Tuesday 11 March 2008

Jensen Street multi-units decrease liveability

Two proposed double-storey multi-unit development in Jensen Street is another nail in the coffin of liveability in Cairns under the present City Council.

"Jensen Street residents have raised their concerns over a period of time. Cairns City Council and Mayor Kevin Byrne are not listening to theses residents,” says Diane Forsyth of Cairns 1st.
Forsyth said.

Jensen Street in Whitfield is a family neighbourhood, but Cairns City Council are determined to ruin this with inappropriate development, without consultation.

Forsyth says she's not against unit development, but "they must not encroach on residential areas and reduce the quality of life where families have made their homes."

"A case in point is the concerns of Paul Robjent and Sheri-Anne Mills who are upset that Council are railroading a multi-unit complex right next to their home," says Diane Forsyth.

The two double-unit stories proposed for 121 Jensen Street will affect their privacy and that of nearby neighbours. Residents from their balconies can look directly onto Paul and Sheri-Anne’s outdoor living area,” Ms Forsyth said.

“As they pointed out to me this is against the Council’s own regulations to ensure multi-unit development does not impact on the livability of nearby homes. Their environmentally-friendly home has been designed to take into account natural airflow so they wouldn’t need to install air-conditioning," says Forsyth.

“The monolithic unit block towering over their home will impact on this purpose.”

Jensen Street residents are concerned about increased traffic, associated noise and exhaust fumes. The height of the unit block was also not in keeping with the streetscape and would impact on local housing prices.

“Mayor Byrne and his supporters on the Council need to go back to the drawing board and offer the developer an opportunity to build the units in a more appropriate area in the city,” she says.

It is believed that Deputy Mayor Terry James is involved with this project and there is concern for a possible conflict of interest, in voting for the approval.


  • PROPOSAL: Material Change of Use for Multi-Unit Housing Development
    APPLICANT: Mr. D. Bateman
    APPLICATION No.: 8 / 8 / 932-01
    ADDRESS OF DEVELOPMENT: 121 Jensen Street, Whitfield.

    Objection submitted by: Paul Robjent and Sheri-Anne Mills


    1. The two double storey units at the back of the proposed development will compromise our and other neighbours’ privacy in our backyards. We (are currently building) will be affected especially by Unit 3 residents’ use of their upstairs balcony which will look directly onto our outdoor living area. This is in direct contravention of the Cairns City Council requirements of multi- unit development (P6) as it states that “Multi-unit housing…..does not adversely affect the privacy or liveability of adjoining development.” We cannot see how this could be avoided by the use of any screens as there will be or are houses in all directions. Screening therefore would be of little use as if residents could look out of upstairs windows or from balconies, they would obviously be able to see into neighbours’ properties.

    2. The double storey development will impede airflow. In the past 18 months local building designer Tony Lawson has designed for us an environmentally sensitive house which relies on the use of natural airflow for cooling. We will not be installing air conditioners. The proposed development will impact upon the effectiveness of our house design the like of which is being promoted by all levels of government as ideal for environmental sustainability.

    3. The driveway in the proposed development would have a detrimental impact on the liveability of our house under construction at 119 Jensen Street. The noise and exhaust from multiple vehicles would affect our enjoyment of our outside living area which is about 4 metres from the boundary next to the proposed driveway. As our house is raised (about 0.9 m at this point) above the ground in keeping with ideal tropical design we would expect to be affected directly by this aspect of the proposed development.

    4. The height is not in keeping with neighbouring dwellings. There is one double storey house across the street, although it is not close to neighbouring boundaries.
    There are no double storey unit complexes in the immediate vicinity. It is therefore not in keeping with the amenity of the area as stated as required in the Performance Criteria – Built Form (page 6 of development proposal application).

    5. When the surrounding area was originally subdivided, specific land was designated for Multi-Unit development. This includes the area at the end of Mazlin Close and the Springfield Crescent and Grantala Street multi unit complexes. We chose our property because of the lifestyle that living in this suburb brings- this does not include living in close proximity to 5 households of people next door.

    6. There are no Multi-Unit complexes in the immediate vicinity. Multi-Unit complexes bring with them increased traffic and often noise. The proposed development allows only one car parking space per unit and 4 visitor spaces. It is unrealistic to expect that each household would have only one car (while this satisfies the minimum number required). The remainder of the cars would end up on the street. This will add to the problems experienced at the ‘T’ intersection of Jensen Street and Richardson Street where traffic calming measures have recently been installed.

    7. A Multi-Unit complex makes the neighbouring properties less attractive to potential buyers when wanting to sell, so reduces the value of our property. It is grossly unfair for one property owner to maximise the value of their land at the cost of decreasing the value of the surrounding properties.

    8. There is no refuse storage indicated on the plan for the proposed development. A Multi-Unit complex must have a covered washable area connected to a sewer. It is not clear where this would be and whether the smell of decaying garbage and associated flies from 5 households would impact us.

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