Development Vs Infrastructure

A community meeting held at Pine Hills Sports Club on Monday 23 October, attracted 83 residents keen to discuss proposed townhouse developments along Plucks Road Arana Hills.

A recent notification by the developer Mirvac Qld P/L to build 77 townhouses at 80 Plucks Road, Arana Hills has raised deep concerns within the surrounding community. According to the developer’s plan, access to the townhouses would be via Leatherwood Drive and Plucks Road and would be built in five stages across the 2.2hectare site. There would be provision for 144 resident car parks and 50 visitor car parks.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Division 10 Councillor Matt Constance addressed the meeting to explain the process of assessing Development Applications and the means to object via written submissions.

The process of land development applications takes five stages:-

1. Preparation

2. Lodgement

3. Referrals

4. Public notification

5. Assessment

During the Preparation Period pre-lodgement meetings allow the developer to raise issues with Council officers and ask questions of the Town Planner. These meetings are open to the public.

The Public Notice Period commences when the developer erects a prominent sign on the land to inform the general public of the intended development. The developer’s sign supplies the correct address for submissions, the date for submissions to be lodged and a brief description of the proposed development.

The Assessment process begins when the Public Notification period ends. Consideration is given to the current South East Queensland Regional Plan which is prepared by the State Government and binding on all local SE government councils.

Cr Matt Constance encouraged community involvement in the Plucks Road project.

‘The Assessor will consider all properly submitted submissions,’ explained Cr Constance. ‘The Assessor can issue requests for further information or consideration to the Developer. The Application can be approved in part or as a whole project. Changes can be made. Reductions in yield whereby the number of townhouses are reduced, can also occur.’

Residents at the meeting raised numerous objections to the proposed townhouse development. The issue accorded the most importance was road safety and the inability of surrounding streets Leatherwood Drive, Tetragona Drive and Plucks Road to cope with such a large influx of traffic. Blind corners, welfare of local children and street access were all raised.

Further objections included the impact on the environment, the loss of native fauna and vegetation and the density of the proposed development.

Leatherwood Drive resident Terry Nichol shared his concerns.

‘We live in a safe neighbourhood for children who are free to interact with each other and play in the streets,’ said Mr Nichol. ‘This development will ruin our local streets forever, putting pedestrians and children at risk. The local T-junction with Plucks is very dangerous with a blind corner on a bend, without adding 250 more cars. Public transport is a joke in the Hills District, so we’ll see more congestion and more rat running. In just one week, our community mobilised from 9 people to over 90 in opposition to this plan.’

Continued development of large tracts of Everton Hills and Arana Hills will impact across the community within The Hills District. While development is proceeding at great pace, the required infrastructure is slow to catch up. Until new infrastructure is in place, all residents will feel any inconvenience. During morning peak hour, traffic on Dawson Parade is already at a standstill. Traffic turning from Gordon Parade into Ferny Way banks back for an unacceptable distance. The car park at Ferny Grove railway station is filled to capacity on each working day and the trains are already crowded. Shopping facilities will be expanded when the new rail hub is completed but professional facilities such as medical and dental, are constantly in great demand. A further influx of residents will further stretch existing services.

Infrastructure could form an important part of the assessment process.

‘As part of the development proposal the applicant is required to demonstrate how the proposal may impact on existing infrastructure, Cr Constance explained. ‘During the assessment process, council will then consider if the applicant is required to make any upgrades to existing infrastructure. Council will give weight to considerations like proximity to bus stops and public transport, nearby shops and other amenities when assessing the application.’

Cr Constance said he also continues to support Translink exploring more opportunities for public transport in the local area.

The residents have formed a committee to organise a campaign against the Plucks Road Development Application. ‘Save Our Streets’ can be contacted on email sosthehills@gmail.com

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