Veron Rd approval is recommended
Gosford Council staff are continuing to recommend approval for the construction of a retirement village on rare bushland on the corner of Veron Rd and Hillview St, Woy Woy, after a six-week deferment requested by the applicant.
The DA was previously due to come before Council on February 13, but council agreed to the deferment after the developer requested extra time to provide details of the proposed staging of the development and an amended arborist's report.
However council's agenda states "the applicant has since indicated that it is not intended to stage the development at this juncture".
The amended arborist's report is not included in the business papers.
The Council report has also been modified to include a koala assessment, an offer by the developer of two of the units for rental as "social housing", and a response to a letter from the Australian Conservation Foundation's Central Coast branch.
In the report, the council's environment assessment officer stated: "Given the DEC has granted concurrence for this application, I am of the opinion that Council would be prudent to grant consent to the application subject to conditions.
"This opinion is not based solely on the DEC concurrence but with regard to the previous Land and Environment Court decision along with the judgement handed down in the Telstra Corporation Limited v Hornsby Shire Council  NSW LEC 133.
"In short the applicant has demonstrated in the SIS, the full extent of the proposed impact and presented a number of ameliorative measures to mitigate the extent of the impact.
"The DEC, which is the State authority for administering threatened species legislation, has considered this and granted concurrence.
"Based on the above information it would be unlikely for Council to defend further legal action in respect to a s97 challenge on refusal of this application.
"Given this, conditions are provided ... to strengthen environmental safe guards and approval of the application is recommended."
The Council report provided a four-page response to the letter from the Central Coast branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
This letter asked for the council report to be reviewed and rewritten on the grounds that it is "inaccurate, inadequate and unbalanced, and that it misleads councillors in their consideration of development application 30219/2006".
It outlined 23 points that the ACF branch believed required correction.
The council response stated that "Council refutes these claims, however acknowledges that additional background information" on the previous development applications, the Land and Environment Court findings, and their relationship with the current application "would be beneficial to assist in clearly understanding the issues."
The council report stated: "Ultimately the core issue in respect to this site is the impact of the proposal on Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland.
"Whilst the ACF letter is critical of Council for placing significant weight in the DEC concurrence report, it should be highlighted that the DEC is the peak State regulatory body for administering threatened species legislation in NSW.
"Council acknowledges that the proposal is likely to lead to a significant impact on UCSW and has maintained this position throughout both the current applications the previous applications and the LEC proceedings."
The council report said the application had been lodged based on the facts that:
* UCSW occurs over the majority of the subject site;
* The proposed development is likely to lead to a significant impact on UCSW;
* The subject site contains habitat for a number of threatened species;
* An SIS is required to support the proposed development application;
* The SIS was to prepared in accordance with the DGR's and s109-111 of the TSC Act 1995;
The report stated: "Council, whilst maintaining the position that the proposed development is likely to lead to a significant impact on UCSW, has formed the opinion, based on guidance from the Director General of the DEC that consent should be granted subject to conditions.
"Council holds the opinion that the proposed application has been assessed in accordance with the full statutory framework for assessment of threatened species, populations and ecological communities."
Council agenda ENV.22, 1 May 2007