Item 8.2 - Attachment 1

Detailed Report : Spot rezoning proposal for former Sydney Water Site – James Ruse Drive, Camellia


Detailed Report: Spot rezoning proposal for former Sydney Water Site – James Ruse Drive, Camellia




In November 2008, a rezoning request was made to Council on behalf of the owners of 181 James Ruse Drive, Camellia. The rezoning request seeks to:


        permit on the site bulky goods retailing (big box retailing) and other speciality retailing

        Extend the range of uses permitted in the proposed B5 Business Development zone

        Increase the proposed FSR for the site from 1.5:1 to 2.5:1

        Increase the heights levels from the proposed 12 metres to 21 metres.


Council at its meeting on the 15 December resolved:


        that in relation to the land on the eastern side of James Ruse Drive presently shown as B5, that a report be brought forward commenting on the submission which has been received by Council resulting out of the internal discussions which have been held between council staff, the Department of Planning and the applicant.


Council is preparing a comprehensive Draft Parramatta LEP to amalgamate existing planning instruments Parramatta LEP 2001 and SREP No.28. Initially, the applicant had requested a “spot rezoning” to amend the existing planning instrument that applies to the site (SREP No.28). Recent discussions with the applicant have confirmed that the rezoning request should be considered as part of draft LEP process.


The site


The site is shown at Appendix A.


The site is bound by James Ruse Drive to the west, Tasman Street to the south, the Carlingford railway line to the east and the Parramatta River to the north. The site is approximately 69,000sq.m. The site was formerly occupied by the James Hardie factory and is currently vacant having recently been sold by Sydney Water. It is surrounded mostly by industrial development with Rosehill racecourse further south.


Proposed zoning of the site


Under draft Parramatta LEP it is recommended that Council zone the site B5 Business Development. The range of land uses proposed to be permitted in this zone is outlined below (and prohibits all other uses that do not appear below):


Item 8.2 - Attachment 1

Detailed Report : Spot rezoning proposal for former Sydney Water Site – James Ruse Drive, Camellia


     Advertising structures;

     Backpackers’ accommodation;

     Building identification signs;

     Bulky goods premises;

     Business identification signs;

     Business premises (other than restricted premises);

     Car parks;

     Child care centres;

     Community facilities;


     Emergency services facility;

     Environmental protection works;

     Flood mitigation works;


     Hotel or motel accommodation;


     Landscape and garden supplies;

     Medical centres;

     Neighbourhood shops;

     Office premises;

     Passenger transport facilities;

     Places of public worship;


     Recreation areas;

     Registered clubs;


     Service stations;

     Take-away food and drink premises;

     Timber and building supplies;

     Vehicle sales or hire premises;

     Veterinary hospital;

     Warehouse or distribution centres;

     Water recycling facilities;

     Wholesale supplies.


The objectives of the B5 Business Development zone are:


        To enable a mix of business and warehouse uses, and specialised retail uses that require a large floor area, in locations that are close to, and that support the viability of centres.

        To ensure that development is arranged and carried out in a way that does not detract from the function of major commercial centres.

        To maintain the economic strength of centres by limiting retailing activity.

        To enable land uses that provides facilities or services to meet the day to day needs of workers in the area.

        Where development is near Parramatta River, to improve public access along the foreshore of the river.


Relevant considerations for the B5 Business Development zone for this site are:


        The zone allows land uses that are more suited to an out of centre location due to their size and land area, and that support but protect the development and viability of the Parramatta CBD as a strategic centre of Regional significance.

        The site is well linked to the Parramatta Centre and the region in general by a major road network. This area is accessible to motorways, arterial roads and has the potential to draw from a wider catchment which may have positive flow on effects for the Parramatta CBD.

        The existing zoning under SREP 28 has not delivered planning outcomes for the utilisation of the site.

        Encourage job generating uses adjacent to Parramatta CBD as a strategic centre, consistent with the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy and the West Sub-Regional Plan.



Rezoning request proposal


Primary land uses proposed


The applicant’s rezoning request includes a range of land uses for “big box” retailing with ancillary retail and services. The development concept is for three major retail tenancies; Bunnings, Officeworks and a new retail chain known as Costco, with an additional 2 storeys of floorspace above the Costco development. These uses all require large floor areas because of the range and size of the products that are sold. Other proposed uses include a service station and a number of small to medium retail/commercial activities. A basement car park is proposed with approximately 704 spaces.


