Canberra's planning authority was right to deny fast food chain KFC the approval to build a new restaurant in Belconnen, a judge has ruled.
In a decision published Friday, Associate Justice Verity McWilliam said on the chain's proposed plans there was no other conclusion available to the ACT Planning and Land Authority.
The ACT Supreme Court heard that the authority must not approve developments inconsistent with the territory plan. The KFC application was inconsistent because, once it had been found to have been making dual use of the site as both restaurant and takeaway food shop, its gross floor area of roughly 300 square metres exceeded the cap of 250 square metres for shops in commercial zones.
The restaurant chain's development application had faced strong objection from the surrounding community - which already has access to two KFC outlets - about the plan to build another on Emu Bank Road, adjacent a children's playground and near a school.
The planning authority refused the application in August 2017 but the restaurant appealed the decision and had it overturned in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
In June 2018, the authority took the unusual step of appealing the decision, with chief planner Ben Ponton saying at the time it felt very strongly about the plan.
Associate Justice McWilliam allowed the appeal.
"If successful, the Authority sought remittal of the proceedings. There may be little point as the proposed development as it stands cannot overcome [the floor area rule] and according the development application must be refused," she said.
The associate judge also said the company now had the benefit of an amended Crown Lease, varied to allow the use of the site as a takeaway food shop, that may pave the way for a further development application with a building that complies with the floor area rule.
"That is a matter for the Company to pursue."