Masterclass: Urban Planning with Eli Gescheit

May 5, 2021

Company: Navon Planning

Specialty: Urban Planning

Location: Sydney, Australia

This month in our Masterclass, we are so excited to be chatting with leading urban planner Eli Gescheit, founder and principal of Navon Planning.cpi

The focus of Navon Planning since its inception in 2015 is assisting clients with navigating the red tape when dealing with councils. Specialising in residential and commercial projects across Sydney, Navon Planning has in-depth knowledge of the planning system to ensure projects are delivered on time.

Whether it is a small or large scale project, they have the expertise and skills to deliver on time and on budget. Navon Planning utilise a tailored approval strategy for every project to ensure a high-quality outcome for the development.

Eli Gescheit is an experienced urban planner with over 13 years working in various councils and consultancies, including Waverley council and Hurstville council (Now known as Georges River council), and leading planning consultancies Urbis and Neustein Urban. Eli knows the ins and outs of councils while also understanding client requirements. He possesses negotiating skills and regularly appears as an expert witness before the NSW Land and Environment Court.

From an urban planner’s perspective, what are the three most important things buyers should be looking for when searching for a property?

1. You need to check whether the property is heritage listed, determining if you can improve the building, through a renovation or whether a complete knock-down and rebuild is possible.

2. You should also check if any DAs submitted or approved near the site could impact your amenities, such as sunlight, privacy, or views.

3. Check for any easements running through the property, such as stormwater. Easements can impose significant restrictions if you are planning a major renovation or build of a new house.

In your opinion, what is the crucial infrastructure which makes a suburb desirable and can drive up property prices?

Proximity to shops, public transport and other amenities such as sporting grounds and schools is a serious consideration for potential investors/homeowners. 

What are the shifts or changes you’ve observed in urban planning in the residential space over the last few years?

Homeowners and developers are increasingly looking to build more than what the council planning controls permit and also to design unique, beautiful buildings. In response to these emerging needs, councils need to review their planning controls and processes to ensure people do not take advantage and negatively impact the amenity of neighbours.

As technology progresses with building design and construction, architects embrace this; however, councils are often slow to respond. These changes can also unnerve local neighbours, who also can complicate and delay the DA process. 

Have you worked on any unique projects in the Sydney residential space?

A few years ago, we secured DA approval for a boutique mixed-use development in Double Bay. Located on only 400sqm of land and within a flood zone, we were able to gain approval for 11 units and three retail shops.

We were also able to achieve a five-storey building in an area that only permits four storeys. One of the things I enjoyed about this project was that we had to include an automatic car parking system due to the tight site. When residents enter the basement, they park their car in a lift, and then the vehicle travels down and makes its way through a mechanical system to park itself. 

Mixed-use development in Double Bay

What suburbs or spots in NSW are you loving right now?

There are two areas that I enjoy working in at the moment, and they are in the north and south-west growth centres of Sydney for example Box Hill, Edmonson Park and Denham Court. These areas are under constant development with new roads, subdivisions, homes, schools and other amenities. It’s always fun travelling out to these areas and seeing the suburbs grow. 

Follow along for more from Navon Planning here.

A special thanks to Eli for chatting with us. Stay tuned to find out who our next guest on the Masterclass will be.

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