City loses demand for cash. Space war win

Andrew Mathieson
A developer has won a legal battle against City Hall’s demand for cash to create open space offsetting a residential project opposite Kardinia Park.
City of Greater Geelong is “taking advice” to retrieve its projected lost charges after Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruled against its open-space levy as a condition of a planning permit.
Villawood Homes appealed to the VCAT following council’s demand for a fee on the company’s proposed subdivision along Latrobe Terrace.
City Hall demanded a public open-space contribution of five per cent of the value of 432-440 Latrobe Terrace and its existing 22 dwellings
Tribunal member Michael Read dismissed council’s claim the subdivision would lead to more demand for open space in the area.
He pointed out that the site was across the road from Kardinia Park, which includes two ovals, netball courts, a public swimming pool, parkland and Skilled Stadium.
The levy would have cost Villawood Homes up to $70,000.
Council planning portfolio-holder Rod Macdonald said the City’s legal representatives were considering all options for squeezing cash out of Villawood.
“We’re taking advice on it at this stage,” he said.
“However, my understanding is that we won’t be appealing (the decision). The only appeal we can have is on a point of law.”
Cr Macdonald was not worried the decision could set a precedent.
“We need to make sure the community is covered for all developments that we believe are relevant,” he said.
“The whole community misses out if something like this doesn’t go ahead.”