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Star’s Sydney tower in limbo

Fri, Aug 2, 7:44am by Staff Writer

The Star Casino was warned a year ago there were problem with the height of its proposed $530 million Ritz-Carlton hotel, which sparked a political row when it was knocked back.

The Australian reports that it obtain documents that undermine claims yesterday from The Star that it wasn’t warned the height of the tower – 237 metres – was a problem in terms of government approval.

In May last year, records show representatives of The Star met Department of Planning and Environment officials, including Ben Lusher, the director of key sites assessments, when they were told there were issues with height and the overshadowing of other buildings.

The Star chief executive Matt Bekier has complained bitterly over the knock-back of the tower, which the casino saw as helping it compete with the Crown Barangaroo development.

Planning Department meeting notes state that on May 22, 2018, at a meeting in government offices: “The department met with the applicant to discuss its letter dated 11 May, 2018 in which it confirmed insufficient justification has been provided demonstrating the proposal has limited environmental consequences.”

“The department confirmed the principal issue requiring further justification relates to the visual impact of the tower and its isolation within its current context.

“The department and proponent discussed the inadequacies of the EA in terms of demonstrating the limited environment consequences of the proposal in terms of the: visual impacts of the tower in light of the current urban setting; visual impact of the tower on the setting of the surrounding heritage items; overshadowing impact of the tower on surrounding residential properties that receive between 0 and 2 hours solar access.”

The May 11 correspondence from Mr Lusher to the casino said: “In order to proceed, you will need to review and revise your EA to provide additional consideration and justification of environmental consequences…to reasonably demonstrate the impacts are limited and the proposal can be assessed and determined.

A spokesman for The Star said: “We maintain at no point did the department suggest the 237 metre height should be reduced or would result in a negative recommendation.”

Car parking issues at Crown Sydney

Crown’s $2 billion casino tower at Barangaroo would have nearly four times the amount of car parking as similar developments, according to objections raised by the City of Sydney over revised plans for the site.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month that the city’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has recently been critical of Crown’s plans to increase the number of apartments and parking spaces at the 71-storey casino and residential complex being built on the harbour foreshore.

The council elaborated on its opposition to the changes to the project in its submission to the plans.

The desired changes would see the tower’s overall size stay the same, but the footprint of some of the residences reduced to fit 21 extra apartments, raising the number of units to 87.

The number of parking spaces would also grow by 31 to a total of 641 parking spaces – an amount the City of Sydney says is “excessive and counter to sound urban planning and concept plan principles.”

Under the revised plans, there would be 37 fewer visitor spaces, but an additional 21 valet spaces and 47 residential spaces.

An extra 19 bicycle parking spaces would be provided.

“The overall parking rates proposed in the development are noted to be almost four times higher than similar sites in surrounding areas subject to provisions set out by the Sydney local environment plan,” the council said in its submission.

“Encouraging excessive car use into the area will have the potential to lead to increased conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles and reduce the amenity for people using the precinct.”

The council said the boost in parking spaces was also at odds with the “significant investment” in public transport in the area, which is close to train and ferry stop sand the future Metro station.

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