TWO residential subdivisions to create 60 one-acre lots in the Murphy Lane area is bad development that will destroy the scenic character of the rural residential area, according to a group of residents opposing the proposals.
More than 50 residents have rallied against the neighbouring development applications in Dean Drive and Silverdown Way, that will go before councillors next Tuesday.
Councillors deferred a decision last month and scheduled a site visit after receiving 53 written objections and hearing from residents who spoke out against the DAs at a public forum.
Both subdivisions propose blocks at, or slightly more than, the minimum lot size of 4000 square metres [one acre] that was set when the area was rezoned as part of the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) last year.
But the residents say they were not formally advised of the proposed rezoning or the drop from the previous two-hectare minimum lot size during the LEP process.
Gorman Road resident Janelle Brunner lives on a two-acre property and said she, like many residents, was attracted to the area for its rural outlook.
“We understand council’s position and the developer’s right to develop the land, but it’s a regional, city-fringe lifestyle acreage area and the only other area like it is Ammerdown or Clifton Grove,” she said.
“It continues to contribute to Orange’s diversity in the housing market.”
Murphy Lane resident Rosamunde Hanney lives on a five-acre property and would like to see the landowners make the lot sizes larger.
“We want to see it left in keeping with the scenic character of the area,” she said.
Mrs Hanney said she and her family had expected the area to remain as larger lot residential, with the majority of land subdivided into five-acre blocks.
The council’s senior planner Michael Glenn rejected residents’ concerns about the LEP process, saying there was an extensive public consultation process, in a report for the DAs.
Council staff recommend the approval of the subdivisions, but asked for the “geometric” layout of both to be changed as it did not respond well to the site characteristics, according to Mr Glenn.
The landowners declined, saying they wanted to maximise the yield of the site.
A town planner acting for the owners of both sites defended his clients’ right to subdivide, saying both proposals complied with the LEP and the layout was designed by an engineer.
“The blocks are four or five times the size of an urban block,” he said.
“They’re not insensitive to the topography of the site.”
Mrs Brunner said the residents’ group had compiled a table of solutions to give to councillors since the site visit.
“We’re not opposing development, we just don’t understand why you would go for maximum yield in a rural residential lifestyle area,” she said.