Campaspe Shire has knocked back a permit application for the second stage of Kyabram’s Sunrise Estate development, on the back of a suggestion by the Department of Transport that traffic lights should be installed at the Allan St and Breen Ave intersection.
The permit for the 32-lot subdivision was refused based on advice from the Department of Transport, suggesting the development would result in “unacceptable road safety outcomes”.
Council’s “public safety” concerns about the subdivision relate directly to the complicated intersection, which has two entries into Breen Ave and a railway line as part of the consideration.
The permit’s refusal on the road-safety grounds has been decided despite the intersection being half a kilometre from the development.
If installed the traffic lights would be a first for Kyabram as, apart from pedestrian crossing lights, there are no permanent traffic lights in the town.
Campaspe Shire’s senior planner Amanda Ellis informed the developer — Doncaster-based Vic Properties — in writing of the decision on August 26, putting the planned subdivision on hold despite almost all the lots being sold.
The decision was delivered by council nine days after the developer had written to purchasers of stage two lots explaining its concerns about the council reaching out to the Department of Transport for advice on the impact of the site on traffic in the area.
The next step for Vic Properties is to appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which has not been confirmed.
Vic Properties is reportedly investigating its options in regard to an appeal.
Real estate agents involved in the sale of stage two Sunrise Estate lots were unwilling to comment on the council decision, but it appears to be a continuation of the frustrating relationship between Campaspe council and development opportunities in Kyabram.
Lots for stage two at Sunrise Estate have been selling for two years, the apparent ease for the council to refuse a permit, rather than give it the “green light” an apparent source of frustration for developers.
Residential developments in Kyabram have struck several road blocks from a variety of organisations — not just Campaspe Shire Council — in previous years.
Only recently the long-awaited The Edge residential development was given the go ahead after a lengthy wait.
There is widespread opinion from those who understand the real estate space far better than me that local and state government authorities would serve the community far better by asking what it could do to help, rather than placing significant conditions and restrictions on developments.
If the Department of Transport recommendation for traffic lights to be installed at the Allan St and Breen Ave intersection is upheld at any future tribunal hearing it would mean a lengthy delay to the development.
It could also put the seven future stages of the development at risk.
Vic Properties had planned on further developing the site, the current stage the second of nine planned for the location.
The decision by council to refuse the permit, which purchasers of land at the site were informed of on August 26, is time sensitive as “sunset’’ clauses on the contracts start to reach maturity.
A “sunset clause’’ allows anyone who has purchased a lot to legally ask for their money back prior to works starting at the site if not completed by a certain date.
Any project delay could mean purchasers ask for the deposits they have made on the land to be returned in the belief the development will have a significant time frame extension.
The five reasons offered by council for the permit refusal were the unacceptable road safety outcomes, the premature and disorderly presentation of the subdivision in regard to planning of the area, the subdivision’s incompatibility with the Allan St and Breen Ave intersection, its failure to meet guidelines in regard to existing roads and the future impact on transport in the area and, finally, the fact it did not fit with the development plan overlay for future use and development of the land.
Vic Properties, which has been developing regional Victorian subdivisions since 1958, wrote to individuals who had purchased land on August 17 — providing an update of the application to council for the second stage of the development.
In that letter it said Grange Pastures’ permit application — the name of stage two — was being assessed by the council.
It explained that the decision of the council to consult with the Department of Transport, in Vic Properties’ view, unnecessary.
“There is no requirement in the Campaspe scheme for council to do so’’ (consult with the transport authority), was the wording used in the letter to land purchasers.
Referral comments from the Department of Transport — provided to the developer — indicated that the permit was in danger of being refused, a suggestion made to purchasers that a tribunal hearing was a potential next step.
A transport department suggestion for traffic lights to be installed at the intersection of Breen Ave and Allan St, several hundred metres from the Solar Boulevard entrance to the estate, is now being assessed by the developer’s legal team.
Vic Properties described the installation of lights at the intersection as “onerous and unnecessary” in its letter to purchasers, “because of the distance from the subject site and the scale of the application — being 32 lots”.
It has commissioned two traffic analysis reports, which are both believed to have found traffic lights at the intersection unnecessary.
The developer has big goals for the Sunrise Estate parcel of land, along with a 70 acre-300-lot property it owns to the south of that site.
CAMPASPE COUNCIL COMMENT
“Council, as the responsible authority, is required to administer the Planning and Environment Act 1987. As part of the process, council follows the requirements of the Act which includes mandatory referrals to authorities and officers’ assessment of the impact on the wider area and community.
“With applications for subdivisions this includes the road network, infrastructure and services, open space, lot layout and access.
“A second planning application was made to subdivide the (Sunrise Estate) land. On this occasion, council referred the application to the Department of Transport (DoT) who required a detailed Traffic Impact Assessment Report (TIAR) to determine what works may be required — as requested within the previous application.
“The TIAR did not address the request and DoT, as a determining authority, objected to the application. As such, council refused the application based on the DoT response and other major concerns which had not been addressed.
“The applicant can appeal the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or lodge a new application.
— interim chief executive officer Tim Tamlin