In what has been described as a win for people power, residents who objected to plans for four double-storey dwellings on one lot in a quiet Altona street have won their battle.
While the proposed subdivision for 12 McIntyre Drive was not uncommon in Altona, residents believe it is the first time there have been 95 objections to such a development.
The planning application from Dajvis Andonov was last week refused by a special planning committee (SPC) of three councillors.
Any application with more than 10 objections goes to the committee for consideration.
The application was refused on grounds including it failed to meet local and state planning policies and did not fit in with the new general residential zone that encourages “development that respects neighbourhood character”.
Objector and civil engineer Stuart Hercules said residents believed the proposal was an overdevelopment for the 801-square metre site, which currently has a single-storey dwelling.
“I’ve been told that in the past, out of 22 SPC hearings, only one [application] was refused,” he said. “We’re the second.
“We’re absolutely elated and I think it’s got big ramifications for the community and it has also enabled us to get to know a lot more of our cool neighbours.
“This development has really galvanised our community, such that we’ve also developed our own action group called Altona Residents Resisting Over Development [ARROD].
“We now have specialist representatives to assist in any future developments we see as greedy and choosing yield over safety and lifestyle.”
Another objector, architect Adam Mamaj, said the council’s unanimous rejection of the proposal was a result of an engaged and motivated local community.
“This decision sends a strong message to developers that the community, as does local and state policy, demands excellence in their built environment,” he said.
“As a community, we should expect all developments will be safe and enjoyable to live in as well as adding value to the area.”
The applicant has 60 days to appeal the council’s refusal at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Mr Andonov, the director of Meraq Building Designers in Altona North, was contacted for comment.