Council and Two Tails – Part 3: Was Council ‘fishing’ for objections?

Over the past few weeks we have been running a number of stories looking at the dispute between the Coffs Harbour City Council and Two Tails Wines in Nana Glen over DA Number 0160/19 which was lodged in May 2019. 

The amended DA removed a previous application in relation to live music and concert events.

By the Editor

Two Tails Winery in Nana Glen – Photo; Trevor Veale, The Coffs Coast Advocate.

The first article published on 30 October focussed on the cost so far to Two Tails.

The second article published on 20 November focused on a major reason Two Tails (TT) and many other Orara Valley residents believe is a major driver behind council’s apparent intransience in regards to the DA.

Today we publish the third and final part of this particular story.

Adjacent and affected?

CCO understands the dispute over the DA is now due to be heard in the Land and Environment court next February.

Discussions that CCO has had over the past month with retired town planners, former senior local government officials and senior State Government planning advisors has highlighted that custom and practice for Planning Departments in local government authorities across NSW and elsewhere is that if someone or an entity lodges a DA then the relevant Planning Department approaches residents and businesses in the area that are generally speaking adjacent to the property where a DA has been lodged.

The reason for this is to ask those who may be adjacent whether they believe they may be adversely affected by what is proposed in the DA.

For example, your neighbour may want to build a second floor on their house, so you and others like you may be asked for your response in this regard.

Even if you argue you are adversely affected Council is not bound to accept your argument however.  Although you could appeal their decision if you could afford it.

Objectors and supporters of Two Tails

CCO has seen four written objections to the TT DA.  The first was  sent to the CHCC, addressed to the General Manager, and was dated 27 May 2019, with a follow up email to Cr Tegan Swan and other councilors on 6 November 2019.

A second objection seen by CCO was sent to Council, ‘for the attention of the General Manager’ on 29 May.

A third objection was sent on 1 June, again addressed directly to the General Manager.

The fourth objection that we have seen, has no date on the letter attached apparently to an email, but it too was also addressed to the General Manager (GM).

So we are aware of at least four objections, there may be more. 

All four are quite within their rights to object and the issues they raise will no doubt be considered by the Land and Environment Court next year.  As such we do not intend to comment on them any further.

However CCO has also seen four letters sent to Council that support the DA.  And these ones are interesting for two main reasons that we wish to focus on;

  • What they say to Council, and
  • How far away from Two Tails some are.

One supporter of the TT DA had concerns about parking which we understand TT has now said they are willing to address.  Other than that the supporter, a Nana Glen resident, states “I do not have a problem with the expantion (sic) of the dining area at Two Tails Winery”

The second supporter, in an email to Council and all councilors dated 30 May 2019, is absolutely scathing of Council’s position on DA 0160/19.  Here are just a few snippets of what is in that email;

“It absolutely dumbfounds me that Council has stated it wants to promote the area to create more employment and increase tourism has done exactly the opposite!” (Sic)

“The area that surrounds the “Two Tails Winery/Vineyard is suffering of an above average unemployment and you have done everything to make unemployment in the area worse!

Well done Coffs Harbour City Council!

I hope all involved are very proud of yourselves!”

The third supporter in an email dated 30 May 2019, again addressed to the GM, said, among other things;

“We fully support the development application at 963 Orara Way, Nana Glen…….. It’s the role of Council to promote and support expansions of businesses such as this which create employment and bring tourists and visitors to the local area providing flow on to other small businesses in the villages.”

Lastly, supporter number four in a hand-written letter dated 25 May 2019, and directly addressed to the GM states;

Thank you for asking me to comment on the above DA for a Restaurant expansion at the Two Tails Winery.  I would like to congratulate the owners for being prepared to have a go at expanding  their business and that I support their application” (CCO emphasis added).

The handwritten letter from TT DA Supporter No. 4

Adjacent?

DA supporter number three is 904.8m (almost a kilometer) in a straight line from Two Tails according to Google Maps.

DA supporter number four above is situated 1.92 km in a straight line from Two Tails according to Google Maps.  Almost 2kms away

Do those last two sound as if though they are adjacent to you and given the amended DA would they be likely to be adversely affected?

