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Gungahlin Cinema and DHA Office Parking Decisions

The Development Applications (DAs) for both the Gungahlin Cinema complex (DA 201936502) and Defence Housing Australia (DHA) office block (DA 201936603) were both recently approved. In both cases the proponent (ie. the developer) included significantly fewer car parking spaces in their plans for each development than required by the ACT Government’s Parking and Vehicle Access Code (PVAC) as summarised below:

Development Description
(Linked to Notice of Decision)
Development Application NumberParking Spaces ProposedParking Spaces Required by PVAC
Gungahlin Cinema Complex
"two storey building, approximately 117 car parking spaces, ground level commercial space, upper level cinema space"
201936502117416
DHA Office Building
"three-storey commercial building comprising of five retail spaces on ground level, office space on the upper levels, ground and basement level car parking, bicycle facilities, an awning encroachment over Hibberson Street verge and Hinder Street verge, landscaping"
20193660390142

The Notices of Decision for these DAs explain why these decisions were made:

Cinema DA

– The PVAC is inequitable in that it requires 1 space per 4 seats for cinemas in town centres and 1 space per 12 seats in the city centre (equal to 136 spaces).
– The proposal is adjacent to a light rail stop and existing car parking spaces. The peak usage of the cinema will be after hours and at the weekend, when demand for parking from surrounding commercial uses will be reduced.
– The Gungahlin community has been anticipating a cinema on this site for a considerable time. The applicant has made it clear the development may not be viable if additional parking is required.

DHA Building DA

… justifiable given the proximity of the site to public transport networks including a light rail stop directly adjacent to the development

Mark Scarborough (MyGungahlin) and the GCC approached the Minister for Planning and the Planning Directorate as we were concerned these decisions were not consistent with published policy (PVAC), would set a precedent for other developnments, and unfairly impact existing developments that have provided parking.

We received a response from the Minister for Planning and a response from the Dircector-General of Planning – the major points from this second letter are:

  • the PVAC is not a rules-based code. Section 1.4 of the PVAC “provides the flexibility to enable a proposal to be supported when the proponent can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Territory that the objectives can be met by either the provision of a lesser on-site rate or by utilising spare capacity in publicly available on-street or off-street parking”
  • the Directorate’s analysis indicates there are approximately 4,100 parking spaces within the town centre available comprising both public and private spaces. A weekday survey of undertaken in late 2019 indicated was a 65% utilisation of short-stay places and a 57% utilisation of long-stay places.

The GCC has sought more information about this parking survey and hope to faciliate a further update from EPSDD at our October meeting regarding parking and traffic flow in the town centre.

Image of DHA and Cinema development (from DA 201936603)

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