Council to appeal LEC decision

Coffs Harbour City Council is appealing a decision that supports an extended development at Hearnes Lake.
Coffs Harbour City Council is appealing a decision that supports an extended development at Hearnes Lake. Leigh Jensen

DURING a confidential session at Thursday night's council meeting, Coffs Harbour councillors resolved to appeal the Land and Environment Court's dismissal of its challenge against the concept approval given for the 200-lot Sandy Shores development at Hearnes Lake.

The Sandy Shores development is approximately six times larger than that originally endorsed by Council.

The sticking point of the decision is that Council don't want to see a development go ahead on land that has previously been earmarked as a floodplain.

The possibility of new landowners in the estate experiencing flooding or those living in adjoining lands having flooding issues moved to their homes due to a shift in runoff is the Council's main concerns with the development.

The process toward this legal battle has been a long one.

On December 20, 2010, the then NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly granted a concept approval for the Sandy Shores development site at Hearnes Lake under Part 3A of the State planning legislation.

That decision approved the extended Hearnes Lake/Sandy Beach development.

Council subsequently challenged the validity of that approval in the Land and Environment Court. A two-day hearing was held in June 2011 before the Hon. Justice Terence William Sheahan AO.

Justice Sheahan handed down his Judgement last month in which he dismissed the challenge.

After the judgement Council's lawyers lodged a Notice of Intention to appeal the decision.

Since the January 2012 decision further legal advice has been obtained from Mr John Griffiths SC.

While the content of that advice is unknown due to professional privilege, the fact that council has agreed to spend funds pursuing an appeal suggests the advice offers plenty of hope for council to win its appeal.

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