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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

PUB Test: General Manager finally responds and defends staff in DCP debacle

The Eurobodalla General Manager has finally acquiesced to correspond with the residents who have twice now presented to Council providing details of how the Council has failed them and the consequences that they suffer as a result of what they consider to be failures in procedures in development application processing and meeting community expectations in regards to communications. The image below is of a house that has been allowed to be built a full 8m inside the required 12m setback for rural residential homes.

As you can see the building looms over its neighbour and sits only 4m off the boundary. That window is a kitchenette and the small verandah is an alfresco area and the beside a pool. If you were a neighbour would you expect to have been notified that the house next door was going to be allowed to sit just 4m off the boundary (rather than the required 12m) and would loom over your privacy? Too right you would. And the Council’s own Community Engagement Framework and Participation Plan agrees. But instead of accepting that staff made a monumental cockup and failed to notify of what is a considerable variation that has a considerable detrimental impact on the adjoining dwelling this is what the General Manager wrote, by way of attempting to exonerate her staff. Public notification

Council’s Community Engagement Framework and Participation Plan generally requires

where there is non-compliance with a development standard or acceptable solution, that a

development application is notified to adjoining owners. However, the Framework further

states that where the non-compliance is reasonably thought not to have a detrimental

impact on adjoining properties, the application does not need to be notified. The criteria

for determining this, is if there are detrimental impacts regarding:

• views

• solar access

• privacy

• emissions

• bulk and scale

• streetscape

• siting

• topography

• environment.

I am informed that the development at 15 Highlands Avenue as assessed, is not considered

to have a detrimental impact on the adjoining dwelling at 27 Highlands Avenue, when

these matters are considered. And who informed the General Manager? The staff who made the cockup? Has the General Manager actually been on site to see for herself and make her own determination rather than be "informed" that everything is above board? No. The General Manager also wrote: It is considered that the development does not affect your views, does not overshadow your dwelling, and has limited effect on your privacy. Really General Manager? Really? Obviously you don't drink at the same PUB that your ratepayers drink at because this statement does not pass the pub test.

Above: according to the General Manger in her letter to the McBrides (August 2nd, 2022) It is considered that the development does not affect your views, does not overshadow your dwelling, and has limited effect on your privacy. When the senior planner was questioned about the 4 meter offset he claimed that the land was infact residential rather than rural residential and that the building could be 0.9m off the boundary if they wished. The planner was quickly corrected that the land was zoned R5 (which he disputed). The response was that the land was less that 5000m2 to which he was corrected and told it was 5030m making it Rural Residential. The planners response to the 30m2 difference was that it was pedantics.

Possibly now we might look at the General Manager's response claiming the building does not overshadow (being to cast a shadow) and remind her of the many other definitions of the word overshadow such as loom, dwarf, dominate, shroud and tower. Pedantics ? Given that the image above is taken from what was going to be the toilet and bathroom area one might also feel that a view from an adjacent kitchenette has far more than a limited effect on your privacy. The General Manager's letter is written in such a way as to say "go away, nothing more to say here". "I appreciate that you have differing views from Council staff regarding the approval of the DA for *********** Avenue, and I am sorry that this has caused you concern". This letter clearly indicates that the General Manager believes her staff have done nothing wrong and that Council is right, and the neighbours have "differing views". It set out to exonerate the staff who really should be brought to task over their failure, from the outset, to engage, to communicate and to ensure that the processes that are in place are followed to not only service the development application but to also respect those impacted by it. Time after time the Council senior staff step in to cover for ineptitudes and failures by staff. It has contributed to the toxic culture that resulted in a shift in councillors at the last election to end the culture and to open the shutters on the Teflon Coated who get off scot free with no consequences. The Us vs Them culture pervades and continues. Cynically the General Manager concluded her letter advising "Should you require any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact Council’s Divisional Manager Development Services" who just happens to be the very last person the residents want to talk to.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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