Council rejects development plan

ARE Clarence Valley councillors anti-development? Well, two men who want to develop a high-profile residential apartment block in Maclean think so.

Bob Brownlow is the part-owner of a 2.3 hectare block of land in Iona Close, Maclean which, he hopes, will eventually house a 123-unit residential development.

The development application (DA) went before Clarence Valley Council (CVC) last week but was narrowly knocked back by councillors in a five/four vote.

Mr Brownlow said he was disappointed CVC appeared to be 'anti-development' and said he hoped 'common sense and logic' would prevail.

“(The development) is not out of keeping with the area; it's something the area desperately needs,” he said.

“It lies within close proximity to the CBD, hospital and sporting facilities . . . and is a level walk to all facilities.”

Mr Brownlow said CVC had already approved an earlier DA for the site which, although involving fewer units, was of a similar size.

“The (previous) DA has a similar sized footprint to this new proposal and was bulkier,” he said.

“This building has far less visual impact than the one previously approved.”

The DA's applicant, Peter Evans, described CVC's decision to block the development as 'crazy'.

“The global financial crisis is affecting everyone, yet Clarence Valley Council has rejected a $35 million medium-density development,” Mr Evans said.

“We would like to understand why councillors believe there is too much density when we are considerably under the requirements outlined by council under their medium-density zoning.

“I just question where Maclean will be if (council) does not embrace a quality housing alternative.”

One of the five councillors who opposed the development, Ian Dinham, said he would have liked to approve the development because it had 'merit', but said the applicant had refused to budge on suggested amendments.

“Privacy issues were a problem and despite council requests, the applicant was reluctant to comply. (As well,) the exceeding of the height level is substantial,” Cr Dinham said yesterday.

“Some changes were made but at the end of the day it (the building) just doesn't comply.

“Council goes to great pains to protect the amenity of our area and council needs to be mindful of that when developments don't comply.”

The applicant will now seek further meetings with council to try to have the decision reversed.

'This development is not out of keeping with the area; it's something the area desperately needs.'

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