THE town planner representing developers of a controversial Mooloolaba apartment block says there has been no breach of the Sustainable Planning Act because the building remains unoccupied.
Andrew Stevens, the managing director of planner Project Urban and Urban Development Institute of Australia's Sunshine Coast branch president, said the lodging of a permissible change application to address the building's non-compliance with its development approval was the correct mechanism under the Act.
Sunshine Coast Council has engaged an independent third party expert to review every aspect of the 57-unit development on the corner of Meta Street and the Esplanade.
Planning portfolio head Councillor Christian Dickson said setbacks, heights, architectural design and visual amenity would all be reviewed.
He said council officers were now assessing a change of use application including additional information from the developer to justify why the building was executed in a different manner to which it was approved.
Councillors would then consider an appropriate course of action.
Nicklin MP Peter Wellington has asked Queensland Planning Minister Jackie Trad to call in the project with the Deputy Premier seeking further advice from her department.
The Environmental Defenders Office principal lawyer Jo Bragg said the council should "not allow itself to be pressured into approving the changes that are contrary to the development approval".
"It is outrageous that a developer constructs a development then seeks retrospective approval for parts of the development."
In response to questions Mr Stevens said permissible changes were typically submitted in response to either market feedback or design issues identified during the detail design or construction phase of a project.
"Unfortunately some of these changes result during construction,'' he said. "My assessment of the changes to the building appearance are that the original design intent is maintained."
Mr Stevens dismissed concerns expressed by planning experts and community groups that retrospective approval would set a precedent.
"The proposed changes are not in conflict with the provisions of the planning scheme. Council has already set a precedent on approving balcony sizes of less than 12sq m on numerous occasions," he said.
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