Twenty seven objections have been registered with Central Coast Council in response to a proposal to build a $27.58 million, 160-bed nursing home on ecologically sensitive land in Veron Rd and Hillview Street, Woy Woy.
The Section 96 application is currently being assessed by a council planning officer and has not yet been assessed.
Many submissions urged Central Coast Council to ensure the decision to accept or reject the proposal be made at a public meeting even though the current requirement is for 50 substantial objections before an application could be referred to a public council meeting.
The majority of objectors were angered that the developer had made the application using a Section 96 amendment, which they saw as a “radical departure” from the 10-year-old development consent Gosford Council had granted, via the Land and Environment Court, for a 37-unit retirement village on the land.
A Section 96 amendment is meant to be used to make minor alterations that ensure the development remains “substantially the same” as that already approved.
Ms Christina Paris of Woy Woy said she objected to the Section 96 application due to the extremely rare vegetation, the Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland (UCSW), and potential habitat for the Bush Stone Curlew, present on the site.
“Please consider the moral implications of this development and bring the DA to the Council meeting to enable due, honest process,” Ms Parris said.
“It is vital that unbiased scientific consultation, combined with the community’s best interests be considered,” she said.
An anonymous objector said the Section 96 variation “should be rejected for many reasons including the substantial change from the original development application” and the use of five-year-old reports to justify the new concept.
“The Environmental Impact Statement is lacking protection measures during construction and for the ongoing maintenance of the endangered ecological community,” the submission said.
“The final building, with its increase in height and bulk will create a negative impact on the UCSW from construction, shading and fragmentation.
“Then there is the issue of 7000 vehicle movements a day on Hillview St … and when additional trucks, ambulances and visitors start to impact this road with its high traffic volumes which can create lengthy traffic cues due to commuter traffic and the locality of two schools in the vicinity.
“This application should be put out to the community as a brand new Development Application for community consultation,” the anonymous objector said.
Another objector pointed out that one of the original conditions of consent was that regular bushcare took place on the land and that signs were maintained alerting people to existence of UCSW on the land.
“As far as I am aware, no regular Bushcare takes place on the land, nor have the signs been maintained and the poor excuse for fence-line protecting the UCSW is dilapidated and ineffectual.
The author also questioned whether the developer had “commenced” work in the development approved in 2007 within the five-year consent period.
“Although the schedule of costs in the application shows preliminaries to cost $2.8 million, with this amount of money spent any work on the site would be evident, yet no substantial commencement can have occurred on the site and the proponent’s description of its commencement is ‘commercial in confidence’.
“It is my considered opinion without any substantial commencement or complete implementation of the LEC conditions this DA would have lapsed in 2012 and the development should not be allowed to proceed.
“The original conditions have been breached in such a substantial way that its continuance should not be entertained.
“The proponents have shown themselves to be ineffective in achieving their original intention of protecting the UCSW.
“This is not a Section 96 variation but effectively a major change of use, requiring a new Development Application.
“The current application attempts a change of use from what was originally an up-market retirement village to what could only be called a factory nursing home.
“This meets neither the objectives of the zone, nor good nursing home design, and is totally out of character with the surrounding area.
“There will be an enormous impact on the vegetation by overshadowing which clearly will affect this endangered ecological community.
“The floor space ratio has increased from 0.44:1 to 0.79:1 considerably increasing the building footprint over the site and impacting on the remnant vegetation which will be further fragmented,” the submission said.
Another submission described the land as “an irreplaceable patch of unique and rare vegetation and needs to be free from development”.
Ms Sue Ellis, one of the Peninsula’s active Bushcare participants, said: “I submit that the original DA has lapsed and this amendment can therefore only be refused.
“There is no physical commencement on the site.
“It is completely unacceptable and contrary to the principles of transparency and natural justice for the proponent to claim its submission on commencement is commercial in confidence.
“As this is one of the major legal claims of the developer, it needs to be tested against other evidence from the community.
“It is clear from an inspection of the site that commencement, as defined, has not occurred.
“The change in use from independent units in a retirement village to a residential care facility … is a very substantial change of use, particularly in relation to staffing and other services and required as well as other legal requirements which apply to this changed use.
“The proposal shows increases in height in places of more than four metres (50 per cent) higher in places (from 8.5m to 13m) mostly 3m (35 per cent, to 11.5m) for most of building,’ Ms Ellis said.
“The intensification of use on the site to a “care” facility including amongst other things: 24-hour staffing, service vehicles and higher visitor numbers, requires a completely new DA,” she said.
A submission from the Community Environment Network added: “This development has a long history with a lot of community concern, court cases and issues around the Endangered Ecological Community.
“As such, we request that this item be brought to a public meeting for consideration to ensure transparency and accountability in the decision making process.”
Gosford DA Tracker website, 19 Jul 2017
DA30219(07)/2007, Central Coast Council