33. 2003 – DA submission

Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud. 

The owner Mr Voukelatos compared the original report on 39 Glebe Point Road by the civil engineer Johnston with the later report by Bekker and wondered whether the tenant Amir Bodenstein’s continued insistence that there was a problem with the property’s eastern wall might be motivated by a design to obtain compensation from Council.

On 10 March 2003 the owner wrote to Johnston, claiming that the Bekker report, which Bodenstein had commissioned, was superficial and unconvincing in comparison with Johnston’s report on the same wall.

He wondered aloud to Johnston why Bodenstein had delayed four months before sending him a copy of Bekker’s report and why he had bothered preparing a D.A. if he really believed there was a problem with the wall.

He speculated that Bodenstein’s real interest was in getting a further extension in the lease and another rent-free period. He informed Johnston he was handing Bodenstein’s lease, which was still in rental arrears, over to his lawyer, Casimatis, for action.

On 14 March Bodenstein sent the owner images of the claimed structural problems at the property and Bekker’s report regarding the same. On 17 April he lodged a Development Application with Council. He detailed the various ways in which he had complied with the owner’s demands.

On 3 April Casimatis sent Bodenstein an Application for Development Consent signed by the owners Zois and Vessela Voukelatos.

On 6 April Voukelatos wrote back to Bodenstein and confirmed that did not intend to grant a further extension of the lease on 39 Glebe Point Road. He asked the latter to lodge the D.A. with Council to enable him to commence carrying on his restaurant business at that address.

The details of the D.A. Consent are given.

Bodenstein notes he has obtained engineering advice to the effect that the property would require a new eastern wall before any new activitiy could take place there.

He said his Morden Paint’s team recognised the potential of 39 Glebe Point Road and would convert the property, currently a “dark spot”, into something which would contribute to the Glebe community.

Furthermore, Bodenstein reported that he had commissioned a report on the structural problems of the eastern wall and that Morden Paints planned to incorporate an indigenous artwork on the “bookend” of that wall.

He advised that a separate application that 34 tables be placed in the proposed restaurant/cafe would be submitted to Council. He concluded that the Moroccan restaurant at the address would be a significant contribution to the Glebe Village precinct.

Contents
1. Council compensation
2. Sending images and report
3. DA submission

1. Council compensation

Mr Voukelatos compares the reports and states that the Bekker report seems very superficial and he wonders why I am still insisting that there is a problem with the wall and whether I had obtained the report for the purpose of obtaining compensation from Council.

12.03.03 Mr Voukelatos to Mr Johnston LE 1-2, 457-8

“Thank you for your report dated 10/3/03.

I made the tenant aware of your findings, however, he is still insisting that there is a problem with the wall and is using it as an excuse not to pay rent.

Today he sent me a report he obtained on 30/10/02 from an engineer called Paul Bekker which I attach for your perusal. To me, the report seems very superficial & does not go into a deep analysis of how he reached his conclusions & seems to be what you call “the easy option of condemning the wall”. This is supported by a comparison of the Bekker report and your report on the same wall which was prepared on 25 June 2001.

I wonder whether Amir had obtained the report for the purpose of obtaining from Council compensation (as he keeps mentioning such a claim) for damages done by the tree roots in the park. What I can’t understand is why he waited over 4 months to show me the Bekker report. If the wall is such a problem, why he did also bother to have pre-D.A. meetings and prepare a D.A. for my urgent signature. I believe as stated to you the other day his only real interest is to get: further extension of the lease period and another rent-free period

Since as part of his proposed D.A. this wall will need to be supported to enable the opening to be made. (see copy of plan from Amir’s architects ESZ in respect of the eastern wall).

Do you think the wall is safe as it presently stands? Is it in danger of collapse?

Perhaps we can discuss this & I’ll try to contact you about 5 pm. Tuesday (your time).

I’ve decided to basically hand over this matter to my lawyer (Theo Casimatis) since as discussed the tenant has breached the lease on a range of matters and is being very difficult.”

2. Sending images and report

I sent Mr Voukelatos images of the structural problems and I faxed him Mr Bekker’s report.   

14.03.03 AB to Mr Voukelatos EC 1-5, 191-5

“The images are sized so that transmission via the internet will not be a hazard to you.

If you require enlargement let me know.

I will call you during the weekend.”

Development Application Lodgment (17.04.03)

A lot of time, effort and resources were invested in the D.A. process.

Compliance with Mr Voukelatos’ demands

Paying rent EA 2-6, 184-8

Plans sent on 9 February 2003 FM 1, 261

Structural engineers’ letter CK 1-2, 129-30

Insurance Certificate with Mr Voukelatos’ name            

03.04.03 Mr Casimatis to AB – FP 1, 264

“I enclosed Application for Development Consent executed by Zois Voukelatos and Vessela Voukelatos.”

06.04.03 Mr Voukelatos to AB – ED 1, 196

“Further to our discussion yesterday I wish to advise you that:

As stated in my letter to you dated 11/3/03 we cannot grant you a further extension in the Lease period for the reasons outlined in that letter.

We cannot grant you a further rent free period. You will recall the rental paid in the first 12 months of the Lease was designed to assist you and effectively gave you a rent free period of some 3 months.

These issues have been raised by you many times in the past and we regret that there is no further point in discussing this.”

We would prefer to see you lodge the D.A. with Leichhardt Council to enable commencement of your business.”

3. DA submission

17.04.03 Application for D.A. Consent FQ 1-3, 265-7.

“Rec Date: 17 Apr-2003

 Amount Total: $1225.20”

“Estimated cost: $180,000”

“Signature of Owners/         Date 15/2/03”

Statement of Environmental Effects FR 1-9, 268-76

“Introduction

1. Existing Building

Since leasing the property on January 2002 and having investigated the building’s structural integrity, it has become apparent that the existing property’s unstable eastern wall has contributed to the property being vacant since November 2001. Based on engineering advice, the building would require a new eastern wall before any new activity takes place within the building.

Prior to November 2001 the premises had been used as a café/restaurant, exchanging hands quite often.

2. Morden Paint

Having lived and worked in the Glebe neighborhood for over two years, the team behind the “Moroccan” restaurant/café concept recognize the potential of this site. Hence, we have leased the property for the next 15 years with a commitment to transferring this ailing property from a neighborhood “dark spot” to a building that will raise the neighborhood profile. We are an ambitious team that provides a high level of quality in workmanship and Moroccan food.

3. Community

In a bid to gain a broad and accurate representation from our immediate neighbors and the community at large, we have sought their feedback in relation to our aspirations for this site. We include this feedback for your perusal in this proposal.

4. Site Layouts and Building Design

Structural Integrity

A report has been prepared in regards to the structural adequacy of the existing building and the work proposed, specifically the construction of the eastern wall. (Refer to Appendix C)

6. Elevations and Material

We are proposing to incorporate some indigenous artwork created by local community youth on the ‘bookend’ of the eastern wall. We approached community artist, Elizabeth Ronney, who will coordinate the design of this work. (Refer to Appendix E)

8. Seating

It is proposed to provide thirtyfour tables within the restaurant/café at ground floor and first floor.

A separate application for a license/leasing arrangement for outside seating will be submitted at a later stage.

14. Conclusion

With the creative skills of the Morden Paint team and the concept of a Moroccan Restaurant being introduced into this unique location, this project will be a significant contribution to the Glebe Village Precinct.”