Response to the Community on the Skylands Petition

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review the petition and provide comments. We’ve read each comment and they’ve been very helpful to us as we’ve continued to develop the Skylands masterplan.  The property was purchased in 1981 by Bert Carr.  The Carr Family has been developing the property since then.  All of the family members are Australian and are committed to the long-term thriving success of the development for the benefit of those that currently and will live there in the future. DPZ, a global award winning urban planning designer was tasked with meshing the natural beauty of the site, with the rising demand for housing in Hobart.  Our goal is to provide a legacy for Clarence Council and the Community at large.  Since the petition was written, you’ll see there are many items that have been addressed or were perhaps misunderstood initially. These are explained below.

We’re confident that Skylands will not only be a beautiful, safe, and healthy place to live for a broad cross section of the future community, it will enhance the lifestyle of current residents too. 

In addition, when young people have moved to Greater Hobart and the mainland, they will enjoy returning to the beautiful neighborhoods where they can visit their families and enjoy the neighborhood centers, hilltop nature preserve and park, bike and walking trails, playground access, and access to the Derwent for fishing, swimming, boating, etc.  It will provide so many opportunities to connect with other young people like themselves. 

While the masterplan continues to evolve, this response is intended to provide some interim feedback and clarification.  We hope you find this helpful. The italicized headings below were taken directly from the petition.

