City of Newcastle staff have recommended approving a Wickham apartment tower which will almost double the site's height limit in return for $955,000.
The Newcastle Heraldreported in September that the developer, Blake Organisation, wanted to increase the height of an approved building in Railway Lane by five storeys to 45 metres.
The Neufort Wickham development, which is on a 4500-square metre site next to the Lass O'Gowrie Hotel, would grow from 150 to 190 units under the new plans.
Under a proposed planning agreement, the council would receive almost a million dollars to pay for public domain works near the development, which overlooks Wickham Park.
The developer launched a Land and Environment Court appeal in April over the council's deemed refusal of the revised project, which is 21 metres above the site's 24-metre limit. The council's 2017 Wickham Master Plan envisages a 45-metre limit for that part of the suburb.
The court case is set down for January but will be redundant if the council's development applications committee approves the building on Tuesday night.
A staff report says the city's Urban Design Consultative Group raised concerns about the amended building's aesthetics, "overlooking" of neighbouring houses and reduced landscaping.
The report, which recommends approving the project, says a council assessment officer found that the developer had adequately addressed these issues.
Hunter Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel approved the original plans in 2019.
IN THE NEWS: