A SECOND-storey addition to a unit in Moulder Street has been approved despite misgivings it could set a damaging precedent in the heritage area.
Orange City Council heard from five residents concerned the proposal at 61B was too bulky, affected neighbours’ amenity and did not fit with the heritage conservation area.
Hill Street resident Dr Ian Carter reiterated his earlier submissions the development did not comply with council visual bulk guidelines and individuals should not be allowed to deviate.
“The western elevation [will be] encroaching between 1.4 to 1.6 metres for a length 11-and-a-half metres so we’re talking about a building which is 900 millimetres off the boundary of my backyard, which is a considerable length and height and doesn’t comply with standards,” he said.
Source Architects director Sally Sutherland, speaking on behalf of the applicants, said privacy screening had been added at the request of one of the neighbours.
“Nowhere does it say an extension must be invisible,” she said.
Daniel Foch suggested approval would lead to councillor Scott Munro adding second storeys to his unit development at number 51.
Cr Munro earlier in the night elected not to declare a conflict of interest and remained in the chamber for the debate.
“I’m not going to make any changes to my plans,” he said.
Councillor Neil Jones opposed the application, noting while other development applications on the fringe of the heritage conservation area, such as the Quest Apartments proposal, had been referred to an external heritage adviser, the Moulder Street proposal had not.
Fellow councillor Jeff Whitton said councillors had no legal reason to knock it back.
“But that doesn’t make it right,” he said.
“If we approve this, we are approving every other townhouse in that cluster to have a double storey.”
Councillor Glenn Taylor asked if the matter could be deferred for a heritage report, but with the matter already deferred twice previously, once for a site inspection and a second due to a lack of a quorum, councillors decided against it.
With councillors evenly split, mayor John Davis used his casting vote to reject the motion to refuse the development and a subsequent motion to approve it was passed five councillors to three.
“Do we lock up shop? We have the rules, do we stand by them by hook or by crook as long as it complies?”