Clarifications and Explanations

  1. Over 70% of dwellings are semi-detached or “multi-family” with shared backyards. Most have shared or no backyard, relying on open space”.   
    • While a robust mix of housing is envisioned for the site, with the aim of providing for many different household needs, the vast majority (75%) of homes proposed for Skylands will have their own private backyards.  
    • All single-family dwellings, whether attached or detached (duplexes and townhouses) will be designed with their own private backyards.
  2. Tranmere now has 685 dwellings, will add 4 times (2,740) as many homes and over 6,000 more residents
    • The anticipated growth of this area is expected to mirror current trends, meaning people will continue to move to the greater Hobart area as it continues to be a highly desirable place to live.  In recognition of this, the Skylands site has been identified by the State of Tasmania for future development on the State of Tasmania Regional Land Use Strategy Document (STRLUS).  The 1963 Eastern Shore Planning Scheme considered the land to be a “land bank” for future residential development in Clarence.
    • Skylands is expected to develop at an average of 100 dwelling units / year, taking 25-30 years to build out.  If not at this beautiful site for homes, where else should new residents go?  Skylands is fortunate to be a large enough site that it can be developed as a complete sustainable community, providing residential, commercial, retail and civic opportunities.
    • Skylands has been designed following the Principles of New Urbanism that essentially fight sprawl and lay out the rules to design sustainable communities.  These principles can be viewed at:  www.cnu.org/principles.
  3. Skylands and other developments will contribute to increasing demands on infrastructure which is already failing to cope.” 
    • As Hobart continues to grow, Hobart’s infrastructure will need to adjust accordingly. That is one of the reasons why the STRLUS (Southern Tasmania Regional Growth Strategy) designates future growth areas in anticipation of where new or improved infrastructure should be directed.  The city will ensure all services are provided to new homes. There are infrastructure requirements at each stage of development that the developers must comply with for each phase. 
    • The advantage of a masterplan for the entire peninsula is that it can sensibly phase the future growth over the next 30 to 50 years. The goal is to plan for the efficient distribution of infrastructure in an orderly manner. 
    • For example, preliminary discussions with TasWater have already identified the overall strategy for water and sewer for the master planned development
    • All of the infrastructure, roads, footpaths, street lighting, stormwater system, sewer and water systems, electric service and communications within the Skylands masterplan will be engineered and constructed in accordance with the rules and codes of controlling authorities, by the Carr family at our cost. After one year under maintenance by the Carr family, the roads, footpaths, etc. will be transferred to Council at no cost.
    • In the early stages of development, it is It is our intention to build a school for a private operator, such as Montessori (with whom discussions have already begun).  At this time, the State has indicated there is no need for a public school.  If that were to change, the master plan would be adjusted accordingly.
  4. “Intruding on our Skyline by developing above the 70-meter mark.”
    1. Development over the 70-meter mark
      • It is interesting to note that when the elevation was set at a hearing before the Resource Management and Planning Tribunal in 2002. In the evidence given, two factors were deemed important by the Tribunal:
      • The water supply could only support development to the 75-meter level (this was somehow shown on plans as 70 meters).
        • Water supply above 70 meters is a non-issue. This is because a new higher elevation reservoir in an unobtrusive location and concealed vegetation will be provided.
      • The land was visually very prominent from Hobart.
        • When the 75-meter level for urban development was set, technology available today to create actual views of what development on the peninsula will look like from the western shore were unavailable.
          • With today’s mapping, and other technologies, it is simple to create multiple views from the eastern shore looking west at Hobart, and from the western shore looking east at Skylands. Both have been done and will be available soon for current and future residents on both shores to see.
          • These views show that the ultimate appearance looking east from Hobart will be quite similar to the appearance looking west, south of the City, from the peninsula. 
          • An aerial view of the amphitheater looking north up the estuary in 2020 compared to the view that will be seen in 2050 shows a more balanced and hence more attractive amphitheater in 2050 than what we see today.
      • In order to create the Skylands neighborhoods, the catchment of each neighborhood center needs to be sufficiently large to make the center’s small shops, small professional services, small offices etc., commercially viable. This is why the plan undulates the junction of development and the hilltop park, above 70 meters.
      • We acknowledge the importance of open space and a prominent skyline and that is why we are proposing a large regional park on the top of the ridge. Moreover, we believe it is as important to have horizontal views protected as it is to have vertical ones protected. That is why we included greenway corridors throughout the master plan that more than compensate land-wise for the suggested intrusion over the 70m.
    2. Over the hill connector roads, connecting the eastern side of the peninsula to the western side via Norla Street which is a steep cul-de-sac.
      • For good connectivity between the eastern and western slopes of Skylands, connector roads are required.
      • This connectivity is for the convenience of current and future residents.  It is also for their safety to ensure multiple emergency access ways in the event of storms or bushfires, etc.