At ‘arms length’?

Lastly those discussions that CCO  had with retired planners, former senior local government officials and senior State Government planning advisors has highlighted that custom and practice for DA’s in local government authorities across NSW and elsewhere is that General Managers of Council’s always remain at ‘arms length’ from them and leave planning decisions and actions to be taken by their planning departments.

Given seven out of the eight DA responses mentioned above were addressed to the GM and not someone in the CHCC Planning Department, and given the last mentioned above states “Thank you for asking me to comment on the above DA”  , then it is fair to wonder if this convention has been followed in regards to the Two Tails DA.

Or whether they appear to be being treated differently for example?

And if that convention hasn’t been followed then the next obvious question is; “Why not?”  Were the GM and/or Council ‘fishing’ for objections over a fairly expansive area?

Was a f’ishing expedition’ for these going on given the distance away from TT of some of those who wrote to the CHCC about the DA?

Perhaps the Land and Environment court will get to the bottom of this one?

Two Tails punch on – a ‘plug’

Not to be overwhelmed by this Maddy and Baz have opened a magnificent new seafood inspired restaurant down in the Jetty Area named “Velvets on Jetty.”

CCO had the great fortune to dine there on opening night on Friday 28 November and we were hugely impressed by everything on offer and from every angle too.

The original Velvets at the winery in Nana Glen is still operating too.

So now you have two ways at least to support this award-winning winery and restaurant(s).

Two Tails Wines - Posts | Facebook
384 HARBOUR DR,
2450 Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia
(02) 6652 1957

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This story was originally intended to be published two weeks ago, but emerging current stories relating to the sale of the Rose Avenue CHCC premises and the lease of the Coffs Harbour Regional airport ‘got in the way’ unfortunately.

4 thoughts on “Council and Two Tails – Part 3: Was Council ‘fishing’ for objections?

  1. FYI, all correspondence to Council should be addressed to the General Manager, it can be marked/noted Attention : John or Mary Doe .
    The General Manager does not get sent (internally) every item correspondence, Council record section tasks it to the area/person within Council whom handles the subject matter of the correspondence.

  2. It’s amazing that a small business attempting to grow is knocked back with 4 objections yet the DA for the CCCS received over 750 objections. ???????

  3. This is correct. All correspondence should be addressed to the GM. Nothing untoward here. Also anyone is entitled to register their support or objection to any DA regardless of their proximity to the development. It is usually only immediate neighbours who are informed by Council, in writing,that a DA has been lodged on the adjoining property. This is standard practice.
    The real issue generally is the weight given to the objectors on any DA by the Planning staff assessing the merit of the application. Consideration must be given to both objections and support by Council but overwhelmingly the decision to support or refuse or place unreasonably onerous conditions on a development must be made based on compliance (or not) with the provisions of the LEP, DCP and Planning legislation.
    It is my experience that far too often Planning staff attempt to appease the objectors and require applicants to amend their proposal to satisfy the objections rather than make a decision on whether or not the objection has enough merit to require amendment or even refusal of the development. This appears to be the case here and the applicant refuses to play this game and has decided to challenge what has become, more often than not, this common CHCC Planning Dept practice.
    Watch this space.

  4. Thanks J Holmes and Little Charlie, much appreciated and your responses certainly add some clarity. Clearly you appear to have professional knowledge and it is excellent that you share that with us.

    However, the issue of why someone almost two kilometers away was approached to comment is problematic in my experience. I live diagonally opposite a house that several years ago did get approval for an extra floor’s extension.

    I know neighbours next door, behind and straight across the road were approached by the Planing Department by phone in the first instance , but I, and another like me, were not. In a straight line I would have been 30 -35 meters away from the front of the proposed new development.

    As it turned out I would not have objected just like the Two Tails DA supporters quoted in the story.

    This from what I have heard is far more the norm and I am fine with that. But approaching people so far away as seems to be the case with Two Tails? Really?!

    Something does not ‘smell right’ at all about this.

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