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Mosman Planning War Over Woolworths & R2 Zoning

Mosman Council has a shocking planning record when it comes to lost cases in the Land & Environment Court, and is already facing a major loss or at least a late settlement with Woolworths, over a new shopping centre proposal, now war has broken out among candidates for Mayor in the municipality with planning a key issue.

With the local elections now pushed out to December 2021, sitting Mayor Carolyn Corrigan who is aligned with a group whose planning objections are costing Mosman ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars, has taken exception to pamphlets being distributed in the community that bought to the attention of ratepayers a move by the Council to try and force the NSW Government to give them more control over private property rights.

The move by Mosman Council to change R2 Zoning in foreshore areas, could see residents having to spend thousands to get simple upgrades to their home because of Mosman Council moves to change zoning in the municipality, claim observers.

The Councils past DA losses in the Land & Environment Court have resulted in ratepayers having to fork out hundreds of thousands on lost cases and the push to E4 zoning for foreshore properties could see more people ending up in Court just to get a plan approved.

One example of Mosman Council objections is the Dan Murphy store debacle that cost rate payers over $600,000 in legal fees when Mosman Council lost their case in the Land & Environment Court.

At the time the Mosman Development Assessment Panel said the store would potentially bring in more than 100 vehicles an hour to Mosman’s traffic-choked streets and create a parking nightmare.

This never happened with local residents claiming there is little difference to traffic now than before the store was approved.

Concerns were also raised at the time by the same group, that is now objecting to a new Woolworths store, about potentially restricting the access of fire trucks getting to and from Mosman Fire Station, this also failed to eventuate with the store now one of the most successful on Military Road.

Residents lodged more than 70 objections with council citing traffic, garbage, pollution, noise and safety concerns.

Councillors who supported the objectors included Carolyn Corrigan, Libby Moline and Simon Menzies.

Roy Bendall has highlighted the issues associated with the proposed changes that Mosman Council is seeking. He is also standing for Mayor in the upcoming local elections.

Mosman’s then Deputy Mayor Roy Bendall called the decision a “great victory for Mosman” at the time.

Woolworths has recently accused Mosman Council of making up planning rules “on the run” in its attempt to block the supermarket giant from opening a store in the locality where Harris Farm and IGA are price gouging according to local residents.

The claims were made in the course of legal action which has sparked a backlash among some residents, who say the council is wasting ratepayers’ money defending Woolworths’ appeal in the Land & environment Court.

The fight with Woolworths is tipped to cost ratepayers close to $1M if it goes to a full hearing in the Land and Environment Court.

Local candidate Mayoral Roy Bendall who is backed by local residents Georgina Brown and Jacqui Willoughby recently distributed a brochure that claimed that Council is planning to rezone foreshore properties from R2 low density to E4 is a move that will create ‘costly complications for residents.

This has got Mosman Parks and Bushland President, Kate Eccles who is aligned with Corrigan riled.

This is the same group that is objecting to the new Woolworths proposal for Mosman and is a supporter of the Corrigan campaign.

Corrigan has also won the support of Zali Steggal the local Federal Member who outed former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with Steggal followers not only mounting a campaign against Woolworths, despite their loss in the Dan Murphy case they are also pushing for a re zoning that will give Mosman Council more power in planning decisions.

Eccles claims on her Facebook page that the properties referred to in the flyer are those zoned R2 and are only within Mosman’s foreshore Scenic Protection Area.

She claims the Scenic Protection area covers any land below the 60-metre contour. Not all R2 zoned areas are in the Scenic Protection Area she said.

However, one observer claimed, ‘What she has not explained is that any objection in or out of the zoned area is still costing ratepayers when Mosman Council objects to plans put forward by ratepayers with Mosman Council already exceeding their legal budgets this year fighting cases they have eventually lost in the Land and Environment Court”.

“If the changes are made this will mean more red tape, more delays and streets that are well away from the foreshore such as Stanton Road, Kirkoswald Avenue Mosman facing costs that are totally unnecessary”.

The issue was first flagged two years ago, when Mosman Council was notified by the NSW State Government that the Planning Department would not be renewing the scenic protections exemptions from the NSW Housing code which have been in effect since 2009.

These exemptions to the Housing Code which the rest of Mosman is subject to will lapse in November this year, and the default zoning will become R2 Low density subject to the NSW Housing Code and this will see planning streamlined and reduce costs for residents.

The Roy Bendall team is now being attacked after raising the Zoning issue claiming that their recent flyer was accurate with the new zoning resulting in:
• increased Council control over properties
• complex, lengthy DA’s
• DAs for minor works including internal alterations
• Increased costs to property owners
• Neighbour notification requirements required for small changes.
They claim that an R2 low density code will deliver cost savings for affected Mosman residents including:
• Strict height, FSR, setbacks and vegetation requirement’s
• Better retention of neighbouring views as buildings are smaller than current approvals.
• Private certification system for complying DA
• Cheaper and quicker processing
• Greater certainty because of strict height, FSR, setback and vegetation.

Mosman Councillor Jacqui Willoughby seen left with Councillor Roy Bendall.

Mosman Councillor Jacqui Willoughby said recently “I support the conservation and protection of the Mosman Foreshore areas especially the tree and habitat corridors, and in fact I am an active member of the bushland regeneration efforts and applaud the work of Mosman Parks and Bushlands, however I feel our flyer and its intentions have been misrepresented certain people pushing an agenda”.

“Our Flyer was designed to raise community awareness of the issue, contrary to MPB letters assertion, re-zoning by definition represents control over property rights.

The Council has published disingenuous information on this issue to residents, equating it to a zoning from R2 with scenic protection provision to E4, environmental living, this is only half the story (but the easy way to ally residents’ fears with little serious evaluation of the choices

The State notified Council 2 years ago they will not be renewing the scenic protections exemptions from the NSW Housing code which have been in effect since 2009.

The Woolworths Vs Mosman Council Land & Environment Court case is set to ahead on the 26th of October 2021 if Mosman Council does back down from their objections to the new Woolworths shopping complex.



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