Council votes to approve DA for 3 High Street unit block development

The existing house at 3 High Street, the location where plans for a four-storey unit block have been approved by Nambucca Valley Council.

AFTER a year of discussion, arguments, a realisation that Council was not following due process, a reversal, more discussions and several more professional opinions, the development application (DA) for 3 High Street, Nambucca has been approved.

Owners Sandy and Bruce Mason can now get on with their plans to build a four-storey unit block on the site.

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The neighbourhood has been embroiled in conflict since plans were first approved by Nambucca Valley Council in October of 2021 to sell a section of Hill Street frontage to the developers.

“We’ve had two lots of legal advice, the second confirming the first opinion,” said Mayor Rhonda Hoban at last Thursday’s Council meeting.

“We’ve had the staff assess this DA and that was questioned or challenged.

“We had an independent assessment of the DA, again paid for by ratepayers of the shire.

“Then the view assessment was challenged so we got an independent assessment of that, again paid for.

“The dilemma that I have is: How many times and how many experts are we going to ask every other ratepayer to pay for?” said Mayor Hoban, indicating she would be supporting the resolution to approve the development application.

Owner Sandy Mason spoke for the development at the meeting.

“Number 3 High Street was zoned for medium density and we’ve paid council rates accordingly.

“So it would be natural to think that a unit block was always going to be built on this land,” Mrs Mason told Council.

Bruce Mason opened his address to council by thanking the Mayor personally for acknowledging the life of Councillor Barry Duffas with a minute’s silence earlier in the meeting.

As a “very good friend of the Duffas family”, Mr Mason said he would pass on that Council and a full gallery had stood in Barry’s honour.

Mr Mason told Council his family had not purchased number 3 High Street because it had a house on it, but because it was the same zoning as the block beside it, number 1 High Street.

“Both Council’s own planner and the independent planner recommend the DA for approval tonight,” he said.

Other residents of 1 High Street, Bernie Perkins and David Pleasance, presented numerous reasons why they believed the plans, as they stand, are in breach of Council’s Development Control Plan (DCP).

Mr Perkins reminded Council of their original resolution of May 2023, that approval be granted ‘subject to the development not resulting in view loss to surrounding properties any greater than a development on 3 High Street’.

He maintains that with the purchase of the street frontage sold to the Masons by Council, the development will now be larger and have more impact on views for neighbouring properties.

Therefore, not in line with its original conditions for approval.

Mention was also made of the irregular way in which the original plan to sell a portion of a street to the developers was formed.

At the time, Council staff made arrangements which were later considered not to have followed due process and the matter was delayed until correct procedure could be followed.

Councillor Susan Jenvey tried to sway fellow Councillors to refuse the DA on the grounds that it was inconsistent with the DCP, but her new motion to deny the development was not supported by any other councillors present.

Council’s Manager of Development and Environment, Daniel Walsh reminded Council that the Environmental Plan and Assessment Act requires Council to be flexible in how they apply provisions of the DCP.

Finally, Mayor Hoban, Deputy Mayor Wilson, Councillors M Ballangarry and Vance voted for the motion.

Councillor Jenvey voted against.

No other Councillors were present and the motion to reclassify a section of Hill Street and to approve the DA2023/015 was carried, clearing the way for works to commence.

According to Mayor Hoban, those objecting to the development or Council’s handling of the matter will now need to take their case to the Land and Environment Court of NSW, a specialist court that deals with specific types of legal problems arising under planning, environmental and mining laws.


A proposed architect’s design of 3 High Street, Nambucca. Photo: Casa Koala Pty Ltd website.

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