      • It will provide the main access to the hilltop natural preserve for those with disabilities, so they too will have the same access and connectedness with nature.
      • Norla Street does not actually go “over the hill”, rather it goes around the hill and with the professional landscaping landscaping to be included, will be unobtrusive to the nearby residents.
      • The Street will not be steep but appropriately graded allowing smooth access.
      • DPZ looked at several other east-west connector options and Norla Street is the least visible
      • Norla Street does not need to be built now, even though we believe it should be for the benefit of current and future residents on both sides of the peninsula.
  5. Destruction of the existing she-oak forest and associated wildlife corridors.” 
    • We appreciate the she-oaks are visually prominent on an otherwise bare hillside.  Additionally, we know residents on the eastern shore have gotten used to seeing them and may likely find it strange to not see them.  However, the following is important to note:
      • It is unlikely they existed before the peninsula was cleared for farmland and timber (Initially in the 1800’s they were cleared of trees used for rendering at the William Collins whaling station and then boilers for the IXL jam factory.)
      • Although she-oaks are not a protected species, and many do not consider them to be a particularly attractive tree it is planned to retain some of the better specimens in private yards.
      • They are known to be a bushfire hazard and if left could burn one day leaving an ugly black scar for years.
      • They do not provide a wildlife corridor and it is unusual to see any animal or bird in them.
    • As part of the master planning effort, Turf Design Studio, award winning Landscape Architects from Sydney, were engaged to create a hilltop nature preserve and park and ridge to river connectors. These 112 hectares of public space will provide:
      • Enhanced ecological values and water sensitive urban design 
      • Attractive greenway corridors of vegetation stretching from hilltops to Derwent. 
      • A large, hilltop nature preserve and park with walking tracks, open grassed areas for picnics, lookouts, interpretative signage and more.
      • Revegetated woodlands in the park and ridge to river connectors. These will provide wildlife corridors and parklands to attract more native animals and birds. Discussions are in progress with UTAS to engage with students to assist in these endeavors.
  6. Add 5,000 vehicles onto Oceana Drive, Tranmere Road and Droughty Point Road, connecting back onto the grid locked South Arm Highway.
    • Whatever traffic increase there is, it will be gradual over a 30+ year timeframe (2050+), we firmly believe there is more than adequate time to ensure careful planning and timely improvements that will limit any effect on existing residents.
    • The Skylands design of a series of neighbourhoods will reduce the number of trips per resident external to Skylands and along Tranmere, Oceana and Droughty Point Roads.  In addition, Tollard Drive will add a 4th north-south connection and will be completed in the next few years. The east-west connector through Luckman’s property will also be completed in the next few years providing additional alternative routes.
    • The COVID-19 world pandemic has created new opportunities for telecommuting that has many people working from home full-time or part-time. The integrated plan for small de-centralized office space will prove to be an attractive opportunity for many businesses, reduce traffic congestion and drive an eco-friendly work model that works harmoniously and seamlessly with the urban masterplan.
    • The small shops, private schools and daycare facilities in the neighborhood centers will provide access to daily necessities and reduce car trips, encourage bicycling and walking and thereby further reducing traffic congestion. 
    • Small private schools and day-cares will reduce car trips.
    • The planned ferry service expected to occur in less than 10 years will significantly reduce traffic.
  7. Interstate consultants (Traffix) used unrealistic traffic modelling”.
    • The traffic modelling used by Traffix Group was an accurate high level preliminary assessment of future traffic patterns.  Additional detailed studies will be provided at appropriate times as required by Clarence City Council.
    • The complex model looked at actual traffic counts and projected traffic counts on existing streets, including Oceana Drive and Tranmere Road, as well as the future street network.  The projected traffic counts are based on the proposed development program for Skylands. 
    • The modelling assumes other transportation management strategies or measures are in place to mitigate traffic impacts.  Some of these include an anticipated ferry service to Hobart and staggered work schedules that have increased since COVID-19 and will very likely continue for years to come due to worker demands.  Anticipating this outlook, we firmly believe that there will be minimal impact to current and future residents of Tranmere. 
    • Additionally, a study by The Department of State Growth is underway.  This study will consider the impacts and future needs of the South Arm Road (Rokeby Road) corridor between Pass Road and Acton Road. The study takes into account 1,771 additional dwelling units (about 65% of the Skylands plan) by 2039.
  8. Developers failed to provide an environmental assessment of this proposal.”
    • At this stage, no environmental assessments are required.  However environmental assessments will be provided at appropriate times as required by Clarence City Council, which is typically done as subdivision plans are being developed.   
    • The Carr Family is quite familiar with this process. They have conducted environmental assessments in relation to earlier subdivisions.  In 2005, on behalf of the Carr Family, an environmental assessment was conducted by Andrew Welling – a Tasmanian Environmentalist.
  9. Developers were unaware this development backed onto the Ralph’s Bay conservation area.”
