By LYDIA WATSON-MOORE
Newtown residents gained a modest victory last week after a controversial seven-storey development was stalled, pending amendment.
However, the local Alice St residents weren’t celebrating just yet, as they feared the developer may only make slight, bare adjustments.
As previously reported by City Hub, elusive developer Al Maha is currently constructing a five storey ‘eyesore’ in the residential street and had recently shocked residents with a push for an additional two storeys.
Marrickville Council rejected the DA, and so the developer took the plan to the Land and Environment Court, where it could have been passed without council approval.
On July 21, a conciliation conference was held at the site with the developer’s lawyers, council’s lawyers, the court commissioner and the residents.
As a result of voiced residential concerns, the commissioner ordered that the application be amended to address the raised issues.
Resident Emma Rafferty attended the conference and said that residents were pleased that the commissioner had noticed their anger.
“It was a victory of sorts in the sense that our concerns were obviously heard, but we’re not popping champagne just yet, because we don’t know what shape the amendments will take, and whether they will actually eliminate our concerns,” she said.
The decision, known as a section 34 process, requires the developer to submit an amendment to Marrickville Council, who have the power to approve or deny.
However, Ms Rafferty said that the process is classified as confidential and that council are not obliged to consult the community on the proposed amendments, which concerns the residents.
“One of the people in our residents group is drafting a letter to council requesting that there is some community consultation about the DA and asking council to petition against any further development,” she said.
Ms Rafferty told City Hub that the residents were concerned that the developer will only make minor adjustments, and that council will simply accept them.
“We’re just worried that the modifications are not going to address all the concerns, so we’re just trying to make sure that council don’t get worn down,” she said.
“We want to be in on that next stage.”
Ms Rafferty said the amendments were due to council in early August.