IN SHADOW: Diane and Andrew Carter with the block of four two-story townhouses looming over their back veranda.
IN SHADOW: Diane and Andrew Carter with the block of four two-story townhouses looming over their back veranda. Janine Watson

Don't wreck our town with over development

THE Carters accept there is a need for more high density development in their neighbourhood but urge council planners to get it right before it is too late.

They're currently feeling the full impacts of such a development next door to their Victoria Street home.

"We could make Coffs Harbour really nice with development but we don't have to wreck it. There's certainly lessons for councillors here - the whole of Coffs Harbour could be like this if we're not careful. It makes you feel like you're nothing; like you have no rights. I've lived here since I was 21, owned three properties in Coffs Harbour, and reared my family here,” Diane Carter said.

The development comprises four two-story townhouses where once a single home stood.

"The entire second floor of the development sits above the roof line of our home. Walking into our once private backyard the inescapable facade of the townhouses is all pervasive. The bedrooms look down into our yard and the outdoor living spaces are almost at our boundary fence.”

The Carters live just a few houses down from the Coffs Harbour Public School and, like their neighbours who have also objected to the development, are concerned about parking congestion which is already an issue.

"At present there are insufficient amenities such as paving, kerbs and parking spaces for residents as well as the staff and families attending Coffs Harbour Public School. The area already suffers congestion during term time and additional residents will only compound this,” wrote Adele Whyte.

As the townhouses went up and the full impacts started to be felt Diane wrote to Coffs Harbour City Councillors to express her dismay and the only one to respond was Councillor Sally Townley who agrees with Diane that Coffs Harbour needs to maximise housing opportunities but to get the mix right. She has also urged residents to be informed about the developments proposed in their neighbourhoods.

"We need to maximise housing opportunities but not over develop. Planning rules are designed to be flexible but when people encroach into a setback at someone else's expense causing shadowing or loss of amenity it's not fair.

"Most people know single houses particularly around that Jetty area will all eventually be knocked down and townhouses put up, but we need to have a fair and equitable application of the planning rules otherwise people will be disadvantaged." 

In the case of the development next door to the Carters Cr Townley pointed out that it did not come before council but perhaps if more people had been proactive about their opposition to it, it may have. 

"If there was significant public interest it may have come to council but this went to planning staff - the decision was made under delegated authority. People need to get in at the early stage and not be backward in coming forward and contact a councillor."



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