Transitional group home for alcohol and drug rehabilitation proposed

A Transitional Group Home and fencing has been proposed for an existing house on a 1.3ha site at 30 Bakali Rd, Tumbi Umbi.

The proposed change of use to a Transitional Group Home 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.

The transitional group home would be for male residents only who are in alcohol and or drug rehabilitation.

Various programs will be run on site including psychologist sessions, Salvation Army counselling, Mission Australia services, and Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous sessions.

None of the programs will be publicly advertised as they are for residents only.

Residents will 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 is being proposed to 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 a swimming pool and a tennis court.

The 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 bushfire prone and constitutes a Special Fire Protection Purpose, an assessment is required under the Rural Fire Acts 1997.

“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.

Because of this constraint, it must go to Council for development approval and is likely to qualify to be judged by the new Local Planning Panel due to its sensitive nature, or if it receives a number of objections.

Local community groups are encouraging neighbours to submit letters objecting to the home, 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.

A letter circulating from Forresters Beach Retirement Village Residents’ Committee says that they are concerned as they believe such an establishment poses a risk to the elderly and vulnerable in the community.

The letter says to ring a council employee, Tracey Sharp, for details on how to comment on the proposal, which is on public exhibition until Friday, July 3.

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.

“It ought to be mentioned that people with alcohol and drug dependency have often grown up in households with parents and or carers with substance dependencies.

“In addition, they 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.

“The home and site 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.”

DA tracker website, 498/2020
Central Coast Council
Letter, June 14
Forresters Beach Retirement Village Residents’ Committee
Reporter: Merilyn Vale