THE developer of a motel proposed for Dalton Street said he was surprised the development was knocked back by Orange City Council, as council staff had been the ones to suggest the vacant site to him last year.
Bryce McDougall said staff took him on a tour of potential sites for the 36-room unmanned motel in the mayor’s car last year as they said Orange was “crying out” for more accommodation.
“It’s disheartening because a lot of effort has gone into ensuring it would be good for the community of Orange,” he said.
“I assume council have taken notice of exaggerated concerns.”
He said the personal positions of neighbours were driving council’s decision and he would appeal the verdict after he finds why the application was refused.
“I’m quite surprised they can disregard the recommendations of the staff,” he said.
“The council introduced me to 57 Dalton Street so it’s doubly perplexing.”
Deputy mayor Jeff Whitton said safety impacts of the motel sharing a driveway with the adjacent childcare centre was the main reason councillors voted unanimously to order a report into the application’s refusal.
The bulk and scale of the project for the residential area was another concern.
“The applicant has the option to redesign it ... to take into account these concerns and overcome them,” he said.
“The refusal is only on the current application.
“It’s not just a fact that we don’t want it here.”
Objector Robyn Smith welcomed the refusal which she said was “unexpected”.
“We’re happy that this may be the end of the application,” she said.
She was surprised council staff had encouraged the motel’s development in a quiet residential street.
Cr Whitton said even the applicant had raised the potential safety implications of the shared driveway.
“I truly do believe we have have grounds for a legal refusal based on the safety of the children,” he said.
Mr McDougall said he was prepared to go further than a stop sign with boom gates or a complete redesign to give the motel its own driveway, which he says has precedent in Orange.
But Ms Smith said she couldn’t see how boom gates would improve safety.
Cr Whitton said the decision showed councillors were listening to the what people were saying about developments in Orange but said he felt the motel was the type of accommodation Orange needed.
“Orange is crying out for more accommodation,” he said.
“It seems to work in other places [but] I’d probably prefer to see more accommodation under [on-site] management.”
Mr McDougall said he may be forced to develop the motel in another town if the application continues to be refused by council.