Designs of the Yamba St house which will exceed current height limits by almost three metres.
Designs of the Yamba St house which will exceed current height limits by almost three metres.

RULEBREAKER: Council approves giant home in Yamba

ANOTHER warning has been sounded on height limits in Yamba as councillors approved a building which exceeded them by nearly three metres.

In an effort to have a proposed development application rejected, Peter Ellem warned parts of Yamba could change if Clarence Valley Council continued to allow variations to height limits

“If Council continues not to hold the line on height limits it will lead to more and more of this and the whole complexion of that part of Yamba will change over time,” he said.

The building, which will stand 11.83 metres at its highest point, is to be built at 49 Yamba road and required council to allow a variation to the Local Environment Plan due to it exceeding the limits by 2.83m.

The development will also include a 3.5m gatehouse and 1.8m high blockwork fence, which is more than half a metre higher than what is allowed under the Development Control Plan.

Council staff noted in their report the height contravention did “not significantly increase the bulk and scale” of the building nor impact on adjoining houses, compared to if it had complied with the height limits.

Central to the debate was the fact the lot has a significant slope, so that the second story at the front of the house at Yamba Rd did not exceed the height limit as much as the back, which would be three storeys.

Councillor Peter Ellem at the Grafton Council Chambers.
Councillor Peter Ellem at the Grafton Council Chambers.

Cr Andrew Baker said the design was simply dealing with what he described as a “severely sloping site” and he took a lack of objections to the proposal of evidence there were no issues for the neighbours.

“The design has been put to council to work within the constraints to be compatible with not only the block but the surrounding development.”

However, that was rebutted by Mr Ellem who said despite the good design, allowing the development could set a precedent which could lead to conflicts with neighbours in future, despite there being none now.

“It’s just the fact that it exceeds the height limit by nearly three metres that will be among the precedent setting (buildings) in that part of Yamba,” Mr Ellem said.

“An architect could have come up with a design that could didn’t exceed the height limits so dramatically.”

It is not the first time Mr Ellem has warned fellow councillors about setting height limit precedents in the seaside village, and as recently as March he said they would be doing so in Pilot St when they accepted a height variation for the Pacific Hotel redevelopment.

READ MORE: Councillor warns development approval sets precedent

Back then he noted there was a history of council rejecting such applications.

But Mr Baker rejected the assertion that they would be setting a precedent with the Yamba Rd development as councillors had afforded themselves the right to vary the DCP when it was created.

“So we have adopted the DCP which allows us to vary things, we shouldn't then say ‘oh we can’t vary things’ – we can,” he said.

“There is no precedent, occasionally we vary the height limit, we vary all sorts of things because … we should be trying to encourage good, imaginative designs.”

“I would hate to think that any council would become so narrow-minded, that nothing except blandness is acceptable – and that’s what we would do if we kill off the imaginative use of land, especially constrained land.”

The motion to accept the DA and its variations was passed with Arthur Lysaught, Richie Williamson, Andrew Baker, Karen Toms and Jim Simmons voting for it and Peter Ellem, Greg Clancy and Debrah Novak against.