Thanks for sharing your good news. Interesting strategy on the architect's part.
I used a similar strategy once to get development approval on a difficult site where a church was too close to the boundary and there was not enough landscaping or off street parking. I presented side by side images of the existing building with the proposed renovation/extension with nice landscaping of the small amount of space there was.
The therory was that the city ouncilors (in those days anyway, maybe not now) were the ones who made the decision not the technical people who could read the plans. The 'pretty pictures' (along with a model of the building and site) won them over and we got approval. The first we knew of it, was an article in the local paper praising how well we had presented the case and quoting the town planner's comment that they thought it was "a marvelous idea" despite the limitations.
I must admit that the images of the renovated building and landacaping, looked much better than the photos of the existing one. The model was a hit too - you could remove the roof and it was all furnished even to details like taps and door knobs (pinheads!)
We used their exact wording for the required advertising, that we were renovating and making "minor extensions". We were in fact, as the plans showed, keeping two walls - floor, roof and everything else was new! There was only one objection - re parking on the street. Their reappnce was that we were increasing off street parking (by two bays - where the outside toilets had been!). They remained very much on our side right through the project and dealt with this one very difficult neighbour opposite in no uncertain terms even calling the police to stop the neighbour 'disturbing the peace'.
Do we get to see an image of your landscaping or are there confidentiality issues?