A WONTHAGGI developer has been accused of playing roulette with nearby residents after he once again failed to produce relevant documents.
Last year the developer used a legal loophole to ensure the development would escape council scrutiny and go direct to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Now a VCAT conference has been deferred because the developer failed to supply documentation in time. The conference has been postponed until May 24.
VCAT will be informed that the council would have refused the subdivision, which adjoins the Wonthaggi heathlands, transfer station and cemetery.
Last year the developer failed to meet council deadlines to produce documentation then referred the application to VCAT on the grounds that the council had failed to determine the application within the required 60 days.
Cr Tessari said it was “a ridiculous scenario” that a developer could use the system to bypass council consideration of plans and go straight to VCAT.
The land is zoned low density residential, and the 93 lots range in size from 2000 square metres to around 4500 square metres.
There were 28 objections to the proposal, most from residents of Reed Crescent, which will provide the main access to the subdivision. Seven of the objectors will be a party to the VCAT hearing.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, councillors voted unanimously to inform VCAT that it would have refused the application on the grounds that the application would not result in orderly planning or secure a pleasant residential living environment and that it did not address drainage issues.
A council report points out that the statutory declaration confirming the applicant had notified neighbours and other stakeholders was not returned to the council until December 13, 2017. The application to VCAT for failure to determine was dated 13 October, 2017.
At a compulsory conference between the developer and the council on February 28 2018, the applicant agreed to supply relevant information, including a drainage strategy and landscaping buffer plan, by March 26 for the council to consider its position on the application. The information was never received.
Cr Tessari told the Post the developer’s tactics had created overwhelming negativity in Reed Crescent residents.
“There are major drainage issues. They are concerned that they have one way in and one way out in the event of fire. They have real concerns and I do too.
“I’m not against a development on that land. A lot of residents aren’t either. The question is whether 93 half-acre lots is desirable. Maybe one-acre or two-acre lots would be more appropriate in that area.”
Proximity to the old Wonthaggi tip may prove the major hurdle for the applicant. The council’s waste team objected to the development, pointing out that work is likely to start on rehabilitating the former Wonthaggi landfill within five years. The former landfill was unlined, and there is potential for leachate or contaminated storm water to flow onto the south western portion of the site.
They cited the Brookland Greens Estate in Cranbourne, where gas from a former landfill site was detected in private homes in 2008. In that case a 200 metre buffer was insufficient and residents were required to relocate for up to 24 months.