Shock decision - Southern Ocean Beach House & good news from VCAT - surprise surprise

Bad News from Port Campbell.  Very disappointing when a Mayor does not know the accepted custom in Council  -   the casting vote must  keep the status quo.
The fragile sea frontage at Port Campbell is really under attack by developers who respect nothing. 
Media Release
29 September 2010
Council Divided
Shock Decision over Southern Ocean Beach House Permit Extension
Corangamite Shire Council narrowly passed a second permit extension for the Southern Ocean Beach House using the Mayor’s second vote despite Council’s Planning Officer recommending the extension be refused.
The Planning Officer’s Report noted the intensification of the development, the potential for climate change impact on a fragile headland, and consequent potential for to a “complex ownership pattern which may further mitigate against future development or redevelopment aimed at adapting to the consequences of climate change”.
The Officer also noted the known geological fragility of the area: “In the long term, the headland area including the subject site is likely to be prone to erosion resulting from coastal processes associated with climate change and sea level rise. This includes the potential for cliff recession, collapse or partial collapse of any of the sea caves, collapse of the cliff face and collapse of sink holes or other karst features”.
The report’s grounds to refuse the permit included:
·         The applicant has not advanced any reason or material in support of the extension of time sought.
·         That applicant has four years in which to commence the development. VCAT has written that four years would be adequate to complete conditions.
·         There has been no case made for substantial intervening circumstances.
·         There have been a number of changes to planning policy since the issue of the permit which should now be considered and include new government coastal policies, the precautionary principle.
·         The applicant is seeking to warehouse the permit.
·         The applicant has not provided evidence of any economic burden.
·         As a result of changes to the planning scheme since the grant of the permit, it is considered unlikely that a permit would be issued today in the same form as the current permit.
It is very disappointing that expert advice was overlooked for a development that appears to have made no effort to fulfil the permit since it was extended in 2008.
Three Councillors voted against the extension. Three Councillors voted for it. The Mayor then had an extra deciding vote.  An absent Councillor’s presence may have significantly altered the vote.
Marion Manifold
Port Campbell Community Group Inc