Residents driven to anger

David Braithwaite

A CHANGE to planning zones six years ago has opened the way for a subdivision in Sale to go ahead, despite objections from nearby property owners.

Wellington Shire Council granted a planning permit to subdivide land on Evelyn Drive on the northern side of Sale, into two 2000 square metre blocks.

Six objections from landowners centre on a covenant placed on most lots in the estate, preventing the construction of a second dwelling.

No such covenant is on the land subject to the application, which is owned by Peter and Debbie Jackson, who initially divided the estate.

Council has blocked an application to construct a second dwelling on the same block in 2017 over concern from people who owned property with the covenant place on it.

Evelyn Drive resident Gary Howard described the matter as a “moral and ethical issue”.

“Would the council have approved this development, with these extra dwellings in it, in the current state, with current drainage and the standard of roads?

“They’re designed for low density, but now we’re increasing the density.

“The street has become a rat run from the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex to the centre of town. The traffic when the netball finishes is quite significant.”

Mr Howard said civil action could be taken if the subdivision was approved.

Speaking to council on behalf of the applicants, planning consultant Chris Curnow said a change to planning controls allowed for the subdivision.

Mr Curnow said council has already approved two other subdivisions on Evelyn Drive, which were also not under a covenant.

“Because Peter and Debbie chose not to register the covenant on 16, 18, 20 and 22 Evelyn Drive, the owners of those lots are not burdened by the restrictions of the covenant,” he said.

Four councillors – Garry Stephens, Malcolm Hole, Ian Bye and Carmel Ripper – voted in favour of approving the application, while mayor Alan Hall and Cr Scott Rossetti voted against. Crs Darren McCubbin, Carolyn Crossley and Gayle Maher were absent from the meeting.

Cr Stephens expressed sympathy for the residents who objected, but admitted the subdivision was allowed under council’s planning scheme.

“With the amendment to the low density residential rules in 2013, the fact that this land is able to be sewered, and the fact land can now be subdivided down to 2000 square metres, and the fact that there is no covenant existing on the land, which I’m advised becomes a legal issue outside the council’s control, then I basically feel obliged to support to the officer recommendation,” he said.

Cr Bye did not want to send council through a costly legal battle.

“I don’t see the point of council wasting $5000 to $10,000, and also officer time, to delay or hinder the development,” he said.

Cr Rossetti said people who purchased blocks would have been under the impression the covenant was intended to cover the whole estate.

“It wasn’t at all clear that it was going to be on some blocks and not on others,” he said.