‘It’s unfair and inflexible’

‘It’s unfair and inflexible’

Concerned Kelmscott resident Trent Behrendt. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

Representatives of the real estate industry have raised concerns over a “reckless” scheme amendment that could diminish property values for up to 1500 Armadale residents.

Back in December, the City of Armadale council resolved to initiate the amendment to increase the housing density around the Challis and Sherwood train station as per the state government’s push for increased residential density near urban centres.

Though the move was designed to increase housing stock and diversity, the changes would inadvertently prevent property owners from subdividing blocks less than 1,400 square-metres in size.

O’Neil Real Estate senior sales consultant Mark Grogan said his concern was the impact the proposed amendment would have on those that had invested in the area with the intention of eventually subdividing.

“These are mum-and-dad investors that purchased these properties in good faith,” he said.

“Should this scheme amendment pass, the value of these homes would be significantly diminished.

“I’m also concerned for the locality as a whole.

“These are older homes in need of modernisation, but now they won’t be able to do that.”

Mr Grogan said many of his clients had received correspondence about the changes as part of the city’s consultation period, but the majority were not fully aware of the implications.

Already, Mr Grogan said the industry was seeing the repercussions of a similar amendment being passed in Bedfordale, where a property on Banyard Avenue sold for $30,000 – $40,000 less than anticipated.

“This has been proposed with no consultation with the real estate industry or consideration of what the market demands are,” he said.

“The City of Armadale appears to be recklessly devaluing these properties.”

Like many other affected residents, Kelmscott man Trent Behrendt purchased his property eight years ago with the intention of eventually subdividing.

Mr Behrendt has since formed the ‘Armadale/Kelmscott residents against Scheme Amendment No.89′ group, which has amassed more than 55 members in the last week, in a bid to generate more awareness of the broad implications of the proposal – delivering some 500 flyers to affected residents.

“I think the key message is that I’m not against the proposal and its intention,” he said.

“I understand the need to increase residential density, but I don’t agree with the way that it has been done.

“I believe is unfair and inflexible.

“There are other ways to change the zoning, including a triple zoning approach or adding additional zoning conditions.

“I would like to see that considered.”

City of Armadale mayor Ruth Butterfield said amendments to the city’s Local Planning Scheme were necessary from time to time and that the city would be taking the feedback on board.

“We acknowledge there have been concerns raised by several community members,” she said.

“We appreciate they would like to understand what this scheme amendment means for them in more detail.

“We will be working with these people to answer their questions and all submissions received will be assessed in detail.”

The group is encouraging residents concerned about the proposal to write to councillors as part of the public consultation process, which has since been extended until May 18 and has drawn more than 70 submissions to date.

All submissions will be assessed and a report and recommendation provided to the council before reaching the state’s Planning Minister.