City of Stirling planning officers recommended a revised vision for the project – with enough parking bays to meet minimum requirements – still be knocked back because there were not enough carparks for restaurant patrons and planning laws required a large tree be planted.
Two councillors who sit on the JDAP voted on Wednesday to knock back the development for a second time but the other three members of the panel – made up of independent planning experts – banded together to call for a deferral for 90 days.
JDAP member John Syme said he was not convinced the development should be refused but also wanted the developer to provide more information around traffic safety, parking and overshadowing on a neighbouring house to the cafe.
The recommendation from the panel will go back to the SAT, which will decide whether the deferral is an appropriate way to resolve the situation.
Momentum Wealth founder Damian Collins, who is also Real Estate Institute of WA president, said he felt as though the panel decision had brought them another step to a final outcome.
“We’re now down to just basic traffic management and safety access for pedestrians,” he said.
“In context, it’s a four-storey building in an area that is surrounded by large mansions, the JDAP panel have seen that and now it’s just down to the small detail that we hope to get resolved in the next 60 or so days.
“The City of Stirling needs to play their part as well and help the traffic management process otherwise we end up without a cafe.”
Momentum Wealth had warned the council a refusal of the project could mean the developer could scrap a restaurant and instead put in office space on the bottom floor of the project.
But Mr Collins said after the JDAP decision, he felt the redeveloped cafe level would still go ahead.
Community concerns on traffic and building scale remain
Members of the Trigg community spoke early in the meeting against the project, with criticism of the height, construction materials, parking arrangements and the potential for traffic problems in the area to be exacerbated.
Much of the discussion in the JDAP revolved around whether traffic issues in the area were caused by the popularity of Yelo and if the problems would persist regardless of how many parking bays the proposed development offered.
Community group Too Big for Trigg, set up in opposition to the new building, had several speakers including Behnam Bordbar, who said the area around the cafe had about 1300 vehicles pass through each day.
“That’s significantly more than any other local street in the immediate locality,” he said.
“The current environment is that parking demand is significantly higher than average and car patronage is significantly higher than average for a cafe of this nature.
“There may be opportunities to create additional parking along West Coast Drive, there may be opportunities to extend some of the off-street public parking which are available.”
Roy Burton lives right next door to the cafe and told the media that while parking was brought up as a major issue, there were others.
“There are many other issues; the plot ratio, overshadowing,” he said.
Nearly half of Mr Burton’s property would be overshadowed in the middle of the day, which is well over the 19.5 per cent maximum permitted.
Trigg resident Wayne Blakeney has lived near the cafe site for 19 years and told the JDAP replacing the existing cafe with a restaurant that could potentially operate after 5pm would impact the amenity of residents.
Mr Blakeney said community members put up with clogged suburban streets for much of the week but could at least relax with empty roads in the afternoon.
“We’re not opposed to development. Like the rest of the Trigg community we’re keen to see Yelo stay,” he said.
Mr Blakeney said a more low-key mixed development might be appropriate for the site.
The latest revision of the development had 30 community letters of support and 95 in objection.
Speakers associated with the developer said the number of objections were less than the first design, which attracted about 300 negative letters, and suggested only 10 per cent of customers at the existing cafe required a car bay.
The developer’s comments around the current parking situation attracted groans and jeers from a crowd of Trigg residents who thought their conclusions were outlandish.
The SAT will provide further directions on the next step for the development on December 23.
Yelo cafe was due to vacate the premises in January but could remain on a month-to-month basis while the planning matter is still being resolved.
Peter de Kruijff is a journalist with WAtoday.