BAW Baw Shire councillors have approved the Power Ranch country music venue proposal for Trafalgar East despite council officers advising against the move.
The planning permit approval, granted at last week’s council meeting, will see up to 10 country music nights held at the Mountain Glen Drive address every year.
The venue has a long history of planning permit issues. It was used for music nights in 2009 without council approval, but with council assistance the operator applied for and was issued a temporary planning permit in November 2010.
During the assessment of a subsequent application for an ongoing permit several compliance issues with Building Act regulations were raised. The application was refused in January 2012 and the issue went to VCAT, which upheld the council’s decision.
Planners advised councillors against approving the latest application due to concerns it would “result in a land use that will have negative amenity impacts on surrounding residents in the farming zone area” and possibly cause unreasonable noise, dust and litter conflicting with agricultural production.
A number of neighbours with houses between 350 and 510 metres away from the site also presented concerns about noise and ruined views at last week’s meeting.
“My wife and I did a tree change, coming down to here eight years ago,” one objector said.
“We moved into a rural farming zoned area because we had an expectation of a quiet country life.”
Mount Worth ward councillor Peter Kostos moved the motion to approve the site’s operation subject to strict conditions, including the planting of fast-growing trees to shield neighbours from the site, changes to road configuration, waste management and sound system limitations.
Click here for the full list of conditions
“These conditions will have to be adhered to either before or during any event the applicant may have,” Cr Kostos said.
“All issues aside, there is a great opportunity here to have a good festive occasion for people to go to.
“They also have a promotion for kids to grab a microphone and sing. It’s a great opportunity for young wannabes to get up and strut their stuff.”
Cr Kostos said the visual impact on the neighbours’ properties would be minimal.
“I was out at the Power Ranch this morning with our mayor, and.. all I could see of [one objector’s house] was the roof.”
Before the vote mayor Murray Cook challenged the planners’ objection, which was based on the area being agricultural land.
“There’s been a fair bit of bad blood in this particular issue over a long period of time and I hope we can move on from here regardless of what the outcome is,” Cr Cook said.
“One of the problems I have is referring to that area as ‘good agricultural land.’ I own some property in the vicinity and it certainly is not good agricultural land.”
Warragul ward councillor Mikaela Power was the only councillor present to vote against the approval.
“This strikes me as something that started as a great idea,” Cr Power said.
“The many conditions that are applied are there to make sure it’s a safe and fun event for people attending and also that it’s reasonable for the neighbours. Everyone has different perspectives.
“I think many of the conditions that we’re setting for the application will be hard to achieve.”
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