Hearings set for proposed Gabba towers
A heritage-listed Russian Orthodox cathedral is at the heart of a development feud at Woolloongabba. Photo: Tony Moore
A controversial debate over twin apartment towers proposed for Woolloongabba shifts into 2013 with a week of hearings set aside in the Planning and Environment Court in February.
Developer Philip Usher has since 2010 proposed to build two towers near the Brisbane Cricket Ground on a block on Vulture Street next to a heritage-listed Russian Cathedral.
Last month Planning and Environment Court Judge Michael Rackemann ordered the three traffic engineers representing Brisbane City Council, developers Philip Usher and the Catholic Church, submit a joint report of their traffic concerns after two years of stalled debate.
This third "expert traffic study" was lodged with the court on October 31.
Brisbane City Council planning restrictions prevent Vulture Street being used as the main access to the development.
Brisbane City Council's council's traffic engineer Colin Beard argues the small lane behind the development - Mark Lane - cannot cope with the extra traffic, produced by the 206 units in the two apartment towers.
Robert Holland, the traffic engineer for the Catholic Church community in the area, agrees that Mark Lane is too narrow.
Brian Camilleri, who is employed by Philip Usher, wants Brisbane City Council to approves changes to Mark Lane and to nearby Lahey Lane.
Brisbane City Council wrote to three parties debating the traffic problems to the site on September 7 2012, advising that "Council does not intend to make any physical or operational changes to Mark Lane at the present time."
The third traffic experts report says: "Messrs Beard and Holland consider that Mark Lane in its current configuration is not able to safely and satisfactorily accommodate significant traffic volume increases.
"Mr Holland's reasons in that regard are based on the existing narrow width of Mark Lane which does not provide adequately for two-way traffic movements."
Mr Camilleri argues that traffic calming in Lahey Lane, allowing some vehicle access to Vulture Street and eventual widening of Mark Lane, was appropriate.
However traffic expert Robert Holland writes in the traffic report that an "undesirable and inappropriate" consequence of the traffic calming would be rat-running in nearby streets.
In part the traffic experts report says: "Vehicles approaching the site from the south along Ipswich Road, or from the east along Stanley Street would tend to rat run along Lockerbie or Walmsley Streets in order to avoid the alternative of the Allen Street route (with its associated multiplicity of traffic signals)," it says.
"Use of those streets by persons not resident within them would be inappropriate and undesirable."
The February date for the seven days of hearings will be set when the matter comes back to the Planning and Environment Court on January 11.
The developer wants to put changes to its proposal back to Brisbane City Council as "minor alterations", while the church groups and Kangaroo Point residents associations want these issues publicly debated.