‘MAKES US SICK’: Truck depot operated for years without DA
A trucking company has received approval to build a new depot and office, even though it had already been set up for years.
AB Contracting, an earthmoving and quarry product supplies and transport company, has been operating from its Sandy Flat site as a "home business".
However according to town planner Anthony Daintith, who prepared a report on the development application for Tenterfield Shire Council, the business has grown and employs more than 20 people, "necessitating the requirement for development consent to operate".
The DA before the council was to continue the use of the site as a truck depot, and for a new workshop/shed, gravel pads, parking areas, office and amenities building, access to Primrose Hill Rd and a landscaping screen.
Councillors voted to approve the application despite strong objections from nearby residents.
A total of 14 submissions were received during the public exhibition period.
These raised concerns about traffic, zoning, impacts on tourism, dust, social impacts, damage to roads, use of water, hours of operation, impacts on property prices and noise.
Locals also raised the point the business owners had already been operating for years without development approval.
"Everything about this application is outrageous," one resident wrote.
"I am appalled that the owners have been operating and rapidly growing their business for quite a while from this site, and are only now applying for approval.
"We fear it (this DA) is just the first step to a bigger and much more damaging enterprise.
"This truck depot has already caused so much grief to its nearest neighbours."
Other submissions stated that approving the DA would have a negative impact on people who had chosen a rural lifestyle.
"We have worked hard all our lives to build our dream home in the lovely Sandy Flat area and it makes us sick to be pushed into having to fight for our peace and quiet and save our investment," one local wrote.
In response to concerns, the applicants submitted a revised traffic management plan which proposed all inbound and outbound business traffic ‒ including light and heavy vehicles, service providers, suppliers and employees ‒ would use the proposed private internal road from the workshop to the property boundary and then the northern end of Primrose Hill Rd to access the New England Highway.
"This will have the impact of significantly reducing the traffic impact along Sandy Flat Rd by relocating the traffic and further reducing the dust impact by the bitumen sealing of this road," the report states.
"The associated road noise impact will also be reduced.
"The visual impact will be significantly reduced by the planting of an evergreen frost resistant
landscaping screen … the screen is to be to a height of at least 10m.
"It is noted that the proposed development is permitted with consent in the RU1 Primary Production zone."
The report also stated council staff were aware of the lack of development consent and had been working with the property owner for about two years.
Council's policy is to help property owners to obtain necessary approvals, "so long as it is a lawful use".
"It is noted that the applicant has co-operated," the report states.