The Curtin Residents Association has welcomed the final master plan for Curtin shops, saying it had considered the opinions of many people with a wide range of interests.
On Wednesday, the ACT planning directorate released the Curtin master plan which restricts building heights to one storey around the central courtyard but allowing up to five storeys elsewhere.
The height of buildings has been an ongoing issue for the town with the owners of the Curtin shops fencing the building off earlier this year after their high rise development proposal was knocked back. The original development by the Haridemos family had proposed a six-storey building.
Hundreds of people had signed a petition in protest of the redevelopment, saying it was not compatible with the rules of the Curtin Group Square draft master plan and would overshadow the town square.
In April, the draft of the master plan was heralded as a win for both parties as it significantly scaled back the height of the buildings allowed. Under the draft, building heights will be restricted to one storey around the shops' central courtyard. A two storey limit would apply around the core retail area with an allowance for building heights of 18 metres or five storeys if planning principles - such as village character - are met.
The final master plan keeps with the draft in restricting building heights around the shops' central courtyard to single storeys. The core area predominantly allows for a maximum of two storeys with heights of nine-metres.
Building on the surrounding blocks off Strangways and Theodore Streets can reach heights of 21 metres - the Statesmen Hotel on Theodore Street has been cleared for higher development.
Minister for planning and land management Mick Gentleman said the community had played an important role in the development of the master plan, focusing on how development could be introduced over time while maintaining the centre's village character.
"Key recommendations include protecting the value of the central courtyard as a focal point for community activity and balancing new opportunities for development that maintains the centre’s village character.
"Throughout the planning process, the central courtyard was recognised as an important and focal point of community life, and this master plan has responded by limited building heights to a single storey around the eastern, western and northern edges of the courtyard to keep sunlight in this space."
President of the Curtin Residents Association Chris Johnson said the masterplan was a result of a long process with contributions of hundreds of people in Curtin.
"The plan clearly describes the importance of community character in Curtin's urban village, which we all want to keep that character," Mr Johnson said.
"The final plan has planning principles and strategies that will improve the character of Curtin."
He said the suggested height limit of one storey on the eastern, northern and western sides of Curtin Square was important to keep the sunshine available for most of the year.
"But, unfortunately, the building on the south-west corner may still be able to reach five storeys and throw shadows into the square in spring and autumn afternoons, important times when school children and parents most enjoy the sun," he said.
Mr Gentleman said the master plan would inform changes to the Curtin Precinct Map and Code and the Territory Plan.
- The final Curtin Group Centre Master Plan can be viewed at www.planning.act.gov.au