Eight storey hotel approval questioned by residents

MCU013316 East Elevation

Its a hotel this big

Where can you get approval for an eight story building in a five storey zone?

Redland City Council recently approved such an application leaving many to wonder why the City bothers to have a planning scheme. It seems  as if this is a City where developers are encouraged to do mostly whatever they want to.

Impact assessable inconsistent use application

The site is on the western side of Waterloo Street, Cleveland. The developer put in an impact assessable, inconsistent use application. To the surprise of many, it was granted by Council officers without being submitted for discussion at a Council meeting.


But an artists impression makes it look smaller

This application seems to clearly fail the requirements of the Redlands Planning Scheme (RPS) in some key areas:

  • The stated limit for this area is 5 storeys, this approval is for 8 storeys, an increase of 60%
  • There is a height limit of 19 m, this building is 27 m high, an increase of 42%. The height is contrary to the desired environmental outcomes of the Planning Scheme.
  • There is a concession on the number of parking spaces while parking is already scarce in Cleveland.  This development looks like it will make it worse.
  • From the documents, the application appears to be a Hotel, which is “out-of-zone” and therefore takes away from the function of Cleveland Town Centre where hotel use is permissible.

The application did not attempt to address the Specific Outcomes in the relevant codes  – it just regurgitated the planning scheme’s Specific Outcomes & Probable Solutions.   It seems that the only attempt to address the Outcomes sought was the following statement:

4.5 Overall compliance with the scheme

The scheme as a whole is in line with the objectives set out in RPS v.6.2. The proposal is impact assessable because it exceeds the height set down in table 2 of the MDR code. We believe that the increase in height allows for the scheme to be viable with three levels of residential uses above the hotel component making the entire proposal fully integrated in terms of types of accommodation, and better enables the level of investment in the quality of the building, the landscaping and footpath and public spaces.”

The Council should know that financial viability, or enabling the level of investment in the quality of the building, are not planning criteria and as such have no real place in demonstrating compliance with a scheme.

Council and its officers often complain that the community doesn’t understand how a performance based planning scheme works. Perhaps Council can explain how the performance based planning system allows an 27 metre high eight story hotel to be built in an area zoned for 19 metre five storey buildings that are not hotels.

Cleveland CBD Incentives

In addition to the additional storeys, the developer would be entitled to 75%-100% discount on development application fees and infrastructure contributions under the Cleveland CBD Incentives Package.

The CBD Incentives, state that there are “car-parking” concessions for complying developments. Overall this means the this Council will saddle future councils and rate payers with a $3 million debt and chronic dearth of car parking spaces.

The incentive scheme is to be applauded as a means of attracting new development to Cleveland. However, it seems like double dipping when the additional development fostered by extending or over riding the planning scheme attracts the same  concessions as a development that is consistent with the RPS.  These concessions impose perhaps unanticipated extra costs on Redland’s ratepayers.

Court action by just a few

The application has been readvertised by court order

The court said advertise it properly

Following on the actions of a few concerned citizens, the developer has been required by the Planning and Environment Court to re-advertise the application because the initial advertising was not maintained for the full statutory period.

This means that the community now has another  opportunity to place a submission, outlining any objections and putting theses concerns before the Council.

It also seems that Council has made the applicant rewrite the two IDAS forms and to remove the word “hotel”.  But still the word “hotel” appears in the description of the application and throughout the documentation.

Once the appeal process has started the adjudication of the application is in the hands of the Court which is supposed to consider the application “anew”.   It is understood that it is up to the proponent to convince the Court of the merit of the application while it is up to the Council as to how much it actively participates in the process. Unfortunately, Council is not required to consider any new submissions and re-assess the application.

Making submissions

New issues can be raised and submissions made that might affect the Court’s assessment. If residents make submissions this time, maybe the Council will think more carefully about this proposed development. They might even make the developer stick to the provisions of the planning scheme.

The Council PD Online page for the application is found at MCU 013316 while the progress of the appeal can be found at Planning and Environment Court appeal # 795/15 .

Appeal rights

Although re-advertised as a result of actions in the Court, people can still make a submission to the Redland City Council.  Additionally any objector can still join the current appeal in the Planning and Environment Court.  Anyone who joins the appeal should be aware of their potential liability for costs.

4. any person who lodges a properly made submission with the Respondent within the Comment Period may elect to join the Appeal by:

(a) filing a Notice of Election in the Appeal (in Form PEC – 6 for the Planning and Environment Court) by 2 October 2015: and serving a copy of the Notice of Appeal upon each other party to the Appeal;”

Looking at Council’s PD Online Record for MCU013366, it has had a remarkably quick passage through the Assessment Process in Council.   The record indicates that the Development Application (DA) was not properly made until 1 October 2014.

Council made no Information Request & after Public Notification closed in late November 2014 an approval under delegated authority was issued on 16 December 2014. Strangely it was also not listed in the Table of Decisions made under delegated authority in December 2014 appended to the Minutes of late January 2015.

There is no evidence on the public record that Council has given consideration to the Submissions previously lodged, or how it has assessed that the proposal has met the Overall & Specific Outcomes, ie. the performance criteria specified in the Planning Scheme.

Further it seems unusual for a significant non-complying impact assessable development proposal, which had also drawn public submissions, to have been processed so quickly.


How to make a submission

In view of the actions taken by some to appeal the Councils approval there is some merit in alerting Council to the community’s concerns. These concerns are about the emphasis, seemingly,  on getting development permits in place.   While those making submissions can join the appeal process, it is also important to let Council know that compliance with the intent of the RPS is important and that a general loosening of the compliance arrangements are not favoured.

The cooperation of concerned citizens is vital.  Please make a submission by way of objection.

The simple way to make a submission is to open a New Message on your own email and address it as follows to:


Copy and paste the text below into the body of the email and add your name and address as indicated in the draft submission .

By making a submission people are not joining the appeal, but are  expressing concern at the decisions of Redland City Council and its abrogation of responsibility to support the RPS.

Objections must be lodged by 16 September 2015.

So to participate in our local democratic processes copy  from the next line to the end of the post and insert it into an email and send it to Redland City Council.


Submission by way objection to MCU 013316

I (INSERT your First Name Second Name) of (INSERT your home address) am making this submission by way of objection to application # MCU013316.  It clearly fails the requirements of the RPS in key areas:

  • There is a stated limit of 5 storeys, this approval is for 8 storeys, an increase of 60%
  • There is a height limit of 19 m, this building is 27 m high, an increase of 42%. The height is contrary to the desired environmental outcomes of the Planning Scheme. 
  • There is a concession on the number of parking spaces while parking is already scarce in Cleveland. This development looks like it will make it worse. 
  • From many of the documents in the application it appears to be a Hotel, which is “out-of-zone” and therefore takes away from the function of Cleveland Town Centre where hotel use is permissible.  
  • The word hotel is used intermittently and even inconsistently but if approved as submitted there seems little doubt a hotel is an intended use for the building (which will likely be followed by gaming and liquor licences).
  • The use(s) are inconsistent with the aims and objectives of the Redland Planning Scheme.

The proposed uses are listed in Table 1 of the Medium Density Zone Code.

Apartment Building – where in MDR6 or where the development height extends more than 10% over the maximum building height as set out in Table 2 – Building Height and Tourist Accommodation – where the development height extends more than 10% over the maximum building height as set out in Table 2 – Building Height.

“Hotel” is a defined use under the Redland Planning Scheme and the use Hotel is listed as an Inconsistent Use.

Uses identified as inconsistent within each zone code and are impact assessable, are generally considered inappropriate and not preferred in a zone.(Pt 1.2.5 (g) Structural Elements of the RCPS)

To the average fair-minded person, this proposal appears to be a Hotel. The drawings show the building as “Waterloo Hotel”, planning reports refer to the use “Hotel”.

The Councils own website under PD Online brings up the page title “Application Details” with the following:

Description: Mixed Use – Hotel, Apartment Building, Refreshment Establishment and Shop

Submitted: 01/10/2014

No mention of Tourist Accommodation

There are numerous references in the stamped approved plans and reports to the word “Hotel”.
The approved engineering details refer to an application for 52 Units.

  • The proposed use(s) create an “out-of-zone” development.

Buildings of the height and scale proposed are more appropriately located within the Major Centre of Cleveland. The site of the proposal is beyond the “geographical limits” of Cleveland Town Centre- a precinct which is nominated under the SEQ Plan as being a Principal Activity Centre.

An Overall Outcome of the Medium Density Zone Code is that uses and other developments provide for a range of non-residential uses that do not compromise the role and function of centres. The use Hotel, (which is permitted development within Cleveland Town Centre) would clearly compromise the role and function of Cleveland, given that there is more than adequate available land ready for such development.

  • The building is too high

A specific outcome of the Medium Density Zone Code states that development should comply with the height limits of 5 stories and 19m ( table 2 -Building Height Map 2 precinct 3) for an Apartment Building or a Tourist Accommodation Building.(Specific outcomes achieve the overall outcomes and the purpose of the code. Any compromise of a specific outcome, compromises the purposes of the code)A DEO of the Medium Density Zone Code is that residential uses are predominantly mid-rise. Mid-rise is defined as “a building that is 3-5 stories in height”.The Code does permit a 10% tolerance on these height (20.9m) primarily to assist in meeting code requirements which aim to ensure that roof design contributes to good building form.The proposed building has a flat roof.The height is out of place with the surrounding buildings. A concession on the height limit will create a precedent for other developments within the zone to be of a similar height. An adjacent site with a current approval with a complying height now has an application for an eight storey building.There is only one site within the Redland City which permits an eight storey building, and that site (over the Cleveland Railway station) is an increased height to allow for trains at ground level and the site (in urban design terms) is considered a landmark site – a focal point at one of the key entry points to Cleveland.This proposal will compromise the nature of the station site.A key Desired Environmental Outcome (DEO) of the Redlands is to encourage good urban design in both private and public development throughout the City and close integration in design between private and publicly owned land.The desired Built Form and Density of Cleveland Town Centre Zone concentrates building mass around the central core, establishing a critical mass through increased building height and identifying the heart of the Centre through physical building form. Building heights will not compromise the ability to view part of the vegetated backdrop of North Stradbroke Island above the building line when viewed from Shore Street between Delancey and Grant Streets.The subject proposal will compromise this outcome.

  • There are insufficient off-street car parking spaces.  

The applicant seeks a 300% reduction in the number of parking spaces required. To justify their claim, there is a report prepared by their traffic engineers who make reference to Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) Guidelines for a “Hotel” use. This is confusing because of the ambiguity of use in the common material. If the use is a “Hotel”, it should be publicly notified as such, if it isn’t a Hotel, there should be no parking concessions.

  • Hours of operation are not stated 

There is nothing in the applicant’s common material and more specifically Form 5 which stipulates the hours of operation of the proposal. Given there are mixed uses which include shops, restaurants, conference rooms and a bar it seems fair and reasonable that any fair-minded person would like to know if the proposed uses and their hours of operation are compatible with the predominant residential use of the zone.

  •  Overshadowing and overlooking has not been addressed 

The additional height will restrict solar access to any north-facing units on the site to the south. During winter, shadows will intrude up to 25 meters into the adjoining southern site.All units with balconies on the southern elevation of the proposal will overlook any northern private open spaces of the adjoining southern site.

  • Infrastructure Charges and Concessions are inequitable

The Redlands Planning Scheme seeks to ensure development contributes a fair and equitable share to the costs of providing physical infrastructure.(Pt 3 .1.6 (g))

The approval states that there will be no infrastructure charges due for this development, clearly inconsistent with this desired outcome.

  • The building is a potential fire trap

The Medium Density Zone Code (4.14.7 (c)(i)e) seeks to maintain a hight standard of safety of people and property. The application proposes an 8-storey accommodation building with a single fire escape stair. The National Construction Code specifies at least two fire stairs for this scale and class of building. It is unlikely that the QFRS will approve a performance-based assessment for this proposal, given the limited resources of the Cleveland Fire Service.

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

8 thoughts on “Eight storey hotel approval questioned by residents

  1. Well, Steve, check with your local fire brigade how high their fire trucks are able to rescue from and how their lives are then put at risk trying to rescue patrons of businesses built to less than a required safety standard when an emergency occurs. After losing a very close family member to low safety standards, I will never be silenced on that issue!

  2. I wish to complain too, I wish it was 30 stories ..when we will grow up and stop whinging..the higher the better the more jobs the better life…yes!!

  3. Laws, rules and regulations are made for a reason. Everbody has to play by these, also wealthy developers, who seem to be in control of RCC. I have no problems with 8 storeys in the CBD, but not when other rules are in place. Maybe, they can make provisions for later extensions , if and when the time is right and the rules can be changed.

  4. Shame, shame, shame! Good on you Karen! Yet another developer allowed to do what they want. How about you start doing your job properly and stand by the legislation. If you don’t, can we as concerned citizens sue you for going against the legislation that is set down for everyone to follow… pretty sure there aren’t any brackets on the end of this legislation that says “except for Karen Williams”. Or can you go to jail for disobeying legislation? Disgraceful. You’ve let this one slip by and then everyone starts getting a little higher, a little larger, a little less like the buildings in the Redlands and pretty soon our beautiful Redlands looks exactly like every other area – a concrete jungle. STOP IT AND START ACTING RESPONSIBLY – THAT’S WHAT YOU’VE BEEN EMPLOYED TO DO!!!!

  5. What the Redland City Council???
    I have no problems with high rises in the centre of Cleveland but to stick it 2 blocks over and then make it far to tall with 8 storeys instead of the 5 stories which is “supposedly” set in stone by the very council which has overturned it is wrong.

  6. “The building is a potential fire trap”…..
    Here we go on standards again. Single fire escape stair, not two fire escape stair!
    And would building standards be applied to make sure external cladding is fire proof so that the Melbourne situation using inferior imported product is not used?
    Could go on and on, but this beggars belief.
    “minimum compliance” seems to be the name of the game in Redlands now. Not good enough.
    Let’s hear from those that will lead the new council how they would deal with such matters that your post has raised.

  7. Wondering…does building fit in with surrounding area?. Does it blend in…or.. will it stick out like a sore thumb so to speak? We know all buildings no matter where or what height are ‘code assessable’.
    Or who could visualise that six 6-storey apartment bldgs blend in well with surrounding low set homes, low set shops, next to a congested, 4-way road intersection in Capalaba with hundreds of cars, residents, using a narrow little street with residents who have lived for decades on Aramac Crt for accessing the 4-way intersection? Families can’t sell homes, wouldn’t get enough money to move anywhere else as one family now know who are trying to sell.

  8. When is this Williams led council going to use the town planning documents as is presently framed in the current 2006 town planning document instead of continually giving developers benefits outside these guidelines to the detriment of our community and values.

Comments are closed.