Coun­cil­lor de­scribes sub­di­vi­sion as “a slum”

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - NEWS -

A pro­posed res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment in Drouin has been de­scribed by a Baw Baw Shire coun­cil­lor as dis­as­ter and the po­ten­tial to be the “new slum” of Drouin.

Cr Michael Leaney de­scribed the de­vel­op­ment in Mon­ica Drv as a “dog of a de­vel­op­ment.”

He said it was a mod­ern ex­am­ple of a prop­erty with no yards and no de­sign.

“It has no char­ac­ter…it’s bor­ing. Ev­ery­thing is crammed in to get the max­i­mum dwellings onto this site.

“It is po­ten­tially cre­at­ing a new slum in the cen­tre of Drouin. This will be an ab­so­lute dis­as­ter for Drouin,” he said.

De­tails of the pro­posed 22 dwelling de­vel­op­ment were pre­sented to coun­cil last week, with of­fi­cers ask­ing coun­cil­lors to form a po­si­tion on the mat­ter ahead of a Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal hear­ing this month.

Coun­cil­lors di­rected of­fi­cers to not sup­port the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment at VCAT.

The mat­ter has been taken to VCAT be­fore coun­cil con­sid­ered the ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause the de­vel­oper lodged an ap­peal against coun­cil’s fail­ure to make a de­ci­sion within the pre­scribed time­frame.

The pro­posal at­tracted sig­nif­i­cant op­po­si­tion from sur­round­ing res­i­dents who said it would de­stroy the neigh­bour­hood char­ac­ter and amenity of the area.

The of­fi­cer’s re­port said south of the sub­ject land was a un­made sec­tion of McNeilly Rd which con­tains a large row of ma­ture indige­nous trees, while the Whisky Creek re­serve and wet­lands were east of the site.

A pre­vi­ous ap­pli­ca­tion in 2014 for 27 houses on the site was re­fused by coun­cil and up­held by the Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal.

Of­fi­cers said the cur­rent pro­posal had re­sponded to con­cerns raised by VCAT by re­duc­ing the num­ber of dwellings and in­creas­ing the set­back from Whiskey Creek.

Of­fi­cers said the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment was con­sis­tent with state and lo­cal plan­ning pol­icy.

The re­port said the in­ter­face with the McNeilly Rd re­serve and im­pact on sig­nif­i­cant veg­e­ta­tion had been re­solved through an ap­pro­pri­ate de­sign re­sponse with dwellings gen­er­ally set­back to min­imise en­croach­ments within tree pro­tec­tion zones.

But, Friends of Drouin’s Trees mem­bers dis­agreed, say­ing it would threaten a stand of 20 trees in the McNeilly Rd re­serve that were hun­dreds of years old.

Group rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judy Farmer told coun­cil this was bad plan­ning and would lead to safety con­cerns for the trees.

She urged coun­cil to im­ple­ment a tree risk man­age­ment pol­icy.

“This is the wrong place for this high den­sity de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

Cr Peter Kos­tos said the ap­pli­ca­tion was orig­i­nally pre­sented in 2014 for 27 dwellings.

“It’s still an over de­vel­op­ment of the site. Peo­ple don’t want to see an­other Pak­en­ham and this is ex­actly what the peo­ple don’t want to see,” he said.

Cr Kos­tos said if the ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved by VCAT, it had the po­ten­tial to be later sub­di­vided into in­di­vid­ual ti­tles.

“If this was a sub­di­vi­sion it wouldn’t be al­lowed be­cause it doesn’t meet stan­dards for amenity,” he said.

Cr Tri­cia Jones said coun­cil needed to make it clear at VCAT this it was not in­ter­ested in that type of de­vel­op­ment.

She said the res­i­dents had nu­mer­ous con­cerns and fears and the de­vel­oper had done noth­ing to al­lay their fears.

“This is a beau­ti­ful lo­ca­tion. The de­vel­oper is propos­ing 22 cookie cut­ter de­vel­op­ments on the al­lot­ment.

“In my opin­ion this was an over de­vel­op­ment of the site and doesn’t re­spect in any way the char­ac­ter of the neigh­bour­hood.

“We need to make a point to VCAT and other devel­op­ers that plan to give us be­low par de­vel­op­ments that it’s un­ac­cept­able to the com­mu­nity and the shire,” she said.

Cr Mikaela Power said one of the res­i­dent who sub­mit­ted to coun­cil summed it up best – “we don’t want those houses that close to these trees.”

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