Hastings home gets green light
A MOVE to overturn a controversial Tweed Shire Council decision to approve a beachfront mansion at Hastings Point late yesterday failed to win sufficient support at an extraordinary council meeting.
Last week four of the seven councillors voted to give the green light to the rebuilding of an old block of flats in the coastal village as a large house despite protests from local residents that it was an overdevelopment of the site and breached newly-adopted rules for the area.
The three councillors against the approval, Mayor Barry Longland, Greens councillor Katie Milne plus Cr Joan van Lieshout sought the extraordinary meeting to reconsider the matter after they lodged a rescission motion.
But the four councillors in favour of approval yesterday refused to change their vote despite an intense campaign from some Hastings Point residents and impassioned pleas from the councillors opposed to the development.
It is understood they had also been quietly warned before the meeting that since council officers had sent out a letter of approval before the rescission motion was lodged last Thursday, the council could be liable to damages if the decision was altered.
In a last-minute move against the development, one of the neighbours of the proposed house, Chris Johnson, said he wanted councillors to get "higher-level advice prior to proceeding".
Cr Milne wanted councillors to change their mind and reject the development application because she said it breached too many rules, particularly the new Hastings Point Development Control Plan (DCP).
She said it would be too long, too high, fail to have sufficient landscaping and "will set a dangerous precedent".
Cr Joan van Lieshout said approval was "an abandonment of a DCP that was set up with a lot of hard work".
"As councillors we have a full responsibility to ensure those rules are set in place for the future," she said.
"This council will be remembered as setting the rules and abandoning those if we do that."
Cr Longland said the DCP insisted on a setback from the property boundary of eight metres and other rules required a setback of five to eight metres, but the home would be just 2.5 metres from the property boundary.
"These things start to accumulate," he said.
"As they add up I think the chance of defending a refusal (in the NSW Land and Environment Court) get better as you go along."
The other councillors declined to speak on the issue.