COUNCIL has approved a five-level, upmarket apartment block beside the heritage-listed Grand View Hotel despite it extending well above the allowable height.
The proposal is designed to protect the nearby banyan tree which is considered to be the oldest in Queensland.
But it will see the loss of two koala food trees in an area which is one of the last hold-outs for the beleaguered marsupials.
The 33-unit structure was approved despite an attempt by Cr Murray Elliott to have it rejected because of its height.
Cr Elliott told council that he had no objections to the project other than the fact that it was one level too high.
Council officers recommended it be approved because its design merits were sufficient to override the fact that it was in conflict with Redland City Council planning scheme.
A development approval was originally granted in 2007 for a three-level project for the 4000 sq m site on North and Shore Street East and overlooking G.J. Walter Park.
A report by planning officers on the latest proposal says the site adjoins but is not part of the Toondah Harbour priority development area. Regardless, its height and style was sympathetic to the seven to 10 storey development encouraged within the PDA.
“The design and scale are sympathetic to the heritage-listed Grand View Hotel … and the banyan fig,’’ the report says.
“...The building is designed to contribute to both an attractive streetscape development which is entirely consistent with the character of the area.’’
Cr Peter Mitchell said the two eucalypts which would be lost would be replaced by plantings nearby and a further three trees would be protected.
He said the proponents had addressed all concerns, including putting in underground parking.
“They’ve done a pretty good job,’’ he said.
Cr Elliott said he did not oppose the project per se but its height was a substantial increase on that which was allowed and should be reduced by one level.
Cr Julie Talty said site coverage was 38 per cent in order to protect the banyan tree and the trade-off meant the project went higher.
“It’s a sensible outcome,’’ she said.
Cr Tracey Huges said she would not support the application because the 17.3 metre above-ground height was too much.
She said saving the banyan tree was a major issue for her, although the loss of eucalypts was regrettable.
Cr Paul Golle said it was better that the CBD be the site of more intense apartment-style development, rather than seeing places like Thornlands become riddled with small lot housing.