Greenslopes Residents Appeal St Maroun’s Redevelopment

A number of residents have challenged the approval received by St Maroun’s Maronite Church on Bunya Street in Greenslopes to redevelop its ageing facilities.

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St Maroun’s Church, located on a 3,645-sqm property in Bunya Street submitted a plan to Council to construct an entirely new church building with auditorium, a community hall, and a church administration building.

Designed by Hayes Anderson Lynch, the redevelopment includes a large elevated outdoor seating area and terrace adjoining the church and church hall, and a basement car park with 55 car parking spaces.

Artist’s visualisation of St Maroun’s Maronite Church redevelopment (Photo credit: Hayes Anderson Lynch)

However, a group of residents has brought an appeal against the development approval to the Planning and Environment Court. The residents listed several grounds for their appeal, including concerns about the height, size, and scale of the proposed development. 

Photo credit: Hayes Anderson Lynch

They argued that the church plans should be refused because the new buildings would be incompatible with the local character and feel of the area. The residents were worried the development would negatively impact things like noise levels, operating hours, and the overall look of the buildings.

“Multi vehicle and bicycle accidents can already be a weekly occurrence on Dunellan Street. A significant increase in traffic will only increase the likelihood of accidents as there are no plans to address even the current situation, let alone a significant increase in peak hour traffic. This increased traffic will be focussed in peak hour for child care drop-offs and pickups, so the extra traffic will add to local congestion as well as increase risk to children attending Greenslopes Primary School,” one local has written in a submission to Council.

During proceedings, St Maroun’s pointed to insufficient space in its current ageing facilities forcing parishioners to worship outdoors, even during important services. Ultimately, Justice Amanda McDonnell found only the scale was non-compliant, ruling this would not create adverse planning outcomes. She approved the redevelopment subject to conditions like noise management.

Floor plan (Photo credit: Hayes Anderson Lynch)

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The residents have been left disappointed and the parties must now negotiate suitable conditions before final consent is issued. Observers note that the case exemplifies the challenges of balancing community infrastructure needs with minimising local impacts, as progress marches on.

Published 20-July-2023