    • We are aware of Ralph’s Bay conservation area.  Any impact on this Marine Protected Area, as with the rest of the shoreline, (which will become Council property as the neighborhoods are developed), will be given proper attention during detailed planning of neighbourhoods 4, 5 and 6.
  10. “Proposal fails to include any sporting fields”.
    • The masterplan reserves land for smaller sport fields such as tennis courts.  Additionally, land is allocated for playgrounds in each neighbourhood that would be large enough for some sporting practice (setting up a soccer net).  Unfortunately, insufficient reasonably level ground exists to accommodate a full-size sports field without encroaching on the upper levels that are proposed to be preserved as a parkland.
    • STRLUS calls for the maximization of use of existing playing fields before the creation of new ones.
  11. “Fails to address concerns raised by the limited consultation in regard to over-the-hill connector.”
    • The consultation so far has not been limited and it included a 6-day charrette (planning workshop) in which community members were invited to multiple events to provide feedback, as the master plan was developed.  The consultation will continue as required by Council. 
    • While we understand the concerns raised by the Norla Street residents, we explored other possible connections which were shown during the charrette.  The Norla Street one was the preferred option after the charrette, but it is by no means assured.  If ultimately included in the final design, it is the Carr family’s intention to make the connecting street narrow, treelined and as unobtrusive as possible. 
    • While the Carr family is recommending the connection of the streets on the east and west sides of the peninsula it is not a critical part of the masterplan.
  12. One small school identified in the plan which does not contain a sporting oval”. 
    • The Education Department has acknowledged that there is an excess of school capacity at this time.  Should this change, the Skylands Plan will need to be modified.  Recently, nearby land that had been reserved for a school was disposed of by the Education Department.
    • Several small private schools are expected to be built in the neighbourhood centers where they will be harmoniously integrated into the neighbourhoods making them highly accessible and desirable for new families.
    • Additionally, there is currently a shortage of day care centers, as determined in the Residential and Commercial analysis conducted by Macroplan.  As a result, several were included in each neighborhood to address this shortage.
  13. Community consultation consisted of a small number of live web sessions at inconvenient times that suited the US based developers”.
    • DPZ are not developers, they are a US-based firm with a global reputation for designing, advocating and assisting with the implementation of sustainable communities (such as Jindee in Western Australia). They were engaged by the Carr family under a professional services contract.  
    • When the Carr family hired DPZ CoDesign (DPZ) to plan the Skylands site in late 2019, it was with the firm intention to conduct an in-person public multi-day workshop where the many designers could have directly interacted with the community.  The COVID-19 global pandemic unfortunately changed those plans when travel was no longer permitted.  Instead, DPZ spent time developing a project website and organizing the virtual multi-day workshop (Charrette).
      • This charrette included focused topical meetings, live design sessions and presentations.  The design team worked late into the night to accommodate the time difference.  
      • Many community members attended the charrette and provided feedback.  For those who were unable to attend, all sessions were recorded and made available to the public for convenient viewing.  Community members were made aware of the project website and encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions.   During the presentations, community members were able to have questions asked and answered in real time.  
      • Additionally, the Carr family hired a facilitator to help publicize the charrette ahead of time.
    • Before the charrette, DPZ interviewed at least 10 different stakeholders to get their feedback and ideas for the design of the project site.  This included Tasmania planners and Engineers, bike advocates, community well-being advocates, TAS water, etc.  Additionally, DPZ benefited from all of the interviews that had been conducted by Niche Consultants in their earlier work on development of the Structure Plan for the peninsular.
  14. Web sessions were not broadly publicized and had an attendance of a maximum of 20 to 30 people, including the owners of the site.”
    • While we would have welcomed additional attendees, we were pleased with the attendance, with the questions asked, and with the feedback we received.  Overall, participation was encouraging, and the project website received hundreds of comments and helpful suggestions.
  15. “Feedback that was provided was overlooked and not taken into account for the final proposed plan”
    • While not all comments received could be incorporated, it will be clear to those who attended or viewed the recordings, when the masterplan is ready for display, that the vast majority of comments received were incorporated into the many master plan iterations.  When comments were not built into the master plan, the designers took the time to explain the reasons why they were not feasible.  We are confident that the master plan acknowledges the majority of helpful the feedback received.    

We hope you’ve found these explanations helpful and we’re confident the Community will find the finished plan something that does justice to this beautiful peninsula. Our family embarked on this rigorous planning effort because we do believe that the typical suburban development patterns are unsustainable. It is our desire and intention to develop this land in a reasonable manner. We believe this new community to be aligned with the State’s vision so that current and future residents can live, work, shop, and play in a sustainable, thriving community.

The Carr Family Trust