Washing powder waffle does not justify planning breach
The supporting arguments for the proposed development at Morris and West Sts, Umina, make interesting if unenlightening reading ("Five storey development proposed for Umina", August 21).
It is notable that the development provides 28 parking spaces for 22 apartments and a range of retail-commercial spaces in a location where street parking is limited, without giving any explanation of how this is justified.
It is also notable that the development breaches the height and floor space requirements of the Development Plan, although this might not be surprising, given that the so-called Atlantis development at Ettalong, also supported by Mr Wales, breaches just about every element of the Development Plan imaginable, with no rational justification at all.
In the case of Umina, the argument is that the variation is based on "design merit and key location of the proposed development and the imperative to lift the design standard of the eastern entry to the Umina town centre".
What is not clear is where the link lies between the variations and the stated goal.
Far from lifting "the design bar for future development in the Umina town centre", the building might best be described as in the Central Coast Bland style of architecture, leaving aside the 1920s clock face on the main facade (not even a digital display with time and temperature).
The application also does not explain why the building needs to breach development controls in order to "improve the social and economic welfare of the local community and substantially improve the liveability and amenity of the locality".
This is just waffle, as is such stuff as "utilising the natural features of the land and activating the ... street frontage".
This is the kind of language appropriate to washing powder advertisements, not to serious architectural discussion.
I should make it clear that I have no fundamental objection to taller buildings or greater density in Umina; in fact, I think it is a retrograde step that the Council has not proceeded with the redevelopment of the Bullion St Carpark which was an ideal location for a breakthrough building on the Peninsula.
However, the Sans Filter design does not justify departing from the established standards.
It is a mean effort, and all those sunless balconies pasted on the front won't save it.
Email, 23 Aug 2017
Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy.