Who decides if a nine level apartment block can be built on the Bay Air motel site?

Redland City Council is currently considering a developer’s application to increase from eight to nine storeys the height of a proposed apartment block at 218-220 Middle Street in Cleveland (the Bay Air Motel site).

The development application is impact assessable, was advertised for public consultation and submissions have been made objecting to the proposal.

Mr Peter Harrison the General Manger of Redlands RSL says the height is above Redlands City Council’s own height restrictions and asks: “why have limits in place if they just keep getting ignored or overruled” and “when is the Council going to stand up to these people”.

“The decision on the construction of units in the Cleveland area just seems to have become a cash cow for the RCC and
decisions are made on how many and how much in rates, our Club has 27,000 members and believe me it is always a
talking point about when will enough be enough”
he concludes.

A substantial submission from the body corporate of Cascades by the Bay apartments opens with this comment:

This recent application takes no respect to the areas local amenity, or considers the extra bulk and size of such an already approved development which pushes the boundaries of councils own codes. It is purely a means of increasing the yield of an englobo development site to increase its potential value by up to another $2,500,000. It is beneficial to only one party and that being the developer! It does not take into account the further effects on existing residents, traffic and amenity.

As the Cascades submission says, there’s already an approved development for this site. It was approved two years ago.

Proposed height for the apartment block at 218-220 Middle Street

City Plan prescribed maximum height for this site19.0 metres
Height of eight story apartment block approved under delegation in 202226.6 metres
Height of nine storey apartment block proposed in the current development application29.6 metres
Increase in building height for Middle Street apartment block
A developer wants to build a nine storey apartment block on the Bay Air motel site

In Redlands, contentious development applications are typically called in by a divisional councillor so that a decision about a proposal that exceeds the “prescribed outcomes” can be made at a general meeting, in public, by the full Council.

This didn’t happen in 2022. Plans to build an eight level block of apartments at 218-220 Middle Street (on the site of the Bay Air Motel) were approved by a Council officer under delegation. There was no opportunity for the community to scrutinise the decision making process.

Because the proposed development exceeded the City Plan’s prescribed height for this site, the application was impact assessable which means it had to be advertised for public consultation. Fourteen properly made submissions objecting to the development application were received by the Council by 12 August 2022.

Documents obtained by Redlands2030, through a Right to Information (RTI) request, reveal that the divisional councillor Peter Mitchell was well aware of concerns from nearby residents about this development application.

The office of Federal MP Henry Pike had forwarded a submission to him on 3 August 2022, well before the closing date for submissions on 12 August.

On 24 August 2022 Cr Mitchell was asked by Cr Adelia Berridge (cc to all councillors) if he would request that the development application (and another Middle Street application) be “brought in for discussion, please”.

Cr Julie Talty immediately responded with road blocks, saying:

“You have not said what the issue is with these applications. There are a number of steps that would be expected to be taken by a councillor in relation to a matter like this before jumping ahead to a call in.

Have you asked the councillor if he has knowledge of the applications. You obviously are of the belief that they are impact? (sic) Have you asked planning to provide you a brief or outline of the matters under assessment? You have provided no justification for your request of the councillor.”

Keep in mind that at this time, Redland City Council was in turmoil because the then mayor Karen Williams had recently attracted national attention by crashing her Council owned Lexus while three times over the limit. Some councillors, led by Cr Berridge, were publicly calling for the mayor to resign. Other councillors were supporting the Mayor. There was tension.

Cr Mitchell replied to all councillors, saying:

I have not called in the applications preferring to let the professionals and process get going, but have stayed briefed. I reserve the right if necessary to call in and would like the courtesy of a discussion prior if another Councillor is of a mind to suggest a “call in”.

Instead of a “call in” Cr Mitchell suggested a ‘smaller group briefing in our common area which happened a few weeks later on 21 September 2022.

On 26 October 2022 the development application was approved under delegation.

When the people who made submissions finally found out four weeks later that the eight story apartment block had been approved, one of them was particularly unhappy, telling Cr Mitchell in an email: “Peter, I have always supported you as my local representative however I am totally disappointed by councils and your lack of scrutiny on this development which will affect so many of your constituents”.

Other comments in this email included: “the whole process and determination is on the nose…”,  “I believe it is a blight on you as a councillor to have not even communicated with so many residents who have taken this proposal so seriously to the effect of the quality and amenity of their neighbourhood that they took considerable time to lodge these properly made objections known to council officers and yourself”.

Who will decide the current development application?

So what will happen with the current development application for a ninth level to be added to this apartment block?

Will Cr Mitchell call it in for decision in public at a general meeting of Redland City Council?

Or will he again demonstrate masterly inactivity, and let the professionals and the process get going?

Further reading

Building height limits in Cleveland ignored by developers

Redlands2030 – 24 June 2024

3 thoughts on “Who decides if a nine level apartment block can be built on the Bay Air motel site?”

  1. What is it with this Council…..?? They go off on their own tangent without consultation, respect or credit to the tax payers/residents – and really couldn’t care less about what the people say. or how it affects them. I really do think it is time for a change of guard…They are becoming the laughing stock of the Moreton Bay region…….

  2. Marianne Pietersen

    I think council should call it in, and have another look also at the already approved plan. It should be wound back to 6 stories, close to the standard council approved height for the area. It’s time to get back to good government.

  3. Carole Szekely

    The council has already ruined Cleveland with too many high rise apartments. They think Cleveland is a great holiday destination. Who wants to come here just to see more high rise buildings. Cleveland used to be a lovely bayside village atmosphere town, now it’s just plain ugly. They used to put lovely flowers in the roundabouts and make the streets beautiful now the council hardly do anything, just collect more rates. Also doesn’t build more roads to divert traffic out of Cleveland and that’s another problem with the Council.

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