MCDONALD’S could still get the go ahead to open in Farrell Road, despite Orange City Council knocking back the development application on Tuesday night.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the company was “extremely disappointed” with the outcome of the meeting and intended to fight the decision in the Land and Environment Court, pursuing an application lodged in June.
Council will be forced to defend its position at a court hearing expected in two to three months’ time, with the refusal ruling out any last ditch attempts at mediation.
“We are confident in the merits of our development application,” the McDonald’s spokeswoman said.
“Council staff have recommended approval and independent reviews have also been conducted by town planners and traffic engineers which also recommended approval.”
After a lengthy debate, councillors voted to reject the fast food outlet on several grounds including traffic concerns, the unsuitability of the residential location, a parking shortage, impact on resident safety and amenity.
But the decision was not unanimous, with three councillors Russell Turner, Scott Munro and Kevin Duffy attempting to OK the controversial restaurant.
Several councillors spoke of how they agonised over the difficult decision.
Councillor Glenn Taylor told the meeting he had planned to approve the DA, but changed his mind after hearing opponents from the public gallery speak out.
“I think this place has traffic issues that lights won’t fix,” he said.
“[But] It concerns me greatly we’ll go to the Land and Environment Court and spend a great amount of money and still end up with a McDonald’s up there.”
He attempted to have council put off a decision until after a conciliation conference between council, McDonald’s and a Land and Environment Court commissioner on August 27.
But councillor Neil Jones urged councillors to “stick to their guns” and reject the DA, a decision he believed could be defended in court.
“It won’t come back to us when it goes to the Land and Environment Court conference next week,” he said.
“We won’t get a future bite of it.”
Councillors Jason Hamling Ash Brown agreed and said council should not be bullied by the threat of legal action.
But Cr Turner attempted to approve the DA, and was met with boos from the packed public gallery.
He said council’s plans to install traffic lights and build more roads in the area would improve the intersection.
Cr Munro agreed.
“It is a big decision, and I could say no to it, but you look at the DA and they do tick the boxes of what you see at other places,” he said.