COUNCILLORS FAIL TO SUPPORT RECOMMENDED REFUSAL FOR HELICOPTER OPERATION IN BARGARA RESIDENTIAL AREA

I’m really at a loss as to how to begin this post as I still can’t come to grips with the 6:5 decision which was carried at Council’s Planning Committee Meeting today.

The decision actually overturned a  recommendation by professional Planning Officers to refuse an application which sought to allow a helicopter to operate from two Woongarra Scenic Drive residential properties despite the fact that 33 out of 39 formal submissions from the community were opposed to it.

The report that was tabled today is possibly one of the strongest that I’ve read in 16 years as an elected representative and even included advice from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regarding safety issues associated with the application.

In total, 11 specific reasons for refusal were listed (see below) in support of the recommendation however neither these nor the overwhelming majority of community submissions were enough to gain a majority vote to reject the application. As no motion was put forward to actually approve the application, the whole process now lies in limbo and the Council will have to seek legal advise (at ratepayer’s expense) on how to proceed.

Reasons for Refusal

  1. The proposed development is in conflict with the Desired Environmental Outcomes (DEOs) of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme, specifically DEO 2.3(1-3) and DEO 2.4 for matter relating to infrastructure and community well-being.
  2. The proposed development is in conflict with the Coastal Towns Planning Area Code of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme including Specific Outcomes SO.6, SO.17, SO.18 and SO.19 and Overall Outcomes OO2(i)(iii), OO2(i)(iv), OO2(k) and OO2(l) for matters relating to land-use and character and amenity.
  3. The proposed development is in conflict with the Urban Residential Zone Code of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme including Specific Outcomes SO.120, SO.121 and SO.122 and Overall Outcomes OO2(b), OO2(i) and OO2(k) for matters relating to land-use and character and amenity.
  4. The proposal is inconsistent with the established residential character of the surrounding area.
  5. The proposed development would result in an unacceptable loss of amenity for surrounding residents.
  6. The proposal will to create an environmental nuisance.
  7. The proposed development is in conflict with the Infrastructure Overlay Code of the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme including Specific Outcome SO.234 and Overall Outcome OO(f) for matters relating to infrastructure and public safety.
  8. The proposed development represents an inacceptable public safety hazard from an aviation, vehicular or pedestrian transport perspective.
  9. The applicant has not demonstrated an overriding need for the proposed development in the location, given the availability of appropriately zoned land elsewhere in the Planning Scheme area.
  10. The development cannot be reasonably conditioned to comply with the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme.
  11. There are insufficient planning grounds to support the development despite its identified conflicts with the Burnett Shire Planning Scheme.

The officers recommendation to refuse the application was rejected by the following vote:

      AGAINST                                  FOR

Cr David Batt                      Cr Greg Barnes
Cr Alan Bush                      Cr Vince Habermann
Cr Lynne Forgan                Cr Wayne Honor
Cr Mal Forman                   Cr Danny Rowleson
Cr Judy Peters                   Cr Ross Sommerfeld
Cr Tony Ricciard

The full report can be viewed at Agenda Item L3 here: http://www.bundaberg.qld.gov.au/files/agenda/PDC_19052015_AGN_AT.pdf

A previous post on this application can be viewed here: http://www.gregbarnes.com.au/application-lodged-for-helicopter-landiings-takeoffs-from-residential-property/

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