Eight reasons underpinned a planning panel's rejection of a $23.5 million development proposal at Port Macquarie's Pacific Drive.
The development application, from applicant Laurus Projects, proposed a 68-unit complex at 10-13 Pacific Drive with two levels of basement parking, six residential levels above the basement and one unit at lower ground level.
The Northern Regional Planning Panel refused the development application, citing eight reasons, at a meeting on Thursday, November 25.
The reasons included inconsistency with the zone objectives, which encouraged medium density development, where the proposal presented as high density, loss of privacy and overshadowing to the west and the south.
The unsatisfactory visual impact which would have been created from key lookouts, especially the Coastal Walkway and Pacific Drive, and inconsistency with the existing and desired future character of the locality, because of the excessively bulky building form, were among the other reasons for refusal.
The panel declined to uphold the request to vary the development standard in relation to building height, because of a failure to satisfy all of the relevant tests.
The meeting stretched across three hours including the speakers' addresses, answers to questions and an adjournment for the panel to consider its decision.
Concerned resident Carole Field described the proposed development as "visual pollution of the worst kind".
"If this DA is approved, we fear it will open the floodgates for further similar developments, destroying the beautiful scenic coastal aspect," she said.
"Noise during construction and later by occupants' use of the 68 balconies, along with lights, will be disturbing."
Daryl Summerfield spoke about concerns including loss of views and sea breezes.
Mr Summerfield said the development would set a precedent for the future, turning the beautiful coastline into the Gold Coast.
He said the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council-owned land on Pacific Drive was prime real estate and the council should have engaged the public on what else would best suit this prime site.
A portion of the Pacific Drive site is owned by the council.
The council decision to sell the land at 10-16 Pacific Drive to Pacific Drive Pty Ltd was made in a confidential session at a meeting in March 2017.
Under the contract, final settlement on council's sale of public land is subject to, and conditional upon, the DA obtaining development consent.
The council referred the development application for assessment to an independent third party.
Andrew Stoner spoke in opposition to the development application.
"The proposal now under consideration would make former members of the Port Macquarie Conservation Society turn in their graves," he said.
Mr Stoner said it was clearly high density proposed in an area with significant heritage, environmental and traffic issues.
He said the proposal should be significantly scaled back to ensure it was in keeping with the neighbouring precinct.
Donna Clarke from Land Dynamics, who spoke in favour of the development application, said the proposal considered the residential amenity, current and future residents and the site's constraints.
Ms Clarke said they had looked at what could be proposed on surrounding sites and what existed at the moment.
It was a new form of development in the area, she said, but that didn't mean it was not in harmony with the area.
Ms Clarke said the design broke the building into an E-shape, and from the Coastal Walk or Pacific Drive, people would look at three components rather than a full block.
She said the parking was well above what was required, high quality materials would be used and the proposal included landscaping.
The panel members inspected the site before the meeting. They unanimously rejected the development application.
Submissions from the public received during the exhibition period raised concerns from traffic and parking to the development's size and scale, acoustic concerns, loss of privacy, ecology, stormwater concerns and light pollution.
The development plan recently came under scrutiny when ABC's Four Corners program aired an investigation into the Obeid family.
The development, by Laurus Projects, was listed among coastal developments allegedly linked back to the Obeid family in the investigation.
Laurus Projects told Four Corners that the Obeid family had no involvement in their Port Macquarie development.
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