Ten + storeys flawed solution for Nelson Bay

Ten + storeys flawed solution for Nelson Bay

The centrepiece of Port Stephens Council’s “Revised Implementation and Delivery Program for the Nelson Bay Town and Foreshore Strategy” is a proposal to more than double the present height limit from 5 to 10-storeys (35 metres) backed by an unconditional option to apply for more floors.

The Council argues that this is necessary for new projects to be viable and to attract more permanent residents to bolster retail business which has been struggling.

Advice provided by long established Nelson Bay real estate professionals, and developers suggests that this a false hope, as a blanket 10 + zoning across the whole town area will actually increase uncertainty because new investors will never know if a project’s views will be built out.

TRRA calls for a more fine-grained stepped zoning across the amphitheatre thus sharing views. This would offer greater certainty to developers and unit purchasers.

The Council’s consultants questioned the viability of high rise in the town when fire protection and parking requirements are factored in. They also described the market for high rise apartments as “very thin”. That is, difficult to sell units after the first couple of towers go up. Locals know how long it takes to sell new units now. We have also seen project failures leaving holes in the ground and high levels of mortgage default.

As for permanent residents, evidence shows that apartments 3 floors and over in Nelson Bay have occupancy rates of less than 30 %. Most have absentee owners and are held for weekend visits, holiday rental or capital gain. Adding to this stock will not solve the problems of our retailers.

Council persists with the line “we listened to you and now you have further opportunity to review the strategy”. However, its exhibited document acknowledges that of the 76 submissions received last year mentioning maximum building heights, “the vast majority was against any significant increase”. Council did not listen!

The majority of local residents and visitors place high value on the coastal village ambience of Nelson Bay and the protection of view corridors to the wooded ridges and towards the Bay. These principles were agreed for the 2012 Strategy. Incentives for amalgamation of sites in the town centre and in surrounding areas could attract high quality low and medium rise developments. Implementation of the other recommendations in the Delivery Program for landscaping, public spaces, traffic, parking and signage would demonstrate to developers that the community is serious about growing a vibrant town.

If you care about your town come to the Public Meeting on Tuesday 6 March, 7.00pm at the Nelson Bay Bowling Club.

Geoff Washington, TRRA President

This entry was posted in 2018, HOT ISSUES, PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT, TRRA Meeting Notices. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ten + storeys flawed solution for Nelson Bay

  1. Richard says:

    I probably won’t be able to attend the meeting on 6th March because of prior commitments, but I have a few comments to make.

    In my experience, high-rise apartments do not benefit the local area. They generate slums, particularly when the occupancy rate is low. And the occupancy rate will be low because we have an over supply of apartment units in Australia, many of them bought off the plan as investments. The investors usually lose money and can’t offload their ‘investments’ because of the over supply. Maintenance levels drop because it’s essentially dead money. You have silent, echoing corridors with maybe one or two units occupied. Not a good place to live.

    The idea of people taking the lift down from their apartment in a high-rise in, say, Church Street and walking to the Magnus St/Stockton St ‘village’ to browse the shops or to have a coffee in the morning or a meal in the evening is pure fantasy. It’s too far to walk. Walking back home up the Donald St hill after a meal is not an attractive prospect. Instead, they’ll take the lift down to the garage floor and drive to somewhere where they can park close to a restaurant or a coffee shop.

    They won’t walk down to the Woolworths supermarket for the same reasons, plus you can’t find a parking spot there in holiday season for most of the day. They’ll drive to Salamander Centre, where they also won’t be able to find a parking spot in holiday season. Then they’ll ask themselves why they came here. There used to be a view, but now it’s blocked by high-rise apartments. So they’ll decide to sell up and move somewhere else. But they can’t sell their apartment because nobody wants to buy.

    I’ve been told that increasing the parking slots in the area would help. Maybe could do.

    I have an interest in the decision. We used to have a great view until that crane blocked it.

    • Margaret Wilkinson says:

      Such a commonsense response to why high rise is not needed. I hope a few more click on this and read your comment. Hopefully you will just pop it into an email to Council before 4th April because what you have said is important. And you won’t be alone in losing a view once the Church Street building goes up. Once the 10 storeys pop up in front of the Church Street building than, guess what, they won’t have a view either!!!! Good planning is essential.

      • Richard says:

        Thanks for those kind words, Margaret. The email will be sent today.

        I notice that the block in front of the Church Street building is for sale. I think that your prediction for a 10 storey pop-up in front of the existing Church Street development is spot on.

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