Building heights are a matter for local communities

The Editor
The Mercury

Former Planning Minister Peter Gutwein endlessly claimed that building heights were a matter for local communities to determine, including an emphatic statement in parliament on 19 September 2017. But, contrarily, he never ruled out using proposed Major Projects Legislation to take Fragrance like skyscrapers away from councils and the normal planning process and be approved by an unelected panel.

Now new Planning Minister Roger Jaensch is intervening in Hobart City Council's business my claiming that proposed maximum building heights for the CBD are too low and bases his concern on unsubstantiated links to affordable housing. The state government can't have it both ways. They either leave local communities to decide appropriate building heights or they don't.

Those attending the Minister's summit need to ask him why the government still has the Major Projects Bill ready to table in Parliament, which could fast track over sized buildings? The Minister may claim, as Mr Gutwein did, that Clause 60K(1() was inserted in the Bill to rule this out, but this is wrong. A Fragrance like building could be fast tracked through the amended legislation if they were not 'predominately' for use as a hotel. So it might be 49% hotel and 51% offices, retail space,University facilities and car parks.

Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust