IN HIGH DUDGEON: Shire defends height of approved building, objection policy
THE Surf Coast Shire has defended giving planning approval to a house now under construction in Jan Juc that exceeds the typical height for the area, as well as its policy regarding objections to planning applications.
Plans for the double-storey property at Jan Juc were first lodged more than two years ago, in January 2021, and an application was issued in August of that year.
Two separate plans to comply were lodged after that date and issued in April 2022 and August 2023 respectively, and the public advertising period for an amendment to remove a tree in the front setback closed on October 19 of this year.
Jan Juc resident John Wilson, claimed the house exceeded building height regulations, boundary limits, and setback guidelines.
He said the shire was being “reckless” about what was now allowed to be built in Jan Juc and Torquay.
“They have now set a new precedent for our area of Jac Juc where a building up to 8.4 metres has been allowed, you can build to be 300mm to 600mm from the boundary instead of one metre, and setback guidelines are no longer enforced.”
The Surf Coast Shire Planning Scheme sets out guidelines for the preferred neighbourhood character of Torquay and Jan Juc, including “a preference for development of up to two storeys (7.5 metres)” and “providing a landscape treatment that enhances the overall appearance of the development and the streetscape, including by siting development to maintain the predominant pattern of front setbacks in the street to allow for space to retain or plant canopy trees and shrubs”.
Mr Wilson said he was particularly unhappy with an element of the upper level of the house, which was above the 7.5m height usually seen across Jan Juc.
He said seven objections were lodged about the property but no-one was contacted for a consultation with the shire or the builder.
“The practice of the shire in these instances of objections is to alert the build applicant to the objections and leave it to their discretion as to whether they would like to meet with and discuss the reasons for these objections.
“If the applicant does not wish to do so, for no other reason than they do not want to, they don’t! And the shire lets them.”
Surf Coast Shire general manager placemaking and environment Chris Pike confirmed the shire had granted a planning permit for the house, and that the building was partially above the 7.5m preference for Jan Juc.
“Under the Planning Scheme controls, a permit is required if a development exceeds a height of 7.5m,” he said.
“This is not a mandatory height limit, and where appropriate, approval for something higher may be given.
“Part of the development exceeded the preferred height. This was the only element of the proposal that triggered the need for a permit to be assessed by Council.”
Mr Pike said an officer from the shire contacted all seven objectors to the planning permit to hear their concerns before the shire made a decision.
“Subsequently, Council sent a Notice of Decision to Grant a Permit to the objectors.
“No appeal was lodged with VCAT [Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal].
“Council offers consultation meetings between applicants and objectors, however they are not a requirement, and in this instance the applicant opted not to take up that opportunity.”