Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has released a previously confidential report on the decision to sell a swathe of public land on Pacific Drive in a move to be more open and transparent.
The 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.
During an extra-ordinary meeting on January 13 the new council voted unanimously to release to the public the report and minutes on the council's dealings with the Pacific Drive sale from the March 2017 council meeting. A request was also carried for the CEO to provide councillors with a briefing on the matter.
The package of information was released onto the council's website on Friday.
"This demonstrates what this new council has set out to do. We want to be transparent and as mayor I want to answer the concerns of the community," Cr Pinson said.
"This motion was simply to provide the information the councillors in 2017 had available to them when making the decision to sell the block of land on Pacific Drive."
The report, on the council's website, said in September 2016 the Pacific Drive Pty Ltd approached council over closing an unformed section of road reserve fronting numbers 10, 13, 16 and 17 Pacific Drive, Port Macquarie.
It was followed by a formal application to buy the Pacific Drive road reserve on December 9, 2016, with a revised application for a reduced area which removed the section in front of number 17 on January 9, 2017.
The report also reveals that as part of its application the company indicated that it was prepared to pay a market value of $1 million for the site plus a 5 per cent premium.
The block, owned by council, made up a portion of land subject to an on-going development application by Laurus Projects, which proposed a 68-unit complex for the site with two levels of basement parking, six residential levels above the basement and one unit at lower ground level.
The development plan came under scrutiny when ABC's Four Corners program aired an investigation into the Obeid family last year, which alleged the coastal development was linked back to the Obeids.
Laurus Projects told Four Corners that the Obeid family had no involvement in their Port Macquarie development.
Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peta Pinson said the issue of the sale of land and a possible Obied connection became public knowledge through the programme.
"I was contacted and asked about my involvement at the time (the Four Corners program aired), but I wasn't part of council in March 2017 when that decision was made. I was inducted later that year," she said.
Under the contract council made in 2017, final settlement on council's sale of the public land was conditional upon the DA by Laurus Projects obtaining development consent.
Council referred the development application for assessment to an independent third party, with the matter going before the Northern Regional Planning Panel in a public determination meeting on November 25 last year.
The Northern Regional Planning Panel refused the development application, citing eight reasons, at the meeting. 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 developer has until March to appeal the decision by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.
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