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A $6 million housing development at the entrance to Orange CBD one step closer to approval

April 3, 2023

The site of the proposed development. Google Street View.

By Peter Holmes

A “challenging” development of townhouses and apartments on a prime slab of former Orange City Council land is a step closer to approval, despite the latest development application (DA) having a “number of technical non-compliances”.

The land, an L-shaped block of approximately 2,000 square metres, sits on the corner of Summer Street and Woodward Street at the western entrance to the city.

OCC sold the land in 2021. The first DA was lodged by the owners in August 2022. Amended plans were submitted in January 2023.

The DA if approved would see a “Residential Flat Building” (RFB) of five units, six “Multi Dwelling Housing” and a subdivision.

The cost of the development is $6,072,770.

A report to councillors on the DA by senior council planner Rishelle Kent is in the papers for Tuesday night’s meeting.

“This project has been challenging,” Kent stated.

“The assessment report has highlighted a number of technical non-compliances for Council consideration particularly with regard to the lack of communal open space, a deficiency of private open space, street presentation to Woodward Street at ground floor, privacy impacts, a minor deficiency of car parking spaces, and a lack of detail regarding landscaping and noise mitigation.”

Ahead of the sale of the land, council produced a slick 16-page document to aid in In its pitch to developers.

“Orange City Council is offering this opportunity as a means to develop this strategic and unique site to enhance the entrance of the city,” it said.

“Given the very strategic nature and importance of this site to the city, this opportunity is ideally suited to a development-ready investor who is prepared to develop within a defined timeframe.

“The monetary return on the site will be a key consideration. So too will be the delivery of a quality development on a prominent gateway site.

The front page of council's EOI brochure.

“The highest dollar value submission may not necessarily be successful. “

Expressions of interest were due by May 21, 2023.

Council estimated that around 8,000 vehicles passed the site, which adjoins Esso Park, daily.

Kent’s report to councillors stated that following the lodgement of the DA, “Council staff requested changes to respond to neighbours’ concerns and for a more appropriate design.

“First and foremost, a sub-grade car park was requested to enable quality activation of the Woodward Street frontage, improve the integration of the development into the site, and respond to height concerns of neighbours.”

She said that in the amended plans “the more significant changes … were not forthcoming”.

However there were some alterations, including a reduction in height of the RFB to two storeys at the Summer Street frontage for a depth of two units; the redesign of the Summer Street frontage; screening of select eastern windows of Unit 3 of the RFB to provide privacy to 3 Summer Street; and provision of open space to the east of Apartment 4.

“Notwithstanding these non-compliances, appropriate measures have been identified and conditioned in the attached Notice of Approval to reduce the overall impacts, and will ensure the proposed development is compatible with the established character of the surrounding neighbourhood,” Kent wrote in her advice to councillors.

“The amended proposal satisfies the applicable Local and State Planning Controls and Guidelines.”

She concluded that “approval of the application is recommended subject to conditions of development consent”.

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