Cypress Lane goes to VCAT

By Jena Carr

A retirement village development in Torquay’s Cypress Lane will soon appear before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

VCAT will consider the amended planning permit application during a five-day hearing from April 29, with Surf Coast Shire Council deciding to support the amended plans during its April 16 special council meeting.

Councillors Gary Allan, Paul Barker, Mike Bodsworth, Libby Stapleton and Mayor Liz Pattison supported the motion, while Kate Gazzard, Rose Hodge, Adrian Schonfelder and Heather Wellington opposed it.

Cr Allan said a “key consideration” in supporting the motion was to ensure council was present at future VCAT hearings regarding the Cypress Lane development.

“The amended proposal seeks to make some changes to the number of living units, to the height of some buildings, setbacks, landscapes, parking and drainage arrangements,” he said.

“The use of the land for a retirement village remains unchanged from the original proposal…and retirement villages typically have a denser footprint than other residential developments.”

Cr Hodge said the site was a low-density residential zone and did not believe the proposed development fit the requirements of that area.

“The density is just over the top, people said it’s comparable to this and comparable to that, but it’s not comparable to this area,” she said.

“I’m concerned about many things in that area, and it’s been discussed at other meetings, but I think this council is making a grave mistake doing this.”

Torquay’s Karan Dawson told council that an “inappropriate high-density development on low density zoned land” was not needed or wanted by the community.

“All retirement villages in the surf coast are in Torquay and there is a younger demographic in Torquay…and this will be the fifth retirement village in Torquay,” she said.

“Ageing in place requires a degree of independent living ability for the older person with both adequate levels of mental and physical ability but gives them control over their living space.”

The amended proposal included 191 independent living units, 334 resident car parking spaces, 43 visitor parking spaces, a two-story building and a three-story building.

More information about the amended planning permit and proposed development are available on council’s website.