Docklands residents urge council to refuse Ronan’s planning demand

Developer says jobs at risk unless his Salesforce building can have additional floors

Developer Johnny Ronan wrote to Dublin City Council over Salesforce Tower. Photo: Collins photos

Developer Johnny Ronan wrote to Dublin City Council over Salesforce Tower. Photo: Collins photos

 

Giving developer Johnny Ronan the green light for additional floors on his Salesforce Tower development in Dublin’s docklands “would make a mockery of the planning scheme process”. That’s the view of a management company representing the interests of 616 property owners in the Spencer Dock development.

Construction work on the Salesforce Tower, which will accommodate 3,500 workers, is continuing. The additional floors planned by Mr Ronan’s Spencer Place company would accommodate an additional 1,000 workers.

In a submission urging Dublin City Council to refuse planning permission for the additional floors, SDR Property Owners Management Company cautioned against any decision by the council to give the application the go-ahead.

IDA Ireland has voiced its support for the plan while the Sunday Business Post reported that Mr Ronan wrote to the council in January stating that the increase in floors from nine to 11 was “essential” to accommodate the needs of Salesforce, a US software company, in the “mega-building”.

He wrote: “Needless to say, this means extra quality JOBS, JOBS, JOBS for Ireland!”

However, the submission by the management firm representing the Spencer Dock property owners points out that the North Lotts Strategic Development Zone planning scheme for the area states that building heights of six and eight storeys are the maximum permissible.

Planning

The company contends that the proposed development is significantly in excess of the height parameters which were adopted following the planning scheme being approved by Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála.

The residents argue that the power of local authorities to set aside blanket building height provisions does not apply to Special Development Zone (SDZ) schemes.

The residents’ management company states that the residents of the Spencer Dock apartments, who purchased their properties with certainty regarding the scale and height parameters that would apply in the vicinity, “would be undermined by any decision to grant permission in contravention of the planning scheme”.

It adds that this proposition is particularly unacceptable in a SDZ context where there is no third party right to appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

The management firm adds that “setting aside the planning scheme would set a precedent for similar decisions throughout the entire docklands area which would make a mockery of the planning scheme process and bring such decisions under the threat of legal challenge”.

Mr Ronan’s planning consultant, John Spain, has argued that the application provides for only a modest increase in height.

Mr Spain said that the restrictive nature of the SDZ planning scheme which currently allows for six to eight storeys “is a direct contradiction to national planning guidance which seeks to promote development in key urban sites adjacent to high-quality public transport networks”.