A PUSH to allow a KFC and Woolworths service station on residential land opposite the north Orange McDonald’s site in Farrell Road is one step closer to being approved, despite Orange City Council remaining steadfastly opposed to the development.
The Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) recommended the proposal be assessed by the NSW Planning Department’s gateway process - upholding the developer’s appeal following council’s rejection in September.
Council’s decision to install a second set of traffic lights at the intersection of Farrell Road and Telopea Way and the controversial McDonald’s approval could be part of the reason.
The panel found that although the site was zoned residential the “amenity impacts” of recent development approvals and the “proposed road intersection upgrades” were likely to “hinder the site’s development for residential uses” making it appropriate to consider alternative uses for the site.
But Cr Neil Jones described the judgement as “patently absurd” and said the residential zoning already allowed for low impact commercial developments more suitable for the area such as community facilities like a medical centre.
“The area is significantly and predominately residential and recreational, with Waratahs, and that’s the basis council has made its decision,” he said.
“Any further commercial development should occur at the Leeds Parade intersection.
“I think they are being short-sighted in how they’ve assessed what can be done in a residential zoning.”
Council development services director David Waddell said he was disappointed by the JRPP’s decision given the strong opposition from the community and councillors.
Senior staff within the planning department will now make an assessment of the proposal before deciding if it should go on public exhibition.
The JRPP also recommended council undertake a strategic review of the north Orange shopping centre, its role, traffic and access issues and associated land use zoning and development controls.
But Cr Jones said council already had a clear plan for the area, and there was land nearby for the centre’s future expansion.
He said the JRPP’s decision showed there was a flaw in the planning system.
“Some of these decisions have been taken out of the hands of the people who know the area best and the wishes of the community and put in the hands of developers who perhaps don’t have the interests of the community at heart,” he said.