ARARAT - Ararat Rural City Council has given the green light to a controversial development of 24 dwellings and a 31 lot subdivision in Grano Street.
The development is situated at 137-139 Grano Street, two and a half kilometres east of the centre of Ararat.
Council resolved to issue a planning permit for the application which has been subject to several conditions including infrastructure, drainage, access, landscaping and parking.
Owner of an adjacent property Cor Lenghaus addressed councillors ahead of their decision at April's Ordinary meeting on whether to proceed with what he has described as a 'gross over development'.
"The style of development of the 24 units proposed is totally out of keeping with what is there," he said.
"While the 24 units themselves attract most discussion the remainder is subdivided into seven small blocks for which there is presently very little demand in Ararat.
"People who buy residential property at the edge of town are looking for larger, serviced areas for themselves, kids, pets and garden. This is what the area offers."
Cr Gwenda Allgood said councillors had consulted widely, attending briefings and meetings about the proposal before making their decision.
"It's not just something that we just jump up and move and second very quickly, we take advice from the officers because I think they've covered everything in their report," she said.
"This could end up at VCAT, we don't know, but that is an option for the objector to actually take it to VCAT."
Councillor Ian Harris reinforced the remarks by Cr Allgood saying he had confidence in the work of the council officers responsible for recommending the development be given the go ahead.
"I would strongly suspect that the developer is going to react very negatively to the conditions that have been imposed on this and in a contentious development of this nature if the council doesn't support the quality of the reporting that the staff have done, we're letting ourselves down," he said.
"Whilst I personally have very strong reservations about the development per say, as a councillor I am happy to support the recommendations of our council staff."
The subject land is vacant, consists of two parcels with frontages of about 70 metres to Grano Street which is constructed to a sealed residential road standard and Hargreaves Street which is constructed to an unsealed residential road standard, and about 100 metres to Burns Street which is constructed to a sealed residential road standard.
The site has an overall area of 7120 m2 and falls gradually (about three metres) from north to south.
The proposed development would see the subdivision of the existing two parcels into 31 allotments and the erection of two rows of 12 units along a common property access road running parallel to Burns Street.
Seven units will be erected on the remaining allotments along Burn Street, however, as these lots are above 300 m2, these seven dwellings do not require planning permission.
Council officers considered two objections to the proposal based on the potential impacts of the density and design of the development on the neighbourhood, as well as the legibility of the proposal.
The proposal was to found to have generally met the requirements of the Ararat Planning Scheme including the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) and the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS).
Assessment against the relevant provisions of the Ararat Planning Scheme highlighted neighbourhood character, onsite amenity, existing vegetation and heritage value of 145 Grano Street, separation distance between the abattoir and proposed development, protection of existing mature vegetation and car parking as issues for consideration.
"Council officers have applied red letter law in reviewing this proposal, much of which better applies to the metropolitan area rather than a more lifestyle oriented country town such as Ararat," Mr Lenghaus said.
"In my opinion, the only character this proposed development would bring to the area is 'slum'.
"I honestly think that within a short period of time their could be very serious social problems there. Gangs, red light district and limited access to general community.
"I think this a very valuable site which should be saved for a far more worthy purpose."