Five storey development approved for Morris St corner
A five-storey $7.6 million development for the corner of West and Morris Sts, Umina, was approved by Central Coast Council on February 11.
The proposed development is one storey above the four-storey height allowed in the Gosford Local Environment Plan and also greater than the maximum floor space ratio by 10 per cent.
An existing two-storey commercial building at 211 and 213 West St will be demolished for the development.
Mayor Cr Jane Smith said it had 20 non-complying points and she foreshadowed an amendment to the recommendation. But her amendment never saw the light of day.
Only three councillors voted against the proposal.
They were Cr Kyle MacGregor, Cr Louise Greenaway and Cr Smith.
Two people spoke at the Residents' Forum before the meeting.
Planning consultant Mr Matthew Wales spoke on behalf of the owner Sans Filter Pty Ltd in favour the proposal and local resident Mr Bruce Illfield spoke against it.
Cr Richard Mehrtens opened debate, saying he supported the recommendation because it was in a good area and he would like to see more of this style of development in town centres.
"This sort of development contributes to the streetscape, and will allow new life into the town centre of Umina,'' he said.
Cr Greg Best supported the recommendation, saying "if you applied the strictest rule of the Development Control Plan, you would pass nothing".
Cr Chris Holstein said he was generally supportive of the proposal but the number of variations did draw his concern.
He said he worried about precedence being set, although in this case the outcome was good.
His two main concerns were garbage collection and drainage.
He cited angst and concern for Gosford neighbours when drainage meant ongoing pumping of water onto the roads.
Cr Chris Burke supported the recommendation, saying Umina was the "forgotten south", which they had had to fight hard for Bunnings and McDonalds and he was supportive of this development too.
Cr Greenaway said residents needed a sense of certainty when they heard variations to the planning provisions.
The Council director responsible for planning, Mr Scott Cox, said he agreed but said not every site was perfect and so not every objective of the provisions could be met.
Cr Greenaway asked why this flat block of land was allowed to have so many variations.
Mr Cox said a lot of the reasons were in the report. He explained the planning provisions allowed for variations.
He said it was a corner block, in a transition zone and staff thought it was a good design.
The report noted the development was one storey or 25 per cent above the guidelines.
It was above the floor space ratio by 10 per cent.
The site falls 9.34 per cent short of the required 1000 square metres for such a development.
The height of the facade to Morris St was 50 per cent above Gosford Development Control Plan 2013 guidelines and an external wall height would be 19 per cent above.
Central Coast Council agenda, 11 Feb 2019