Saving trees on Dalton Street and on the old Orange Base Hospital site was a priority in the future development of the location, a public forum was told this week.
Orange City Council is creating planning guidelines for the site with indicative designs showing it could become home to 61 units and 15 townhouses with a central park site next to the new DPIE building on Prince Street.
Orange and District Historical Society member Euan Greer called for trees to be retained at Monday night's forum at the council chambers.
"Retention of any street trees should be mandatory," he said.
Mr Greer said he also believed the development should not exceed five storeys.
Council's Development Service director Mark Hodges said it was expected 'where we can' the trees would not be removed.
"They [developers] would want to have a pretty good story to remove any trees on the site, both the site and the street trees. The plan was around keeping those [trees]," he said.
"The focus is on trees, open space."
Mr Hodges said while the preliminary plans were for housing, commercial development of the site would also be allowed.
"Technically the zoning allows for it, the small neighbourhood-style development," he said.
"You are not going to see like a Woolworths supermarket [but] the small stuff is permissable."
The plans are on public exhibition until Friday.
Council's acting director of Corporate and Commercial Services Nick Redmond said eight submissions had been received with some expressing concerns over car parking and the future of Sale Street between Prince and Dalton streets.
Mr Redmond said once a Development Control Plan was established council could sell the site to a developer to build on.
"I think there will be a pretty solid appetite for the DCP [from developers]," he said. "A few people have already been in touch with us."
He said council had looked at a similar development in Wagga Wagga, The Mill, as a suggestion for inner-city re-development for housing.
"That was sort of a reference point for us," he said.
That includes a six-storey hotel with 148 rooms.
Unlike council's last public forum on February 25 where 160 people attended to discuss mountain biking plans for Mount Canobolas Monday's forum had about 17 people attend.
They included local business operators who said they were concerned about car parking, Sale Street and the size of the development.
The plan is available for comment on council's website and at the council offices.
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