Up to $120,000 could be spent by the Sunshine Coast council defending its decision to reject a 20-unit development at Point Arkwright, near Coolum.
The council has decided to ratify a decision to defend the action, which has been initiated by the developer appealing on the grounds of “deemed refusal” – a situation where it can be assumed the council would knock back the application.
The court action was initiated in November last year, and it was only last week that the council recommended following staff advice by refusing the application.
Divisional councillor and planning portfolio chair Vivien Griffin said the developer of the Dewar Street unit proposal had the right to take court action.
“One of the elements of the Integrated Planning Act was to ensure councils did not sit on applications for long times,” she said. “The progress of the application is in the hands of the applicant.”
Ms Griffin said council had asked for an assessment extension late last year and more information from the applicant, but there was a log-jam of activity towards the end of last year because of amalgamation pressures.
“One of the difficulties is a relatively long lead time (for an application) to get to strategy and planning consideration,” Ms Griffin said.
Development Watch president Brian Raison said, however, the council “may have been asleep at the wheel”.
“I was concerned about the deemed refusal – council doesn’t normally let this go,” he said.
“I believe they had too much on their plate (at the time).”
Mr Raison said the council would have knocked it back anyway.
He said he attended the court’s preliminary hearing and heard it would not undertake further hearings until the council had made a decision.
Local resident Olwyn Ball said she was “disappointed” that under the previous Maroochy council, the town plan, which residents had specially negotiated in relation to the small number of streets at Point Arkwright, had been repeatedly ignored in development applications.
“The result has been a cumulative effect which has totally negated what was envisaged for Point Arkwright under the Maroochy plan,” she said. “And this application is particularly galling for those who put submissions in for that town plan.”
Ms Griffin said 72 public submissions were received regarding the application, “most of them negative”.
“There are a lot of inconsistencies and we have significant concerns,” she said.
Council staff recommended refusal on the grounds the application was outside the Maroochy plan – in density, size and height issues – and did not fit in with the area’s amenity.
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