REJECTED: Councillors say no to ‘upscale’ boarding house
“HOW would you feel if the development of this boarding house was next to your house, in such a tiny street?”
That was the question posed to councillors by Gundagai Pl resident Donne Bloemhard at last week’s meeting, in his plea for the boarding house DA to be rejected for a second time.
Coffs Harbour City Councillors were tasked with reviewing and deciding whether to approve what was described as an “up-scale” boarding house earmarked for the cul-de-sac.
“It’s the wrong thing in the wrong spot,” Mr Bloemhard said - before the plans were once again refused by councillors.
The $1.2 million development lodged on behalf of managing director of 3KN Investments Pty Ltd George Karam was not a social housing proposal, but a unique hybrid model of accommodation aimed at young professionals such as doctors and nurses.
It was proposed to house up to 19 people in 11 rooms, on 6-month leases including bonds. These units could not be sold individually.
At the meeting, Mr Karam told councillors he believed the community had the wrong idea of just who was going to be occupying the rooms, further stating it was not affordable housing.
“There is a perception that the tenants going to inhabit this particular development will be of low socio-economic circumstances – that could not be further from what we are trying to establish here,” he said.
Mr Karam owns a number of other similar developments across the state, including a 36-room boarding house in Gosford.
“It’s not a place where people are going to have a party, it’s where they’re going to have a rest.”
The plans were unanimously rejected by councillors at a meeting in May, however the developer sought a review of the decision after making a number of changes.
These changes included a full-time, on-site manager, hedging to enhance privacy, and the relocation of the communal space to the rear of the property.
While councillors could see the benefit of having the new form of accommodation in the Coffs Coast housing mix amid a rental crisis, there were still concerns the development was simply “too much” for the quiet street.
“We’re certainly in need of more stock for one person households,” Cr Sally Townley said.
“But I still can’t escape the idea that there’s going to be 19 people and their guests and friends … in that very small, very quiet cul-de-sac street.
“If this was on a busier street or a street with more commercial entities we wouldn’t notice it and wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Cr Arkan, who voted in favour of approving the DA, however argued that the updated plans allowed for control.
“With the conditions proposed I think it’s a win-win situation and takes away those concerns of the neighbours,” he said.
“This development allows for some control.
“If someone else buys the land there, there could be issues galore.”
After some debate the DA was refused, with councillors Townley, George Cecato, Denise Knight, Keith Rhoades and Michael Adendorff voting against the approval.
Councillors Arkan, Tegan Swan and Paul Amos voted for the DA to be approved.