Lara development off to VCAT

The location of a planned townhouse development in Lara.

By Luke Voogt

A proposal for a $10.3 million 84-townhouse development in Lara is headed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) after Geelong council knocked back the plans.

Last year, developers Oreana Property Management proposed to build 89 dwellings on the site, but VCAT refused the application in line with a recommendation by council’s planning committee.

Revised plans submitted soon after reduced the number of dwellings by five to 84, including 79 single-storey and five double-storey houses.

The developer’s new plans include 41 two-bedroom, 31 three-bedroom and 12 four-bedroom homes on lot sizes ranging from 118 to 283 square meters.

But the revised plans again attracted strong community opposition, with council receiving 211 submissions against them.

Opponents raised similar concerns to the original proposal including the density of the development, its lack of suitability for Lara’s rural character, traffic and parking demand.

Last Thursday, council’s planning committee voted against a City Hall recommendation to support the renewed application for a development at 9-13 Manzeene Avenue, Lara.

The planning committee unanimously voted in favour of an alternative motion moved by committee chair Kylie Grzybek to recommend a refusal of the permit.

“The community has again given council feedback that nowhere in Lara do we have this type and density of housing,” Cr Grzybek said.

“A development like this is better suited to Melbourne.

“Lara residents choose to live here because they enjoy being part of a community and town with a rural feel, and this development would not be in keeping with that highly valued neighbourhood character.”

Council will now advocate for VCAT to refuse the application after the planning committee failed to make a decision within the required time period – prompting the developer to appeal to VCAT.

Alongside Cr Grzybek, the planning committee included deputy mayor Trent Sullivan and councillors Anthony Aitken, Jim Mason, Belinda Moloney and Sarah Mansfield.