A 26-lot subdivision at Riverside has sparked emotional debate among residents and the proponent after it was approved by the West Tamar Council.
Resident Alan Taylor implored the council to “look beyond the numbers” during public question time at the meeting, held on Tuesday, but the application was approved six to one.
Only Councillor Rick Shegog voted against the development, primarily on traffic concerns, but admitted during the discussion that he does live in the area.
Cr Shegog said he had “significant concerns” about how much the subdivision would increase traffic and impact on safety.
“If you put the subdivision there, the amenity [of the area] may be impacted,” he said.
“But my main concern is the width of the road and the issue of having parked cars on the side of the road.”
WHAT IS THE PROPOSAL?
A 26-lot subdivision at Riverside has been proposed at New Ecclestone Road and Cormiston Road.
It has received a discretionary permit from West Tamar Council and will comprise of lots ranging in size from 651 square metres to 909 square metres.
A new cul-de-sac would run from New Ecclestone Road into the site.
Nine lots would front Cormiston Road, and five lots would front New Ecclestone Road.
Nine lots would front the new cul-de-sac, and a further three lots would have access to both New Ecclestone Road and the new cul-de-sac.
The subdivision would be connected to the existing water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure, alongside telecommunications and electricity.
The subdivision received 21 representations against the proposal, during the 14 days it was open for public comment.
Some of the biggest issues raised as part of the representations included the size of the development, traffic and road safety, parking, water pressure and property values.
In addition, many residents noted the development should not rely on “discretionary planning permits” and many were concerned it did not meet the West Tamar Interim Planning Scheme 2013.
Resident Alan Taylor, who spoke during public question time at the meeting, said he had significant concerns about the capacity of the road to deal with increased traffic.
The development application predicted there would be an extra 234 vehicle movements per day if the subdivision goes ahead.
“My main concern is with safety, I don’t understand how New Ecclestone Road and Cormiston Road can withstand much more traffic,” Mr Taylor said.
“How can the planning authority think this is a good idea to do this? I oppose it very strongly for the people who already live here.”
Mr Taylor expressed his frustration once the councillors had approved the development and interrupted the meeting.
General manager Rolph Vos interjected and told Mr Taylor he could not rebut the decision during the meeting.
Mr Taylor said he intended to appeal against the decision and left the meeting to speak with the council’s planning officer regarding his options.
Issues such as water pressure, property values and noise pollution cannot be taken into account when the council is acting as a planning authority.
Councillors can only vote to approve or deny a development if it meets the requirements of the planning scheme.
Councillor Carol Bracken, who moved to approve the motion, said while the traffic concerns were valid and important to ensure they were addressed, the proposal did meet the conditions of the planning scheme.
The discussion around the table at the council meeting was that the development did meet all the conditions of the council’s planning officers and, as such, it was approved.
OWNERS SPEAK OUT
Property owner Brendon Markos was compelled to speak during public question time after hearing the concerns raised by Mr Taylor.
He said the property had been in his family for a number of years and he and his family sought to “make it better for the community”.
Advice had been sought about the best way to subdivide the property and the lot sizes had been specifically made generous to keep with the amenity of the area.
Mr Markos said the proposal had not been designed to upset anyone but was an attempt to create something for the Riverside community.
“We want to attract owner-occupiers, for families to have the opportunity to live in this fantastic area,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Markos, 6ty Degrees planning consultant Ashley Brook said the proposal would address the concerns made by residents.
He said it was “not unusual” for a development of this size to require a discretionary planning permit.
“It doesn’t signify a relaxation of the standards, it signifies that more assessment is needed and more needs to be determined and addressed,” he said.
Mr Brook said the lot size indicated there was room on the property to accommodate for additional parking if needed.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
Councillor Peter Kearney, who voted to approve the development, said it was important to acknowledge those who had taken the time to write representations.
“They are part of the process of ensuring a better outcome,” he said.
However, he also thanked the proponent for their proposal for the subdivision.
He said he approved the development because he couldn’t see any grounds for appeal.
Construction on the subdivision is expected to start in early 2019, now that a discretionary planning permit has been given by the council.
However, residents and people who made representations against the development do have grounds to appeal, if they can find a legal reason to block the proposal.
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