Church defends unit block following angry protest
The Catholic Church has defended its plans for more unit blocks on church grounds at Sawtell.
Residents opposed to the development, which will mean removal of littoral rainforest, held a protest at the site on Monday.
The corner block, between Boronia and Honeysuckle Streets and Fourth Ave, one strip back from the beach, has already been developed with a strip of units on the Boronia St side.
The most recent plan is for eight units along Honeysuckle Street.
The Catholic Parish of Mary Help of Christians, Sawtell, says the 'Honeysuckle Terraces' are part of their overall mission to positively impact the life of the community by providing compassionate services and care.
The land will be subdivided and the terraces sold to provide funds for church programs.
The parish says it's a key stakeholder in the community having been established for more than 35 years and employing over 260 local people across their range of operations.
Projects in the previous three years have totalled in excess of $40 million and they include:
- Sawtell Parish Church and grounds beautification
- Boronia St Sawtell six residences
- Marian Grove 'New Release': 51 independent living apartments
- The Mary Help of Christians School Toormina expansion
The Honeysuckle Terraces forms an integral part of their future five-year strategic plan with a range of projects estimated to value in excess of $90 million.
A previous development application for The Honeysuckle Terraces was knocked back by Coffs Harbour City Council in September last year.
Unhappy with the outcome the church submitted amended plans which included breaking up the eight town houses to incorporate a 1.9 gap.
These amended plans were approved by Council on May 14 but three Councillors have since lodged a rescission motion to overturn that decision.
The rescission motion, submitted by Sally Townley, Tegan Swan and Keith Rhoades, urges Council to reject the proposal based on unacceptable impacts on local traffic, flooding and on neighbourhood amenity and not being in the public interest.
This motion will come before Councillors on Thursday night.
In relation to traffic concerns, particularly in light of the proposed corner driveway, the church says all parking requirements for the new proposal are suitably met on site as per regulations.
They say tree removal has been deemed suitable for the site based on an ecological report and have noted that the trees are 'poor quality regrowth' and their removal has been deemed suitable under the relevant legislative requirements.
And rather than contribute to flooding, the church claims their bioretention filtration and stormwater detention systems will actually result in an improvement to the current situation with stormwater flowing freely from the site contributing to excess water upon adjacent Honeysuckle Street.
The church also does not accept that the Honeysuckle Terraces are of inappropriate size and bulk with amended plans providing two smaller buildings of 23.4m and 23.8m in length respectively, with a clear break provided between each.