Proposals for a greater range of uses in the B5 Business Development zone


The applicant is looking for more retail facilities to be permitted on the site. They have proposed other land uses that should apply to the B5 Business Development zone including:


        Car wash (unrelated to service stations)

        Educational establishments

        Entertainment facilities

        Function centre

        Food and Drink premises

        Highway service centres.

        Recreational facilities (indoor)


        Vehicle repair station

        Retail premises


Changes to proposed height and FSR controls


The applicant is examining development options whereby some parts of the site could include 2 or 3 storey buildings with a height of up to 21 metres and to have more flexibility in FSR for which they propose a FSR increase from 1.5:1 (as proposed in the draft LEP 2008 to 2.5:1).


Site layout and preliminary designs


Appendix B shows a preliminary option for the site layout which represents what any future development may look like.  Several alternate options have also been presented to Council which include a variety of layouts and two upper levels on the site. The applicant has not indicated which of these is the preferred option. However at this point the primary intention to determine the range of permissible uses within the site. Any future layout and design of the site would ultimately be assessed at development application stage. In response to a preliminary traffic assessment prepared by the applicant, some traffic comments by Council’s Manager of Traffic Services have been offered. This is to give some insight into what issues will need to be important considerations in a subsequent development application.


Commentary on the rezoning proposal


Primary land uses proposed


The B5 Business Development zone proposed in the draft LEP would permit most of the proposed land uses; i.e.- service stations, pubs, warehouses and bulky goods premises. The B5 zone, however, does not permit a Costco outlet nor retail premises; i.e. - a supermarket. A Costco development does not constitute “Bulky goods retailing” as defined in the draft LEP.


The applicant indicates the proposed Costco store has many parallels with conventional bulky goods retailing in that it sells goods that are predominantly large and require large floor space to accommodate their products. Costco focuses on selling products at low prices, often at high volume. These goods are usually bulk-packaged and marketed primarily to large families and businesses. Customers are required to pay a membership to fee to shop which is similar to other bulky goods providers.


Definitions contained within all planning instruments, including the Parramatta comprehensive draft LEP are standardised. The standard definition of bulky goods premises in the LEP template is as follows:


bulky goods premises means a building or place used primarily for the sale by retail, wholesale or auction of (or for the hire or display of) bulky goods, being goods that are of such size or weight as to require:

(a)     a large area for handling, display or storage, or

(b)     direct vehicular access to the site of the building or place by members of the public for the purpose of loading or unloading such goods into or from their vehicles after purchase or hire,


but does not include a building or place used for the sale of foodstuffs or clothing unless their sale is ancillary to the sale or hire or display of bulky goods.


The sale of foodstuffs or clothing is not permitted unless their sale is ancillary to the sale or hire or display of bulky goods.


As Costco sell a large range of different products and services in high volume it does relate to typical bulky good retailing. Bulky goods retailing is best suited to large sites in out of centre locations. While Costco does not acutely fit a “bulky goods” definition because it also sells some food and clothing, it operates in a similar manner to other bulky goods retailers. Therefore, it is recommended that should Council wish to support a Costco type development on the site, this could be added as a site specific additional land use under Schedule 1 of draft LEP.


Proposals for a greater range of uses in the B5 Business Development zone


The rezoning request has evolved from the applicant’s original submission to include a range of retail activity permissible over the site. The initial request was for “big box” bulky good retailing with some limited speciality retailing. The applicant is also seeking other retail activities which would normally be found in centres; i.e. – entertainment facilities, restaurants and retail premises such as a supermarket.


The mandatory objective of the B5 Business Development zone is to provide a mix of business, warehouse and specialised retail uses that require large floor areas that support the viability of centres. A further proposed objective inserted by Council into the zone is to maintain the economic strength of centres by limiting retail activity.


The proposed B5 Business Development zone allows a wide range of mix of business and warehouse uses and specialised retail uses that require a large floor area that do not directly compete with retail centres. If retail centres were permitted it could effect on the viability of existing retail centres. The proposal could create another retail centre in a location that does not have sufficient public transport services with access to the site dependant on car travel.


