A controversial Port Macquarie development proposal, which was examined in a recent ABC Four Corners report examining the interests of the Obeid family’s coastal properties, has been rejected by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.
- The Northern Regional Planning Panel has rejected the Pacific Drive apartment block
- Eleven people, mainly residents, spoke at a public meeting prior to the planning panel’s decision
- The chairman of the panel gave eight reasons for rejecting the development application
The Obeids have not named the Pacific Drive project, and the head of development company Laurus Projects told Four Corners that the Obeid family was not involved in the proposed 68-unit complex.
Eleven speakers, mostly local residents, signed up to speak at the Northern Regional Planning Panel on Thursday, and all were against the development.
“From my perspective, the building will be an eye-catcher, it’s too high,” Krissa Wilkinson said.
“To allow a development of this size and density to continue here will set an undesirable precedent for similar high-rise buildings along our entire coastal strip,” said Ed Coleman.
Lyndal Narin said the development would lead to the area becoming “something like the Gold Coast”, while Carole Field described it as “visual pollution of the worst kind”.
Malcolm McNeil, who represented a group of concerned local architects, told the panel that they usually did not make a habit of criticizing other projects, but felt so strongly about Laurus’ development that they had to make an exception.
“The entrance ramps and stairs are just a mess as far as we are concerned.”
Fear of koalas, privacy
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Deputy Mayor and mayoral candidate, Lisa Intemann, addressed the panel as a person, not as a councilor.
“We have to be very careful to make sure that this does not actually set a precedent with regard to, for example, the height exceedance,” she said.
“And as for koalas – there are 25 trees to be removed, native and non-native – this is known as a koala itinerary.”
After about 45 minutes of consideration and a previous inspection of the site, panel chairman Paul Mitchell reviewed the eight reasons why the proposal was unanimously rejected.
Among the reasons mentioned were loss of privacy, overshadowing to the west and south and the extensive building form of the settlement.
Sir. Mitchell said the proposal was contrary to the Coastal Administration SEPP, citing two clauses specifically due to negative impacts on the visual convenience and scenic quality of the coast.