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Mayor's letter to Premier on proposed Seawall development

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Mayor Amanda Wilson, on behalf of the City of Holdfast Bay, has written to Premier Steven Marshall, regarding the State Government Legislature in the Receiving of Development Applications.


Dear Premier,

Regards for State Government Legislature in the Receiving of Development Applications

As you may have become aware through recent media coverage of a rally held on Sunday 21 February 2021 on the foreshore at Glenelg, our Council is presently managing community reaction to a proposal for a 13-storey apartment building at 21 to 25 South Esplanade, Glenelg.

The reason for me writing to you on Council's behalf is not to seek your assistance with the development application, which is being managed independently through a separate process by the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP), but to raise your awareness, and seek your government's consideration, of the apparent disconnect between the type of development that the SCAP accepts for assessment and the land use policies that establish the parameters for the scale of development in a given locality.

A community should not be forced to mobilise against the absurdity of a 13-storey building in a 5-storey zone, particularly when that same community was provided with a legislative commitment as recently as 2016 regarding maximum building heights in their neighbourhood.

The State Parliament, as a collective, endorsed the Ministerial Glenelg District Centre and Residential High Density Zone Review Development Plan Amendment (DPA) in 2016, which was informed by extensive public consultation and community input.

Indeed, public information sessions and meetings were held in February and March 2016, hosted by the then Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI).

DPTl's records show that over 100 people attended these and earlier community events, which were in addition to the 55 written submissions received for the DPA, including a detailed representation by our Council.

A 'Community Information Sheet' was also produced by DPTI at the time, reassuring residents that 12-storey buildings would only occur on the section of the Esplanade " ... south of Jetty Road up to the alignment of Saltram Road".

This was then reinforced by the gazettal of zoning changes that capped building heights to 5- storeys for the allotments south of the Saltram Road alignment (being the site of the current 13-storey proposal).

As such, an accord was reached between the community and government as to building height limitations through the engagement process.

It is therefore difficult to reconcile DPTl's reassurances and the community's expectations at the time with the scale of development that is before the SCAP now.

Our Council was therefore compelled to unanimously pass a resolution at its meeting held on 23 February 2021, asking that I write to you, the Planning Minister, and the Member for Morphett, seeking clarification on the following matters, as a means to explain to our community what has lead to the current circumstances:

  1. What were the circumstances under which the SCAP accepted an application for a 13-storey building when 5 years ago a very long and detailed DPA was carried out together with a very thorough consultation with residents, with final sign off by the then Planning Minster detailing a maximum of 5-storeys in this zone?
  2. What has been the process to increase in the development limits from 5-storeys to 13-storeys?
  3. Why has the government (State Planning Commission) not previously sought to rezone the site via the normal process in which the community is consulted rather than merely react to a single proposal?
  4. What is the government's attitude to the precedent this will establish for the rest of Holdfast Bay's planning height limits? What guarantees can the government provide that this proposal will not be used as the precedent for all to make changes at will, without proper community consultation, which may result in a long wall of high-rise apartment buildings along the whole seafront?
  5. What is the government's objectives in its rules and principles that allow this breach of standards which were only recently installed?

Our Council thanks you for any advice that can be provided on these matters, because if developers can simply submit proposals that are at significant odds with set standards that are informed by community input, then our Council will advocate for fundamental reform to the planning system as a means to provide our community with the reassurance it is entitled to regarding the planned and orderly development of our neighbourhoods.

Please do not hesitate to contact Anthony Marroncelli, Manager Development Services on 8229 9904 or should further discussion be sought on this matter.


Amanda Wilson