Around here, there are lots of planning applications. Over the years, I’ve lodged objections to a few but these days I’m selective – development is a fact of life and I’ve had to learn to “live with it”.
However, a recent proposal in the area seemed so excessive that I just had to lodge an objection. It exceeded the height being proposed in a planning scheme amendment (generous in itself, in my view), it seemed insensitively designed and there were obvious traffic issues. The objectors were all invited to a “consultative meeting” at which the town planner representing the developer was present along with all three ward councillors plus the Council planning officer and perhaps 20 or so objectors. All the concerns were articulated (along with some non-planning matters, as is usual at this type of occasion!), and although the developer’s planner did his best, he seemed not to have some of the answers.
The Council can be a bit unpredictable on occasions such as this (since the councillors are supposed not to have pre-judged the matter, they’re very cautious about what they say), but within days I received a letter dated 2 days after the meeting stating that the Council had refused the application. I was impressed.
Now it’s back in the developer’s court. I guess he can start again, although another strategy could be to appeal to VCAT and work in a few amendments to the plans along the way. My hunch is that he would be better starting again, as the grounds given by the Council in its refusal seemed extremely valid, but the reality is that he will probably try and push it through VCAT, with the aim of making as few concessions as possible.