It is recommended that Council not support the additional uses in the B5 Business Development zone as submitted by the applicant. It should be noted that the applicant can make a submission when the draft LEP is exhibited.


Changes to proposed height and FSR controls


Due to the variety of development opportunities being sought, the applicant is looking for greater height and FSR controls has been proposed in the draft LEP.


The proposed height control for the site under the draft LEP  is 12 metres. The applicant is proposing an additional 2 storeys on the proposed Costco development and a height of 21 metres. The applicant states that a typical bulky goods retail development requires a clear span of 5 metres with additional services and structures of 2 metres. It can be assumed that any additional levels proposed above would not require the same floor to ceiling heights as bulky goods retailing. Typically these uses would require a floor to ceiling height no greater than 3 metres. Therefore it is difficult to understand the need for such a dramatic increase in height to 21 metres.


With such uncertainty over the final development concept it would be more appropriate for the applicant to provide further information to demonstrate in cross section and elevations the need for additional height. This could be addressed during the exhibition of the draft LEP.


The applicant is seeking to vary the proposed FSR under the draft LEP from 1.5:1 to 2.5:1. The applicant argues that they could achieve a compliant footprint of 50,000sq.m per level taking into account setbacks and riparian corridors. An increase in FSR to 2.5:1 represents a floor area increase of 40,000 sq.m. The site is approximately 69,000sq.m. It is acknowledged that according to the applicant, some 5000sq.m of land will be dedicated to Sydney Water Pty Ltd for infrastructure services. Notwithstanding, the applicant is seeking a potential total floor area of a 150,000sq.m for the site. An examination of the proposed layouts submitted by the applicant indicates that a FSR of 1.5:1 is more consistent with their proposal. A test of each proposed layout shows the total floor area varies from approximately 90,000sq.m to 110,000sq.m. The proposed FSR of 1.5:1 is also the highest in the surrounding area. A 2.5:1 FSR is excessive without significant justification that the development could operate without major implications of the traffic network and broader locality. It is recommended that Council not increase the FSR from 1.5:1 to 2.5:1.


Site specific issues




James Ruse Drive is a major arterial road and in peak time suffers from traffic congestion. The introduction of a car orientated development may exacerbate current traffic issues.


The applicant has provided a preliminary traffic assessment in support of the application based on the three major tenancies of Bunnings, Officeworks and Costco. The preliminary traffic assessment indicates that:


        The development is expected to generate 612 vehicle trips per hour during the evening peak with access provided via a new traffic signal intersection in James Ruse Drive aligning with River Road West.

        The provision of traffic signals will manage increased traffic movement and improve the level of service that presently exists at this uncontrolled intersection.


More detailed traffic assessment would be required for specific proposals at development application stage.


In response to the applicant’s initial proposal, Council’s Manager of Traffic & Transport services has provided the following comments:


        The plans appear to include a road beside the railway line towards Grand Avenue North.

        The roadway on the northern boundary as proposed be construct all the way to Grand Avenue North for public use.

        Pedestrian access from the railway station to the site should also be considered including the State Rail proposal to close the pedestrian access across the railway line.

        The proposed signalisation of the intersection of James Ruse Drive and River Road West is supported in principle.  However, further traffic studies should include consideration of the additional traffic that is likely to use River Road West as a result of the traffic signals being installed.  The design of the intersection will requires RTA and Council approval.  The RTA's initial comments should be obtained prior to finalisation of the rezoning.

        At Development Application stage, provision should also be made for a pedestrian/bicycle link from the bridge over James Ruse Drive to the Parramatta River path (on the north side of the river) to link to surrounding residential and employment areas.





The zoning provisions contained within draft Parramatta LEP permit most of the land uses proposed with the exception of the Costco outlet and retail premises.  The Costco use could be incorporated into the draft LEP as an additional permitted use as it has similar characteristics to bulky goods premises. However, extending the range of retail uses would conflict with the intent and objectives of the B5 Business Development zone.


The proposed increase in FSR and height is not supported and is considered to be excessive for the site and would be out of context with the surrounding locality. The applicant can however make a further submission to the draft LEP during the public exhibition.

Appendix A



James Ruse Drive































Appendix B