IT may have been recommended for approval by Orange City Council staff, but an extension proposed for Byng Street Local Store has been labelled a glass box by its neighbours.
Councillors will have the final say on Thursday night when they consider the application to demolish the garage facing Clinton Street, remove four trees and add a takeaway window and pavilion extension to cover the outdoor dining area.
The modification to a 2012 development consent for a restaurant and shop has been with the council since November last year due to concerns about the business’s relationship to adjoining properties, the streetscape and the impact on neighbours, and staff suggested a redesign.
The plans were publicly exhibited twice, gaining 57 submissions – 30 from the business community and some nearby residents in support and 27 from neighbours in opposition, with some residents making up to three submissions.
Betty Thomson was one of the objectors with noise concerns and she contended the design’s size and modern look was not fit for a heritage-conservation area.
“I believe it is unreasonable for council to require residential owners to comply with heritage requirements without also requiring commercial operators to do the same thing,” she said.
After the takeaway roller door was removed, bulk and scale cut back and the setback from Clinton Street increased, staff were satisfied the business would be “substantially the same” as the original consent because the seating limit of 69 would remain and noise could be dealt with.
Owner Jeremy Norris did not object to the conditions, which included all external doors and most windows closed after 6pm, barrier fencing for the western boundary, a concrete pedestal for the coffee knock box and noise monitoring once operation started.
Her said the restricted hours of operation of 7am-10pm on Monday to Saturday and 7am-6pm on Sundays and public holidays already existed and he intended to keep 3pm closing times on weekends.
“We like the staff to have a life and we can’t be open all the time,” he said.
Mr Norris said he asked the architect to design an extension with an outdoor feel.
“I love it,” he said.
“It’s nice to have a bit of modernity – if you walk around any city in the world, there’s a lot of heritage and a lot of old buildings and they are blended with new architecture, and that’s how it should be.”
“When it’s raining, we can only fit 35 people and winter in Orange is quite long so it’s going to improve our facility for our customers,” Mr Norris said.
He said the design would in fact improve the streetscape because the garage would be gone.
Council staff noted several complaints in recent years about ongoing breaches in trading hours, noise from nighttime functions and plant equipment, commercial bread baking, exceeding patron and seating capacity limits and illegal parking by patrons across residents' driveways.
Penalty notices have been issued in the past for operating hours breaches, but Mr Norris was adamant the business always followed the rules set for it.
“We’re hopeful it will go through, we’ll see what happens on the night,” he said.
He pointed out the proposal had also been well supported in submissions.
Neighbours have also previously objected to a liquor licence for the cafe.