Calabash Bay residents fighting development on the foreshore were bitterly disappointed after Hornsby Council voted to approve the controversial plan.
Councillors voted five to three in favour of the scheme for a local landowner to move three landlocked lots held up on a ridge above Calabash Bay, down to foreshore wetlands, ultimately so that homes could be built.
“Council had no legal basis upon which to refuse the application,” Mayor Steve Russell said. “Council’s decision allowed for the subdivision of four existing allotments into four lots.
“Each of these sites will need to come back before Council with a further DA for approval to construct a dwelling, at which point we will be able to address the concerns of those who objected. In the end I and a majority of Councillors were not prepared to vote to extinguish the applicant’s property rights; a refusal would have wiped out their right to build a dwelling anywhere on their land.“
Councillor Nathan Tilbury, one of three who voted against the DA, opposed it on the grounds it failed to protect the natural environment and is, he says, contrary to council planning controls on subdivisions.
Resident Sharon Haworth said: “We were of course disappointed with Council’s decision to allow the applicant to subdivide new blocks of land – against all local planning documents – and expecting the Planning Minister Rob Stokes to approve this variation to Planning Standards, which is ironic as he appeared to be a Minister who was going to look after wetlands.
“Councillors said our concerns would be addressed once a DA for the houses were received. Apparently it is ok for this to become some future landowner or resident’s problem. Legal advice has been sought, with action against Council being the likely outcome.”
The Calabash community will be deciding their next move in early 2017.