Darlinghurst residents in Little Surrey street are contesting building works and a development application proposed by popular jaunt, Beach Burrito Co., which also has branches across the inner west and eastern suburbs.
In January of last year, Beach Burrito Darlinghurst carried out illegal works by demolishing a garage at the back of the property, and subsequently building a decking area with a bar at the rear.
Residents Lisa and Neil Boswell live just 40 metres from the back entrance to the restaurant and are concerned about Beach Burrito’s intention to use the illegally built terrace as a bar rather than as an extension of the restaurant.
Ms Boswell told City News that once she and her husband had alerted Council of the works, they responded by issuing a cease work notice to Beach Burrito, but by then, most of the work had already been completed.
“We wouldn’t have a problem with the bar area as long as it was enclosed, so the noise was kept to a minimum,” she said.
“The problem was we weren’t given a chance to have a say.”
In a submission to Council in February, Mr and Mrs Boswell summarised the issues with the DA. In addition to the illegal deck, another major issue raised in their submission was the restaurant’s inadequate management of waste, which has led to a rat infestation at the rear of the property.
“There are rats everywhere,” Ms Boswell said. She explained that four pest controllers had attempted to manage the infestation, but none were successful and they were told the rats were not ingesting the poison due to the large food supply from the restaurant.
“On the Easter weekend just gone, we had two rats actually fall into our courtyard and get trapped. Previously we have had to hang a piece of rope from the fence so they could climb out but we have started taking matters into our own hands now.”
In a letter addressed from Lord Mayor Clover Moore to Andrew Wells, another resident who has expressed concern about the DA, the Lord Mayor explained that Council had found no evidence of a rat infestation after sending an inspector to the area.
The letter reads: “City staff spoke with the manager of Beach Burrito about storing waste correctly and reports of rats. They were told that pest controllers inspect the premises every month and a bait station is installed in the garbage storage area.”
Both Andrew, and Mr and Mrs Boswell provided photographic evidence of the rats near the bins of the restaurant along with their submissions, but Council continues to deny the existence of a vermin problem.
Councillor Angela Vithoulkas shares the residents’ concerns and has called the DA for a briefing.
“What is of great concern is that residential neighbours have provided the Lord Mayor with photographic evidence of an active rat population in the area, but the Lord Mayor says they are wrong,” asserted Cr Vithoulkas.
“It is an insult to the residents who are dealing with vermin on a daily basis.”
The development application also calls for an increase in capacity to 110 patrons in what is a very small area.
Cr Vithoulkas assures the community that the DA will be closely examined and the residents’ views will be taken into consideration.