A Forresters Beach residents’ group has raised concerns over a transitional group home proposed for an existing house at Tumbi Umbi.
The transitional group home would be for male residents only who are in alcohol and or drug rehabilitation.
Forresters Beach Retirement Village Residents’ Committee has circulated a letter saying the proposal, for a 1.3ha site at 30 Bakali Rd, poses a risk to the elderly and vulnerable in the community.
Several other submissions have opposed the proposal, saying it is close to two childcare centres, a high school and a primary school as well as numerous families who play and ride bikes in the area.
The proposal would see up to eight residents at a time residing in the main dwelling.
A permanent on-site manager’s residence would be located above the garage within an existing second dwelling.
Various programs would be run on site including: psychologist sessions, Salvation Army counselling, Mission Australia services, and Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous sessions.
The programs would be for residents only and not publicly advertised.
Residents would be transported from the site to a range of social and community programs off site.
There are no physical building works proposed as part of the change of use but a 1.8m colorbond fence would be built around the perimeter of the site.
The site contains a large four-bedroom single-storey dwelling and a semi-detached outbuilding consisting of a garage and storage area on the ground floor, with dwelling above.
The site includes an ancillary swimming pool and tennis court.
Applicant Wilson Planning said the transitional group home had been subject to an assessment for Complying Development under State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009.
This allows an application for a group home to be made for up to 10 people without requiring a development consent.
However, as the land is identified as Bush Fire Prone and constitutes a Special Fire Protection Purpose, an assessment is required under the Rural Fire Acts 1997 and a Complying Development Certificate is not possible.
“It is noted that other than this natural constraint, the crucial service proposal could be approved as a complying development by a private certifier,” the application states.
The applicant says the proposal will have a positive social impact.
“It provides a safe and valuable context for the rehabilitation of some of society’s most vulnerable people, including young adults,” the application states.
“People with alcohol and drug dependency have often grown up in households with parents/carers with substance dependencies [and] may have suffered incidents of psychological, physical or sexual abuse, and could be suffering resultant trauma and metal health issues.”
“For this reason, there is considered to be a need for permanent on-site management, care and compassion.
“The group home will offer a safe environment for those people who wish to do something positive about their addictions [and] will be a Drug and Alcohol-free zone.
“We consider this transitional group home to be part of a compassionate response to some of society’s most vulnerable people,” the applicant said.
The application will go to Central Coast Council for development approval and will likely qualify to be judged by the new local planning panel due to its sensitive nature and objections.
Public comment closes on July 3.
DA Tracker Jun 16
Central Coast Council website
Facebook message, Jun 14
Forresters Beach Retirement Village Residents’ Committee Letter