Monday March 8 – Commissioner Brown ruled today that the development failed in certain key areas and was therefore rejected. There were three main reasons for non-acceptance.
Firstly, the proposal was not suitable as it was not in keeping with the surrounding character of 2 storey modest housing in a leafy area on wooded slopes. The proposed multi storey appearance in bulk from ground level and from the water contrasted significantly with the surrounds. Despite this specific block of land being zoned commercial, the final usage still had to be compatible with the neighbourhood. The Commissioner ruled that DCP159 (Council’s character DCP) has standing as detailed support of the relevant LEP.
Secondly, the Commissioner cited the removal of 100 trees with no possible replacement on site was excessive loss of vegetation. He did not accept that landscaping would have any affect and felt any backdrop was likely to be lost.
Thirdly, the Commissioner said that the exceeding of the height planes for the building was not acceptable. The lack of privacy, bulk and scale were also not acceptable.
Friday March 5 – The court hearing ended today and we are hopeful of a positive outcome. A decision will be announced at 3pm on Monday, March 8. If the decision goes our way that will be the end of the matter, otherwise the battle will continue.
Above: Wednesday March 3 – Over two hundred members of the community who arrived for the on-site inspection to protest the development. Here they listen to statements being made by community representatives in support of Gosford City Council against the project.
Wednesday March 3 – Apart from hearing statements from community representatives, the Court spent the day examining the site itself and adjoining properties.
In the photo on the left they are looking at the rear of the properties. The proposed construction would remove a major part of one of two remnant spotted gum forests in this area.The height and bulk of the proposed building are indicated by the sight poles which the court required for the inspection. The poles have been enhanced for clarity.
In the photo on the right members of the community gather under Killcare’s famous Yum Yum trees prior to the start of proceedings.
The community has been fighting this contentious proposed development for over eighteen months. We are facing issues such as bulk, threat to our treasured local character and scenic quality, traffic congestion and removal of significant trees. The few remaining trees would be endangered by inevitable water table changes caused by the excavation.
Community concern has been so strong that it produced over 600 individual objections to the original proposed development in 2008 and 731 individual objections to the second attempt in 2009.
We appreciated Gosford Council’s rejection of the proposed development. However, this has resulted in the developer challenging in the Land & Environment Court. Despite Council’s best efforts the battle is not over!
Gosford City Council has assembled an excellent legal team and expert witnesses. We hope that this action, combined with significant community support, will persuade the Court to reject the developer’s proposal and preserve our heritage.
The developer has, in the past three weeks, made many changes to the application in an attempt to satisfy Council’s technical requirements (mainly measures to reduce the Floor Space Ratio or FSR). We have been wading through these amendments and believe that, while they may go some way with regard to technical requirements, they in no way address community concerns.
Local community groups, including this Association have been assisting council’s solicitors, Donnellans, wherever possible. Association members, Fay Gunther and Richard Harper, were selected to appear and speak to the court on behalf of the Association & the community (see above). The Hardys Bay Residents Group and other community groups also provided speakers.