politician Ludwig Erhard, a compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.