The Southern Regional Planning Panel has given the green light to Shoalhaven City Council’s proposed $15 million multi-storey car park in the Nowra CBD.
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The controversial development is proposed for the existing 193 space car park bounded by Worrigee and Berry streets and Lawrence Avenue.
Although approved, council has had to do a number of alterations including reducing the number of parking spaces to 467 instead of the original proposal of more than 640.
The five-level car park, which has been the centre of heated debate for a number of years, had been deferred by the panel in November 2016.
Panel members, chairperson Pam Allan, Alison McCabe and Renata Brooks approved the proposal after a brief meeting in Nowra on Wednesday afternoon.
The panel heard a short presentation by council outlining the changes it had made to the proposal. It also heard a submission by local Bill Hancock who suggested changing a number of Nowra CBD streets to one-way and angled parking which he estimated would create more parking spaces than council’s proposed at a far less cost.
It also heard from Stephanie Gates on behalf of the Berry Court Owners’ Corporation.
The panel heard the project footprint had been modified to comply with site specific setbacks under the Shoalhaven Development Control Plan (DCP) 2014 and was now wholly compliant with the maximum building height under the Shoalhaven Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014.
The proposal is still for five levels, but has been reduced by 158 car parking spaces, to 467 cars and 18 motorcycles with a maximum height of 14.8m.
In presenting the updated proposal, council planner Nicholas Cavallo said the reasons for deferral had been addressed.
Council was required to provide setbacks to retain street trees and retain consistency with the DCP, however there was no reduction to setback in Berry Court.
“The height was reduced to 12 metres in the the south-eastern corner and architecial treatment undertaken of the southern elevation,” he said.
An amended landscape plan had been produced between Berry Court and the southern setback, while an arborist’s report had been produced detailing the condition of trees and their retention.
There will also be associated drainage and landscaping works.
Mr Cavallo said the amended plans had again gone out to public comment, with council receiving a further 18 submissions on a variety of issues including height, visual impact, solar access, residential amenity, adverse social impact, removal of vegetation and inconsistent with council's planning controls.
In approving the proposal the panel imposed a new condition to incorporate more plantings along the southeastern corner of the site and amended a condition regarding the final design of the southern wall of the structure, which might include perforated metal continuing to wrap around the building or possibly incorporating a mural. These decisions are to be made in consultation with Berry Court residents.
The Nowra CBD Multi-Level Car Park Development Committee, which has driven the proposal said it is planned for the new facility to be an “all day car park”.
A spokesperson for the committee says there appears to be some confusion over the car park’s purpose.
“Its purpose is to take cars off the street to boost the availability of short term parking spaces,” the spokesperson said.
“And alleviate the problem faced by workers in the CBD who have to move their car about during the day when they need to park in short term parking and get fined when they are late doing so.
“It has taken since the mid-1970s when council first resolved to build a multi-level car park and numerous consultant reports to get to this point.”
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