Opponents await Kite Street court decision

ONE of the opponents to a garage development at 48 Kite Street, Scott Gilbank, said if a decision by the Land and Environment Court went his way it would open up Pandora’s box for council. 

The Land and Environment Court heard arguments for and against the garage last week, a development application (DA) that was approved by council last year.

Mr Gilbank hopes the court will quash the development,  but is unsure when the decision will be known.

He believes if he wins the case, the ruling’s effect on council policy and procedures, and all future DAs concerning heritage listings, would be great. 

He said the court heard evidence that council had not given sufficient weight to the heritage listing of his property Mena, next door to the proposed DA.

“The thing with the Land and Environment Court is that it is all based on law, there’s no emotion or feeling in there,” he said.

“The court heard that Mena is a local and state and national heritage item and the garage will obstruct the view of that item.”

Council staff recommended the development be approved despite the location of the garage contradicting the development control plan for the area.

Garages on surrounding houses are typically at the back of the property, but, in their initial report, council staff argued that the setback and appearance of the proposed garage made a departure from its guidelines acceptable.

Mr Gilbank rejected the claims.

“They cleared a whole heap of trees to the back of the property to allow rear access and in council’s report it said there was insufficient width to allow access,” he said.

“It’s bigger than most driveways in town.”

Margaret Audley at 46 Kite Street wrote in a submission to council at the time the DA was to be approved that the garage would block views from her bedroom and lounge room to the east.

The garage would be situated in front of her main bedroom window and would overshadow the property.

The proposed DA would not affect Mrs Audley’s view of Cook Park as reported in the Central Western Daily yesterday.

Mr Gilbank is concerned about stormwater run-off and construction issues, which have not been addressed in the DA.

“The driveway, we don’t know if it’s going to be made of concrete or marshmallow,” he said.

“We don’t know what will happen to the run-off from the driveway.”

Mr Gilbank said one of the biggest issues with the DA was that council had not consulted with him initially. 

“Nobody from council called us, nobody came to visit us,” he said.

“We had to chase them, we had to appear in council.”

Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said because the matter was still before the court council would not be debating the issue in the media.

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