A prominent site along the Great Western Highway is the only possible location on the table to build Taco Bell in Bathurst.
Interested parties had the opportunity to discuss the development application (DA), which was lodged in November, at a discussion forum at Bathurst Regional Council's meeting on Wednesday.
Prior to the forum, neighbours near the corner of Stewart and Howick streets, were advised of the DA and given the opportunity to make submissions, which generated a long list of concerns about the impact of the drive-through fast-food restaurant.
These included concerns about traffic, the safety of pedestrians, impact on peace and privacy of neighbours. and the potential for noise, light and odour pollution.
Among the speakers at Wednesday's forum was the developer, Hector Abbott of McDuck Properties, who wanted to address some of the concerns.
While understanding of the concerns residents have, he also defended the choice of location, noting that there was no other option.
I consulted with representatives from Taco Bell, who decided that was the one and only, and preferred, site within Bathurst.Developer, Hector Abbott of McDuck Properties
"When the site was first identified by myself, I consulted with representatives from Taco Bell, who decided that was the one and only, and preferred, site within Bathurst that they wanted to site their restaurant," Mr Abbott said.
"My first port of call then was to council's town planning office, and that was in June of last year. I was advised ... that it is of course permissible in the zone, subject to a DA and all the usual regulations."
One of the concerns opponents have raised about the location is that the site, which is 2024 square metres, is too small to house Taco Bell without being right up against the fence of neighbouring property owners.
However, Mr Abbott disagreed, saying there are other Taco Bells planned for smaller sites.
"I'm putting one in Tamworth on 1708 square metres - and I'm expecting the DA out any day now from Tamworth council - so it can fit on a site even smaller," he said.
Mr Abbott's arguments were expanded on by planning consultant Matthew Wales.
He said the proposal "generally" complies with Bathurst's planning controls and noted that, if approved, Taco Bell would be able to offer full-time and part-time employment to around 70 people and generate wages totalling more than $500,000 each year.
The DA will be referred to a future meeting of council for determination.
Between now and then, the developers plan to address the concerns raised by the community in the hopes of making the proposal more acceptable to all parties.
MAP: The location of the proposed Taco Bell store on the Great Western Highway
"We take these public submissions very, very seriously as we are particularly conscious of any potential impacts that may affect adjoining neighbours," Mr Wales said.
"It is important to my client that he maintains good relationships with his neighbours, both during this process and hopefully in the future during the operation of the business.
"As an experienced operator ... my client takes his responsibilities in meeting both council and the community's expectations very seriously.
"We have endeavoured to engage with local residents, with the view to listening to those concerns and addressing as many of those as possible. Of course, we understand that not everyone will be totally satisfied, but we have and will be making every attempt to ensure the impacts of this business are mitigated where possible."
It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.