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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Throw the DCP away : no one gives a sh*t

Today's Public Access session saw Councillors sitting, open mouthed, listening to two residents of Surf Beach present on the "total stuff-up" by Council staff that has now caused a neighbours to become "enemies" over a home being built four metres from the boundary in a rural residential area that the DCP says needs to be 12m minimum. The presenters today outlined their disgust and their despair that, from the outset they have received little, if any support from the Council planning staff to the facts that they raised saying the house build next door was not a bush fire rebuild but in fact a brand new building on a totally different footprint. With the new house nearing completion the neighbours have been told by Council that it is now they who need to modify their own design over issues such as sitting on the toilet and having a neighbours kitchen "metres away". The neighbours have now been advised that it is they who need to modify their own designs for their own home. The Councillors (Pollock and Mayne were absent) sat open mouthed as the seven minute presentation continued from the frustrated, exasperated and angry residents who claim that, as an action (or failure) by Council they now have an enemy next door of a person they haven't yet met. Their frustration began with the failure of Council to advise them of a variation to the DCP that would have the required Council to advise them of the plans and the new build saying "in the past we have been advised of neighbours developments. In this case we were not". The couple advised the Council during the seven minutes they were allocated that they had been advised that the DCP may well be thrown away. It was more than evident that Council, from the outset, showed a lack of any comprehension of the complaint that could well have called a halt to the encroaching building at its earliest stage. When they asked that a council planner come and inspect their concerns it was 29 days later that the staff member arrived and by that time the roofing was underway. All the while, without knowing, the owner of the new build was unaware of the protests and has advised the neighbours that if he knew at the outset he would have happily moved the house, saying he had given the task of the build and its location to a third party to organise and process through council. While the neighbours complained of a failure of the house to comply with Council's own DCP (and appear to get away with it) the pair voiced their disgust at the failure of the Council to communicate with them saying that they had even tried to communicate with the General Manager directly and have not had any response. The "fix" now appears to be a substantial mound to block the view of the adjacent new build. As to who will have to build it is unknown. To add further to the insult a council planner "had the audacity" to ask them for permission to cut down some of their trees as they were casting a shadow on the new house. In the end the bottom line is that, by accounts, two residents of Eurobodalla have been severely compromised by, a failure of the Council's planning department to ensure that new builds comply with the rules it sets, a gross failure of communication, a total lack of empathy of the situation that has evolved and a failure to offer any suggestion that it won't happen again to somebody else. The couple have taken the issue to the Ombudman's Office and to the local member. Basically the response has been that it is a council issue. That being the case it appears that, once again, failures by Council staff in their duties comes with no consequence. The couple appear to realise this and, while they may have expected more from the presentation this morning (they were quite surprised to learn that they only had seven minutes) the message they delivered was clear. Council had failed them and may well be failing others as well. For the neighbours there is little that they can do. Their lives have been changed by the failure of Council. At best they might be given an apology and an explanation as to why the General Manager didn't respond, why the staff didn't attend the site at the very first phone call and why the building was approved contrary to the DCP. The presentation today was a last-stop plea from two community members who had received little, if any, notice from Council about the issue. They had basically been told by Council staff to suck it in. There has been no apology. The council planner no longer works at Council and the Planning senior appears to be of the opinion that the DCP is irrelevant. This in itself now creates a precedent where other Rural residential developments can do as they please without seeking a variation or advising neighbours of any intent to have a variation. The onus is now on the new Council to do something. Their failure to act will only add to the disgust that was shown today by the presenters of a systematic failure that failed to protect their rights and brought neither apology from, nor consequence to those who failed in their duties.

Above: If the DCP is clear on setbacks why was the new build allowed to be just 4m from the boundary.


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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