Fine unlikely, but car dealer pulled into gear over unloading vehicles

JOHN Davis Motors is unlikely to face a fine for breaching its development consent, providing it fixes the driveway off Edward Street to allow trucks on site when unloading cars to meet Orange City Council requirements.

Edward Street resident Claire Lutkie contacted Central Western Daily staff at the start of the month with her concerns about the “major road safety issue” the business was causing when trucks blocked the street while unloading and loading cars.

Her complaint came after numerous attempts to have council staff crack down on the breach.

This week, Miss Lutkie said the illegal off-site loading was still occurring, but on fewer occasions since the story was published.

“There has been movement at the station, they unloaded in the premises,” she said.

“But they’re still not 100 per cent compliant.”

Council spokesman Nick Redmond said council staff were in discussions with the business, which will be required to fix the driveway to allow all trucks on site.

“The consent requires the trucks to be unloaded on site,” he said.

“Some trucks are having difficulty getting on site because of the profile of the driveway ... the angle of the gutter is too deep and some trucks are scraping on it.

“They [the business] have raised this with us last year, around August.”

Mr Redmond said representatives of the businesses had told council staff all truck drivers were instructed to unload on site, and of the five trucks that visited the dealership each week only one truck breached the requirement.

The ban on trucks unloading/loading on public streets is a requirement of council not the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) or the police, Mr Redmond said.

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“Under RMS rules it is permissible to unload on the street if they [the trucks] are under 19 metres [in length],” he said.

“It’s not an issue for the RMS or the police, it’s about the council working with the applicant.”

He said the business did have the option to ask the council to modify the original development application (DA) to delete the condition forcing on- site unloading/loading, but  ideally the best way to deal with the problem would be to fix the driveway.

The business and the council were yet to set a timeframe for when the work on the driveway will occur, but fines or further action appear unlikely unless an agreement can not be reached.

“We do fine people, but generally after we’ve gone through the process of trying to get the developers over the line to meet the consent,” Mr Redmond said. 

“Alternatively you take a zero tolerance approach to these types of things, [but] if you can’t work through issues you don’t let businesses go about employing people and generating benefits to the economy.”

Mr Redmond said the scenario was not uncommon and council staff were in similar discussions with developers all the time.

“You do a DA and if elements don’t work we regularly have conversations with the developer to find a way to have the consent work,” he said.

“We have 400-plus developments a year and each one of them might have 100 conditions.”

John Davis and the business’s dealer/principal Ben Davis were contacted for comment.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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