Canberra's car park dilemma
Geoff Davidson of Braddon says that developments such as the one at the corner of Mort and Elouera St are not allocating enough carparks within the apartment complex . Photo: Melissa Adams
A multi-storey redevelopment in Braddon is at the heart of a dilemma for Canberra - how to stop parked cars from choking inner-city suburban streets on one hand, while enjoying convenient city parking on the other.
Some developers and planners are pushing for fewer car parking spaces in Kingston, Woden and the city.
But Braddon residents Geoff and Susan Davidson don't accept people who live and work in the city are less reliant on cars.
They want Planning Minister Simon Corbell to use his call in powers to intervene, after the appeals tribunal was unable to help them oppose a new development.
The mixed development of ground-floor commercial space and 42 residential apartments proposed on the former National Capital Motors site in Mort Street is in a CZ 3 zone.
Mr Davidson said although the zoning was exempt from third party appeals, he pushed ahead with a tribunal hearing, complaining the development was non-compliant because it was 11 car parks short of the required number.
He said many of the units did not have enough sunlight.
"Fourteen one-bedroom units have large windowless 'studies' which will surely be used by some as a second bedroom," Mr Davidson said.
"This is reminiscent of the New York slum tenements of the 1800's."
Mr Davidson said new developments around his neighbourhood in the north of Braddon and towards Merici College had a legacy of cars cluttering streets and nature strips.
"There is not enough car parking provided for them on this so-called basis that (city residents) won't need cars."
Mr Davidson said he told another developer he would go to the tribunal if more car parking was not provided in a separate development.
He is not opposed to multi-storey apartments, even if they were higher than six storeys.
"But do it properly and do it well and the city will be better off for it," he said.
Developer Morris Property Group principal Louise Morris said the Mort Street project, Habitat, was not short of car parking. Residents would receive more car parks than required by the Territory Plan.
"One-bedroom units at 'Habitat' receive the requisite one car space and two-bedroom apartments receive two car spaces, in excess of the statutory requirement (50 car parks provided)," she said.
Ms Morris said some visitor car parks were located on the street, but this complied.
"Regarding solar access, the orientation of the block itself as south-facing initially provided some challenges but we have achieved the requisite solar access by using skylights, windows and balconies," she said.
A spokeswoman for Mr Corbell said he was only able to exercise 'call-in' powers where a development application had not been determined by the planning authority. This development had been approved by the authority.
Quoting the territory's parking code, the spokeswoman said in some cases parking spaces on site could be negotiated or waived.
"Costs can be reduced by eliminating the need for costly on-site basement car parking, and greater efficiency can be achieved through the increased potential for shared and complementary use."