The $5.3 million cost of building Housing Plus' 19-unit development in north Orange has been questioned by residents opposed to its construction.
Residents who live in the streets surrounding the proposed Emerald Street development met at Waratah Sports Club on Monday to share their concern that the construction figure had been inflated to "circumvent the democratic process".
The social and affordable housing proposal will not go before Orange City Council as it exceeds the $5 million threshold, and as such is regarded as `regionally significant' and therefore the state government's Regional Planning Panel is required to assess the application.
I've been through this before. It is not a happy ending. It becomes a ghettoDiane Wellard
More than 60 people heard from meeting organisers that the government panel "is obviously not as connected to the wishes of the Orange community as our councillors are and Housing Plus feel they will get a better outcome".
Several residents voiced concerns that the people moving in to the development would be a threat to the security of their homes and families, increase congestion in the area and drive down property prices.
Housing Plus project director Justin Cantelo previously told the Central Western Daily there had been "misinformation put forward by objectors" and the organisation wanted to talk to residents about the project.
"We understand that people fear what they do not understand and we encourage members of the community with questions about the Emerald Street development to come to us directly," he said.
Residents questioning the build cost claim Housing Plus has quoted construction at $279,000 per unit in north Orange, when what they claim is a similar unit was quoted at $198,000 for Housing Plus's now withdrawn Forbes Road project.
A $330,000 design fee, a $115,000 'soft landscaping' fee and the $22,000 cost of a bin area were questioned.
Orange Councillor Glenn Taylor told those gathered they should demand an independent assessment. "Just because it's social or affordable housing it does not negate your right to protect the value of your property," Cr Taylor said.
Diane Wellard moved to north Orange after a Mission Australia housing development went up near her home in Taree. She said police frequently responded to domestic violence incidents and there were hypodermic needles in the street.
Mrs Wellard said she wanted everyone to have somewhere to live but a development the scale of what was proposed for north Orange would have the same result as it did in Taree.
"I've been through this before. It is not a happy ending. It becomes a ghetto," she said.
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