A $60 million plan to bring high-rise seniors' living to Frenchs Forest will destroy the peace and quiet of the suburb, some residents say. But the developer agues that there is need - and demand - for this type of housing.
The development application for 5 Skyline Place features several blocks, including a 12-storey building. There will be 133 units and of those 12 will be affordable dwellings for seniors with 10 units for disability housing.
The development will also include 232 car parking spaces and 941 square metres of commercial space, which developer Platino Properties says could include allied health, restaurant and co-working spaces. There will also be a pool and central community gardens.
The lot is located next door to an already approved development, also by Platino Properties, for a six-storey, 55-unit seniors living project. Despite opposition from Northern Beaches Council, this earlier development was approved by the Sydney North Planning Panel.
The Statement of Environmental Effects report for the new DA says the proposal will help meet a shortfall in seniors' housing supply in the LGA.
"Frenchs Forest cannot realistically accommodate the expected quantum of additional retirement housing demand without large-scale sites being redeveloped," it states. "The subject site presents a key opportunity for council to assist in delivery of sustainable seniors' living communities for retirement."
It also states that the development will generate 55 to 60 full-time jobs per annum during the next three years in the construction industry and a further 85 to 90 full-time jobs indirectly.
But Council's strategic planning team says the project does not fit in with long-term plans for the Frenchs Forest Town Centre and "will further compromise the existing strategic advantage of the business park and the future capacity of surrounding businesses to respond to economic opportunities".
A number of submissions against the project have already been received, including from Frenchs Forest resident Barry Washington.
"We moved here cause it was a beautiful area and no residential buildings were to be built there, now they have cut down all the trees so there is no longer any screening," he wrote. "Looks like Frenchs Forest no longer has a forest and will just become Dee Why with no beach."
Frenchs Forest resident Alysha Abbott said the development "will completely change the landscape and skyscape of the area".
"The maximum height of a building in this area is three storeys high, yet this development proposal is quadruple that size," she wrote. "Please reject this development proposal and allow Frenchs Forest East to resemble the peace and quiet that once drew people to our suburb."
Davidson resident Robert Keir wrote a submission in support of the project and said it would provide "something that is needed in this community, in particular for older residents who are looking to downsize from larger homes that they have been living in for many years".
Looks like Frenchs Forest no longer has a forest and will just become Dee Why with no beach.Resident Barry Washington
"The development has many advantages for older residents with its proximity to health services and transport, and by its design and intention will create a community which will offer company and support for people as they age. I am so convinced of the merits of the development that my wife and I have purchased a unit there."
Queensland man Brian Bennett has purchased a unit in the development next door, but he is not supportive of this new DA.
"Our objection relates to the height of the proposed 11-12 storey 'towers' which are not in keeping with the stage one development or the character of the surrounding area. We are supportive of a stage two, however, our view is that any further buildings should be a maximum of five storeys."
Submissions close on April 16 and then the DA will be referred to the Sydney North Planning Panel for a decision. Check out the full DA or make a submission here.
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