OUR SAY: Planning laws eating away at North Orange residents

IT is no wonder north Orange residents feel powerless when it comes to having a say on what development in the area can go ahead, especially when the decision is taken away from the council. 

Residents face the prospect of another planning decision that would open the way for a second takeaway food outlet and service station, less than a year after Orange City Council and north Orange residents lost the battle against the controversial McDonald’s restaurant in north Orange just off the Northern Distributor Road. 

The McDonald’s restaurant is being built on Farrell Road, opposite the proposed new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and service station on the intersection of Farrell Road and Telopea Way.

Residents lobbied hard against McDonald’s at that particular site and Orange City councillors voted down the proposal but the developers took the council to the Land and Environment Court and won. 

But in this situation the land on which the service station and fast-food restaurant is proposed to be built is zoned residential, meaning it cannot be permitted. 

STORY: North Orange residents can't stomach another food fight

Except that it seems zoning rules account for little when it comes down to the crunch of what can  be built where. 

The Western Joint Regional Planning Panel will consider whether to allow the development to go ahead. 

If the project is given approval, a restaurant and a service station will be built on residential land. 

The council is opposed to the project because of the additional traffic that would be generated and because other suitable land with the necessary zoning is available on the distributor road.

The traffic situation at the Farrell Road-Telopea Way intersection has barely improved since the installation of a second set of traffic lights and that situation will only be compounded by the completion of the McDonald’s restaurant.

If the JRPP grant the development, the decision will trump the power of a local council to control its own planning laws.

It is no wonder residents feel like the battle is over before it has begun.

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