Eyesore set to turn a corner

ORANGE councillors have unanimously approved John Davis Motors’ expansion into the former Bob Jane T-Marts site next door for a Renault display area, despite the development having a shortfall of 13 car parking spaces.

Council staff recommended councillors accept the parking shortage and the nine new car spaces, as the development was an extension of the business with no sales proposed from the former Bob Jane building and customers would be able to use the dealership’s existing car park.

Dealer/principal Ben Davis said the parking issues would be addressed when the business lodged another development application (DA) to convert the Bob Jane building into a showroom in the next two to three months.

He said the development would bring all the dealership’s brands and staff onto one site when the business moves out of its Glenroi Avenue premises.

“We’re very happy that it went through with no problems at all, which it should have,” he said.

“It’s fantastic for the business ... and the community as well. It’s a corner block that’s been a vacant eyesore for some time.

“It will look unbelievably smart driving into town to have a new Mazda, Volvo and Renault showroom.”

The development was referred to Roads and Maritimes Services (RMS) due to its proximity to the classified roads of Bathurst Road and Edward Street.

The RMS recommended 16 parking spaces be provided on-site, the four existing driveways off Bathurst Road be closed with kerb and guttering, and no vehicles be unloaded/loaded from Bathurst Road.

But council staff said the nine car spaces, including a disabled parking space and shared zone, were adequate provided the customer car park was physically divided from the vehicle sales area with landscaping, fencing or bollards.

All cars will continue to be unloaded/loaded at the rear of the Mazda dealership via Edward Street.

The staff recommended the two driveways closest to the intersection be closed and the others be kept open in case the Bob Jane site was taken over by another business.

If it remains a car dealership for five years or if the business purchases the land, all four driveways will have to be permanently closed with kerb and guttering.

The two driveways nearest to the intersection will be closed with chain fencing.

Cr John Davis, and his council election running mate Cr Jason Hamling, declared an interest in the development and did not vote.

Cr Reg Kidd also did not vote, declaring a pecuniary interest in the development, but declined to give details to staff at Tuesday’s meeting.

The development is only the second lodged by a councillor or a councillor’s business to be decided in open council since the policy was changed so no councillor or senior staff DA was approved under delegated authority of staff.

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