Drysdale plan could face legal challenge

Mercedes Drummons, Glenda MacNaughton, Patrick Hughes, and Doug Carson. (Rebecca Hosking) 198843_03

By Luke Voogt

Campaigners opposing a controversial 550-house estate in Drysdale they believe will “kill” the town’s rural character are considering legal action after council rubber stamped the plans.

Drysdale Clifton Springs Curlewis Association is set to meet online today to discuss its next steps following the approval.

“We’re extremely disappointed,” association president Mercedes Drummond said.

Several committee members suggested seeking legal advice and fighting the decision at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), she said.

“I don’t think we’d have any problem getting the money,” Mrs Drummond said.

“We have to investigate how worthwhile [going to VCAT] would be.”

The association has also appealed to Bellarine MP Lisa Neville and Planning Minister Richard Wynne to intervene, according to Mrs Drummond.

Council on Tuesday night adopted an amendment to rezone 28 ‘rural living’ properties on either side of Central Road, Drysdale, to support the proposed estate.

Ample Investments Group, which plans to redevelop the land and requested the amendment, owns eight of the properties.

Mayor Stephanie Asher and deputy mayor Trent Sullivan – both Bellarine councillors – voted against the amendment after an independent panel supported the plans with minor changes.

Councillor Anthony Aitken also voted against the plans while remaining Bellarine ward councillor Jim Mason abstained from voting.

Council received 71 public submissions on the proposal, with 64 objections including 21 opposing a proposed road now scrapped from the plans.

The independent panel received a further five late submissions, with four in favour.

Mrs Drummond warned the development created a precedent threatening Drysdale’s rural character.

“There’s two other developments planned in the area,” she said.

“They’re looking at each development in isolation, not the cumulative impact on our community.”

She also slammed plans to use ratepayers’ money to forcefully acquire one home to create a drainage basin for the estate.

Strategic planning portfolio chair Kylie Grzybek acknowledged the large amount of community feedback but stated council was satisfied with the panel’s recommendations.

“It’s the right time for this amendment, as the development will assist in easing pressure on housing supply on the Bellarine Peninsula and contribute to affordable housing,” Cr Grzybek said.