ENSHRINING in the new council planning scheme the Sheraton Noosa's right to stand above the normal height restriction would open a dangerous door to developers according to a former Noosa Council senior planner.
Paul Summers, who is best known for helping implement Noosa's "population cap" development restrictions, is alarmed that the Noosa Heads building height maps in the Sunshine Coast Council's draft planning scheme has a special 20m designation for the Sheraton.
"The council's proposal is just dangerous," Mr Summers said.
"I am very concerned about the proposal to acknowledge a building height of more than four storeys on the Sheraton site or any other site in the former Noosa Shire.
"Equally bad is the fact that arguments can be raised for sites around the Sheraton for increases in building height, because the scheme then condones a height of seven storeys on the Sheraton"
Mr Summers said the Sheraton already has the lawful right to remodel at its existing height.
"But this opens the door to other things and the worst thing is once you open that door, if I've got the site next door to Sheraton, I'm going to be able to mount an argument for a higher building.
"If the Sheraton's existing height is enshrined within the planning scheme, should an inappropriate redevelopment proposal be lodged, the council's and community's ability to raise building height as an issue is lost."
"Not only that, but a key negotiating tool to gain improvements to the design is also lost."
He said that other buildings in Noosa that exceed four storeys are not proposed to be afforded the same height protection.
"They can point to this in the scheme and say this height is acceptable," he said.
Division 11 councillor Russell Green said he asked for that specific reference be put in draft planning to help ensure the best outcomes for that particular site only.
And he believed the language and the caveats were strong enough to prevent anyone else from trying to take advantage of the plan. Cr Green said Noosa's draft plan public forums have a slide that highlights the Sheraton designation.
"But if it comes back that there is absolutely no community support for it - well it will be changed," Cr Green said.
"I take on board the concerns that Paul has raised and have had a conversation with him. My support is still 100% supportive across all height restrictions that exist in Noosa and if this (proposal) weakens it, then
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