A decision to refuse an unmanned motel proposed for Dalton Street could land Orange City Council in court.
The developer of the 36-room motel Bryce McDougall asked the new council to reconsider the May 14 decision and approve the controversial development or he would initiate legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court.
But he was unable to attract support from any of the four new councillors at Thursday’s meeting, with all 10 present agreeing to uphold the refusal.
Two residents objecting to the motel spoke at the start of the meeting, outlining their concerns about the development.
They welcomed the refusal saying the development was unsuitable for the area.
Dalton Street resident Ebben Hawkin said changes made to the original application, including a reduction in building height, additional CCTV and provision for a fence between the motel and a neighbouring childcare centre, did not go far enough to sway residents’ opposition.
“We feel the minor changes have not at all addressed the issues that make this an unsuitable location,” he said.
“The shared driveway is still a recipe for disaster.”
Fellow resident Robyn Smith shared Mr Hawkin’s sentiments and was also concerned about the development’s incompatibility with the existing character and amenity of the quiet residential area and increased traffic noise.
Mrs Smith reminded the councillors that the owners of the childcare centre, who had written in support of the motel, were also the owners of the vacant site set to financially benefit when Mr McDougall leased the land for the prefabricated motel buildings.
But in the end, the security of the site was used by councillors to justify the decision to reject the development application.
“It’s the safety aspect, as well as looking ugly, as well as being unsupervised,” Cr Chris Gryllis said.
Cr Jeff Whitton was confident the safety concerns would be defensible in court, while many of the other issues raised were not.
But Cr Neil Jones said the council could build a stronger case beyond the safety concerns because of the potential impact on the area’s neighbourhood, based on a clause in the council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP).
General manager Garry Styles said the council would intend to win the case if it went to court.