Planning hurdle Hail Mary

VIABLE?: Subdivision work is underway on Ganter Constructions’ residential subdivision at Marys Mount. The company wants to also build a large retail area on the corner of Marys Mount and Crookwell Roads, which it argues the area can sustain.Follow @LouThrower
Nanjing Night Net

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A MOTEL, supermarket and shops may be servicing Marys Mount in years to come if a developer can clear planning hurdles.

But just like the Marketplace redevelopment, Ganter Constructions’ proposal for the corner of Crookwell Rd and Marys Mount is raising sustainability questions.

The company wants to build a motel, tavern, function and sports centre, supermarket, up to 10 specialty stores with shop top housing, professional and doctors’ offices and a post office. The plan also includes a service station, car wash and three fast food outlets, all across a five hectare site.

Ganter is well underway with ‘Mistful Park,’ a 210-lot adjoining subdivision, ranging from 700 to 4000 square metre blocks. The first two stages, comprising 70 lots, will be ready in eight weeks, employee Richard Toparis says.

With “up to 6000” residents spread across “3000 lots” anticipated for the area, Mr Toparis says Marys Mount can sustain the retail venture.

“It won’t create competition with the CBD but complement it,” he told Tuesday night’s council meeting.

“Joe Blow can drop in and grab milk and bread without occupying a parking spot in the CBD.”

The council is not so sure. It questions some projections and while planners and councillors see partial justification for an expanded retail area in the suburb, they want proof.

On Tuesday they called for a citywide social, environmental and economic assessment, including a trade catchment analysis, to support the development. Cr Neil Penning pushed for the study.

“In the area to the north of town there is the possibility of economic and residential growth that will be a benefit to the city and won’t come at a cost to the city,” he said.

“But I think this (study) will cover all bases in a well considered fashion and hopefully we can give everyone direction.”

Cr Penning has strongly questioned whether the Marketplace redevelopment was viable.

But Marys Mount is a different kettle of fish, at least in planning terms. Ganter’s site is zoned B1 – ‘Neighbourhood shops,’ allowing only 1000 square metres of retail space.

The company wants up to 4500 square metres, requiring a change to planning laws. Councillors on Tuesday agreed to lodge an amendment to its 2009 Local Environmental Plan (LEP), provided the economic analysis justified the development. Council will enlist a consultant to complete the report at Ganter Constructions’ expense.

Mr Toparis told the Post his family company didn’t have a problem with the study.

“The key point of this whole development is to have an anchor tenant (3200 square metre supermarket) and an auxiliary tenant (500sqm),” he said.

“It’s important that we don’t create another Bradfordville situation where you have a supermarket and not much else to draw people in.”

The dollar investment is unknown at this stage. Mr Toparis said the company had not signed up tenants and wouldn’t do so until it cleared planning hurdles.

A development application can be lodged only after the state government approves the LEP amendment. The project will include an environmental and noise buffer between the commercial and residential areas.

Ganter has been trying to develop the land for 13 years. The site had to be transferred from the former Mulwaree Shire Council to Goulburn City, the amalgamation followed and then a protracted state government process to rezone it from rural to residential.

The section devoted to ‘neighbourhood shops’ was included in the 2020 strategy several years ago.

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