ORANGE City Council has watered down a proposal to ban all battleaxe developments in the heritage precinct.
Cr Jeff Whitton’s motion to introduce a 10-block exclusion zone barring developments that take advantage of vacant space on housing blocks from Anson Street to Woodward Street and from Byng Street to Kite Street was lost at Thursday’s meeting.
Instead council staff will now prepare a report to consider options to “limit” infill development in the heritage area following an amendment from Cr Neil Jones.
Cr Jones suggested council wait before introducing the exclusion zone as a working group was already developing an infill policy that may change the rules, including minimum block sizes for battleaxe developments.
“Let’s not do it on the run,” he said.
Cr Peter Hetherington agreed saying the same outcome would be achieved but the report would be a “more ordered approach”.
Mayor John Davis said banning infill developments could devalue some properties by 50 per cent overnight.
But Cr Whitton said the issue would remain a “political football” unless council introduced an exclusion zone.
“We’re just moving the goal posts,” he said.
“The applications will still come through.”
Cr Jeremy Buckingham said some infill developments were appropriate in the heritage conservation area if they were sensitive to the surrounds.
Earlier in the meeting Cr Glenn Taylor suggested council extend the zone to include Moulder and March streets.
He said council would get a “deluge” of applications if it announced it was waiting for a report.
Cr Chris Gryllis voted against the amendment saying initial criticism of infill developments by neighbours usually changes after the residences are built.
“Some [infill developments] are the most beautiful homes in town,” he said.
But Cr Reg Kidd said beauty was in the eye of the beholder and some “reasonable rules” were needed to end the double standards.
Cr Fiona Rossiter said she was concerned about banning all dual occupancies in the precinct as small residences close to the CBD were popular with the ageing population.