A developer taking Orange City Council to the Land and Environment Court over refusing a boarding house plan has challenged the councillors to back their actions with cash.
Rob Hart, the director of Sydney-based County Construction, is seeking to have a six-room boarding house approved in Nyrang Road.
Council has rejected the development application on a range of grounds.
It's time that Orange council is held to public accountRob Hart, Country Construction developer
However, Mr Hart, said he was 'supremely confident' of winning his case at the court and claimed the council was wasting ratepayers' money in challenging it.
Mr Hart has called on mayor Reg Kidd and other councillors to pay $10,000 of their own money toward the costs if council loses the case.
"If council defeats my proposal, I will pay $10,000 from my own pocket to an Orange-based charity of [Cr Kidd's] choosing," he said.
"It's time that Orange council is held to public account, I will put my money where my mouth is. [Are Cr] Kidd [and the councillors] so confident about the councils case that [they] will do the same?" Council refused the DA this month on grounds including being too big for the site, building over the sewer and insufficient turning room for cars.
It followed submissions by the NSW Police and Essential Energy also opposing the development. "Essential Energy notes that the new driveway is too close to existing electricity infrastructure and the NSW Police have safety and siting concerns," a report to council said.
"Police have a reasonable expectation that the development, should council decide to approve it, will have an impact on the current crime trends," the NSW Police submission stated.
However, Cr Kidd said he and the council would not be threatened.
He said the decision to refuse the DA had been made after staff had thoroughly researched the application.
"You trust your staff, your trust your police and have to trust Essential Energy. Council staff are all highly qualified, he said."
Cr Kidd said the matter would be decided by the court and council would follow the processes, including the costs involved.
Mr Hart said the reasons for refusal did not stack up. "I've never seen a more weak set of reasons to refuse an application in 20 years of Land and Environment Court proceedings," he said.
"Council zoned this land for a boarding house, not me, if it's not a suitable area why did they zone it for same? I have a DA in for a single-level six-room boarding house, I am permitted to go up to 12 rooms and two floors. I choose not to so I could fit in with the local streetscape and amenity."
"Orange Council provides no guidelines for boarding house design, yet they zone the land for boarding houses. What parameters are they assessing this on when they don't have any?
"I've bent over backward to under-develop this site."
He said the case would start on May 7.
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