NSW Govt steps in again

FOR the second time this year, the NSW Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, has approved a controversial development in Ballina Shire.

On August 23, SAKE Developments was given the green light by the Minister to build the $3.15m 39-lot Coastal Grove residential estate at Survey Street, Lennox Head.

This follows the decision by the Minister in June to approve the Gateway development in Ballina's CBD, which, in part, exceeded the council's building height limit of 16m.

Unlike the Gateway development, the Survey Street application had previously gone before Ballina Shire Council.

Council in 2000 rejected an application by the developer, which was lodged after council re-zoned the land from urban investigation to 2a Living back in 1999. In 2001, the NSW Land and Environment Court upheld Ballina Shire Council's decision.

But the developer was able to bypass council after changes to legislation for coastal developments, and last year the application to build the residential estate went to the NSW Department of Planning.

Originally, the plan was to allow for 45 lots on the land. But the number of lots was later reduced to 39 following the discovery of the threatened plant species, Hairy-joint grass on the site.

The residents' group, Survey Street Action Group, has been battling the development since it was first proposed.

The group has long had concerns over storm water drainage issues, traffic issues and environmental issues. Mandy Andrews, spokesperson for the group, said she was bitterly disappointed with the Minister's decision to approve the application.

The group hasn't given up hope, though. Mandy said the group would be taking their battle to the Environmental Defenders office and getting an engineer to go through the 57 pages of conditions that accompany the development approval.

Mayor, Cr Phillip Silver, said the council made a submission to the NSW Minister for Planning regarding the development.

While he was 'disappointed' with the Minister's decision to approve the Gateway development earlier in the year, as of time of going to print, he still had to seek advice from staff on how much the council's comments were taken into account in the Survey Street approval before making a comment.

SAKE Developments' plan for the land includes open space and a children's playground.


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