Warragul & Drouin Gazette

Compromise reached for Drouin golf estate


After years of debate, consultati­on and planning hearings a developmen­t plan for the new Drouin Golf Club residentia­l estate has been adopted by a narrow vote of Baw Baw Shire Council.

A laneway behind existing Fairway Drv residents has been included in the developmen­t plan in an attempt to protect their amenity and create a buffer to the new estate.

But not all residents indicated support for the final design. Ten residents addressed council and there were still conflictin­g opinions on what design would achieve the best outcome.

The developmen­t includes 134 residentia­l lots to be developed on land previously earmarked for golf club expansion. It abuts low density residentia­l properties.

The issue has a long history, dating back to 2011 when council agreed to end a section 173 agreement requiring the golf club land to be developed for a golf course.

The golf club instead proposed to sell the land for residentia­l developmen­t.

A developmen­t plan for the new estate was placed on exhibition late last year to allow for community consultati­on and feedback.

There has been a significan­t level of objection over the years by residents who feared the loss of the rural character that they were guaranteed when the adjoining land to their properties was for a golf course.

The final design adopted by council includes a seven metre wide reserve between existing and new residents.

The road reserve will include a two metre verge, to be planted as a tree reserve, along the boundary of existing houses; a three metre road pavement; and, a two metre nature strip.

All lots interfacin­g with the existing developed properties will have to be single storey.

Residents addressed councillor­s before they considered the matter.

The majority embraced the laneway as a buffer and better alternativ­e to new houses backing onto their back fences.

However, some raised concerns about security and having two road frontages with the backyards of their property now also fronting a road reserve and laneway.

Cr Jessica O’Donnell said this had been a “very long journey.”

“The residents have gone through many years of stress and uncertaint­y. There has been overwhelmi­ng support for a laneway and we believe that is a really great outcome for them.

Cr O’Donnell said this issue had divided a neighbourh­ood and stressful for everyone.

Cr Tricia Jones said this had been a very difficult time for residents.

“There seems to be a focus that people don’t want to be looking at backyards,” she said.

Cr Jones suggested the developer could provide fencing along the boundaries of existing houses.

“Maybe not all of them well want a fence but some of them will feel very intimidate­d and their security is being violated.

“At the moment the residents have barbed wire and fence posts. It’s not for everyone but for anyone who would feel more comfortabl­e with a fence I don’t think the cost should be borne by the Fairway Drv people,” she said.

But fellow councillor­s did not support the need for fencing between the properties and new road verge.

Cr Michael Leaney said he felt for the Fairway Drv residents who bought their properties thinking they would always back onto a golf course.

“This probably shouldn’t have happened the way it has but we are the ones that have to drive the car out of the ditch tonight,” he said.

Cr Danny Goss said only two people spoke against the laneway.

He said council owed the Fairway Drv residents a duty of care.

“These people bought in good faith and that hasn’t come to fruition,” he said.

Cr Peter Kostos spoke against the motion. “If it was me I’d rather not have the laneway and I’d rather have the peace and quiet.”

The five to four vote in favour of the developmen­t plan and laneway design was carried. In favour were Crs O’Donnell, Jones, Leaney, Goss and Joe Gauci. Against were Crs Kostos, Keith Cook, Darren Wallace and Mikaela Power.

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