A code assessable development application is assessed only against the relevant planning codes, with no appeal rights. An impact assessable development includes public consultation, and is subject to court appeals.
The Wolter Consulting report notes that the council uses site cover, the proportion of a site covered by buildings and structures, as the “primary trigger” to determine if a development would be code or impact assessable.
Documents lodged with the council state Waterfront Brisbane will have a site cover of 9919 square metres and tower site cover of 6300 square metres, equalling 44.5 per cent of the total site area and 28.2 per cent of tower site cover, making it code assessable.
But Wolter Consulting’s report argues those figures did not include the entire site, only taking into account the tower and plaza buildings, not the “low-scale tenanted spaces” on the site.
“These areas potentially include the pontoons and moorings, the riverwalk, the car parking areas that protrude above ground level and any areas of plaza on those car parking areas that are commercialised/tenanted as outdoor dining and the like,” the report says.
If those areas are included, the total site area expands to 19,307 square metres and site cover percentage could be above the 70 per cent benchmark that would make the application impact assessable, the report concludes.
Dexus did not comment directly on the Wolter Consulting report, but said in a statement to Brisbane Times the development had received wide public support.
“We have received considerable support from the community and general public on Waterfront Brisbane, which will transform a tired part of the CBD into a world-class destination,” Dexus project director Matthew Beasley said.
“Waterfront Brisbane will be a great outcome for Brisbane with the renewal of the city’s premium business district, activation of the river and improvements to the riverwalk. It is set to reshape the daily experience of the many people who visit and work there.”
A council spokeswoman said the project remained under assessment.
“Brisbane City Council issued an information request to the applicant on August 7. The applicant has three months to respond,” she said.
“Council’s independent planning officers have requested clarification over the site cover calculation, which will be reviewed as part of the applicant’s overall response to the information request.”
Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.