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A CONTENTIOUS development for a block of four residential units in Mt Martha, now appealed to VCAT, has neighbours seeing red.
The Birdrock Avenue plans have been appealed to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal after 17 objections from nearby residents.
Robyn Turner, who shares a fence with the development site, said the developer had plans approved for the project despite a VCAT hearing being under way.
She believes the appropriate protocol was not followed by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in allowing the development to proceed despite multiple objections - "we feel like we have had our rights taken away".
Mrs Turner said the street would lose its character and charm if the development proceeded and that it would set a precedent for similar constructions in the street.
She said she has lost faith in the council after observing how the this Birdrock Avenue development had been handled. "I am worried about future developments that may be passed by the council after having seen how the council has handled this."
Mrs Turner said there had been no mediation hearings prior to the matter going to VCAT.
The council's manager statutory planning Angela Hughes said plans had not been amended while the matter was going through the VCAT.
"An amendment to [the planning permit], which allows three dwellings on this site, was approved by officers after council had been advised of the notice of decision to grant a [planning permit] for the proposed four-dwelling development of the site had been appealed to VCAT but before VCAT had set a date to consider the merits of the appeal."
Mrs Turner disputes the dates the council had been notified of the VCAT decision and said the plans should never have been amended with the knowledge of the hearing.
"We will be content with VCAT's decision but we feel like these amendments should never have been allowed," she said.
Ms Hughes said there were occasions when more than one planning application was being considered by the council on the same site at the same time.
"In these circumstances, the Planning and Environment Act does not provide that one application is 'held back' to wait for the other application to be ready to be decided. The act provides a statutory timeframe for when decisions on planning applications should be made by.
"Although council were aware that our decision relating to the four dwelling development had been appealed, this did not preclude council from deciding an amendment to the planning permit for the three-dwelling development."
Ms Hughes said only one amendment had been made to the planning permit since it was granted on May 30.
"This amendment involved the replacement of the existing dwelling with a new dwelling and consequent changes to the setback of the new dwelling from the side boundaries of adjoining properties," she said.
"Two planning applications have been submitted for this site proposing a three-dwelling and four-dwelling development respectively, as well as an amendment application relating to the three dwelling planning permit.
"This planning permit allowed the retention to the existing dwelling and the construction of two additional dwellings on the site.
"The planning permit was amended on January 23 to allow the existing dwelling to be replaced by a new dwelling as outlined above."
The matter went to the VCAT on June 19 and a decision is expected to be handed down by the end of the month.