Zone changes signal start of Town Centre upgrade

Shortly after endorsing the recommendations of the Kiama Town Centre Study (KTCS) at its September meeting, Kiama councillors unanimously supported planning proposals to begin the process of rezoning land it owns to assist implementing the strategy.

The KTCS includes 47 recommended actions, as well as recommendations for amending the Development Control Plan (DCP) and Local Environment Plan (LEP).

Endorsement of the KTCS means it is now a guiding document for future strategic planning and plan making functions for the Kiama CBD, which stretches from Surf Beach up to the Havilah Place near the Leisure Centre.

“At last we have a template to build a workable and attractive town centre rather than one built on ad hoc decisions,” says Mayor Mark Honey.

“Within the near future, people will be able to see parts of this plan put into action, but Council can’t do it all on its own.

“By working together with property owners and the general community, we can achieve a much better place for us all to live, while retaining our character.”

Council’s implementation plan includes work that has already been included in the 2019-20 Budget, namely:

  • heritage initiatives, such as reviewing the existing heritage items listed in the LEP and considering more for inclusion, and establishing a Heritage Conservation Area in the Civic Quarter.
    (Following an appeal by the President of the Kiama & District Historical Society, Sue Eggins, councillors stipulated that suggested possible changes to the zoning on Eddy St not be considered until the heritage review is finalised.)
  • a traffic and parking study for the town centre to look at how to implement recommendations such as pedestrian priority zones, the partial closure of a street over summer, traffic flow measures and parking improvements
  • an audit of the existing public signage in the town centre, as an essential step before the implementation of a ‘way finding’ signage strategy. The audit will assist in achieving the KTCS’s goals of making the CBD easier to navigate on foot and by vehicle.
  • commence a partial review of the DCP to incorporate design elements of the KTCS, such as active frontages, facades, bulk and scale, lighting and preferences for prominent corner sites.

One of the two options hypothesised for redeveloping the Council Administration site, including a five storey building at the back

Council also showed its desire to move ahead with the recommendations by starting the process to rezone two of its properties – the Administration site in Manning Street and the retirement village component of the Blue Haven site.

The need to expand the Administration Centre had led to thoughts of moving it to a less prime position, but the KTCS strongly advised retaining the administrative functions of Council on its current site, for economic and social reasons.

The planning proposal is to change its zoning from Special Purpose to B2 Local Centre, to allow the inclusion of commercial offices and shops along with the new administration offices. A five storey building height and a higher floor space ratio are also being sought.

As a suggestion on the outcome that could be achieved, the KTCS includes two possible options, one with a laneway design (shown on page 3) and another with a town square focus.

The Havilah Place planning proposal is to allow for a seven storey residential building on the northern side of the site.

The KTCS conceptualises that the residential tower could be accompanied by two storey terraces facing Havilah Place (the Leisure Centre).

At the Public Access meeting, local businesswoman and resident Ingrid Keller spoke in favour of the KTCS, and encouraged councillors to not let it gather dust, like the Charette developed 17 years ago.

“The Kiama Town Centre Study gives a strategic and coordinated plan but many of its ideas are totally predicated on attracting private investment rather than the provision of any Council funding,” she said.

“For real outcomes to be achieved the Council has a very important role to play in facilitating this process without sacrificing the appropriate safeguards that the community expects from them.”

Details: The full Town Centre Study is available at www.kiama.nsw.gov.au

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