RESIDENTS RALLY: Voices of protest against proposed development at Lot 2 Sawtell Rd.
RESIDENTS RALLY: Voices of protest against proposed development at Lot 2 Sawtell Rd. TREVOR VEALE

Residents fight housing development in their backyard

DENISE and Graeme Teitzel bought their home off Lamberts Rd, Boambee East for a tree change.

After years of living, working and raising their family in Tamworth, they thought they'd found a "perfect slice of green paradise” in the property they purchased in 2016.

"We have beautiful green views from every window, that's why we bought here,” Mrs Teitzel said.

"We thought it was a protected koala habitat and corridor and we would always have these lovely views of trees and the bush.”

In June 2018, Denise and Graeme Teitzel, along with other residents bordering this land, received a flyer in their letterbox.

It informed them of a DA before Coffs Harbour City Council by the new owner, Regional Ethical Developments Coffs Coast, proposing approximately 6.99-hectares of Lot 2 Sawtell Rd be cleared for a 57 lot housing subdivision.

"We were devastated getting that letter, we just couldn't believe it,” Mrs Teitzel said.

Lot 2 is an 'L' shaped block fronting Sawtell Rd opposite the Linden Ave intersection, continuing through to the Hogbin Drive Industrial Estate.

It is mostly timbered and borders Marion Grove and Mater Christie Aged Care Facility border to the south, HiTech Drive Industrial Estate to the east, and residential housing to the north and west.

The site includes approximately six hectares recognised and mapped as Primary Koala Habitat in the Coffs Harbour City Council Koala Plan of Management 1999.

Residents rallied and a local campaign against the development followed, which has included written submissions to Coffs Harbour City Council, intermittent protests with people holding placards at the site and an online petition which has more than 2600 signatures.

The petition urges, "We ask all who wish to secure a strong future for the koala and the future health and well-being of all biodiversity on this planet to sign this petition, and send a strong signal to the Coffs Harbour City Council and the Developer that this DA is not appropriate.”

The matter went before the Land and Environment Court.

Earlier this month, residents who made submissions to council against the proposed development received a letter.

This letter was from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, acting on behalf of Coffs Harbour City Council, and in part read: "As you are aware, the Applicant Regional Architects Pty Ltd, has appealed to the Land and Environment Court against the Council's deemed refusal of development application 0118/18DA. The Application seeks consent for the clearing of vegetation and construction of a 57 lot residential at Lot 2 DP 811796, Sawtell Road, Toormina”

The letter goes on to say a conciliation conference is scheduled for April 30 on the property and that given the level of interest, council will be holding a Town Hall meeting open to the public 5.30pm to 6.30pm April 29 in Council Chambers.

At this meeting, representatives of council and Ms Hewitt from HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, will answer questions about the conciliation conference.

The proponents, Regional Architects Pty Ltd (acting on behalf of landowner Regional Ethical Developments Coffs Coast) were invited for comment on this story.

While they did not comment, their application outlines measures to offset impacts including retaining a 50m wide flora and fauna corridor along the eastern boundary, eventually widening to 130m funnel at the southern end.

Housing lots will range in size from 450 to 886m with two of the larger lots identified potentially for seniors housing or a childcare centre.

To read more about the proposal go to council's DA tracker using code 0818/18DA.

To sign the petition click here.

To attend the Land and Environment Court conciliation conference, be at Lot 2 Sawtell Rd, April 30 at 10am.

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