Residents' concerns remain over DA close to Lakewood Drive and Top Lake

The land next on Lakewood Drive, Merimbula where the development is proposed.
The land next on Lakewood Drive, Merimbula where the development is proposed.

A group of residents in Merimbula's Lakewood Dr area is preparing to do battle for the third time against a development close to the boardwalk near Top Lake, Merimbula.

The subdivision application (2013.217) of 3.24ha (8 acres), was initially lodged for 23 lots in 2013. The plans were amended in 2016 to 15 lots and residents informed in January 2017.

Now they have been amended to 13 lots and residents are urging anyone with an interest in the lake and the environment to make a submission to council before the closing date of Sunday, June 29.

Ray Miller is the owner of Lot 172 DP 1157144, bordered by Lakewood Drive, Tern Close and Top Lake.

Council said the purpose of the latest amendment was to address issues relating to biodiversity conservation, bushfire protection and proposed public reserve dedication.

Along with the 13 lots, some of which may have more than one home of them, the developer is proposing to put in a new road to access the lots and will have a parcel of land designated as public reserve. The setback from the lake is proposed as 75m.

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In it's guidelines for healthy estuaries for healthy oysters, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) states: "Any new subdivision adjacent to an estuarine waterway should include a minimum 100 metres vegetated riparian zone buffer."

The guidelines also point to the issues around acidic soil, something that that has concerned oyster farmers in the past.

"Subdivision and development involving excavation should be avoided in areas with high potential for acid sulfate soils, or an acid sulfate soil management plan should be prepared and implemented if this can't be avoided," the guidelines state.

Local residents are concerned that the DPI guidelines are not being implemented for the development and are also worried about the amount of clearing proposed, the steep aspect of the land and what this may mean in terms of run-off and stormwater management..

The say 65 per cent of the development will be cleared of trees with an asset protection zone put in behind the development on the western side.

Residents say the area will will 65 per cent cleared if the development goes ahead.

Residents say the area will will 65 per cent cleared if the development goes ahead.

In a letter that they are circulating, residents says the amenity of the area will be adversely affected and claim that a plant and ecosystem identification indicated 24 different plants and 47 different animals on site.

Seven of the 13 lots are under 1000sqm - the smallest is 604sqm - and two are battle axe lots which council says is not desirable under the terms of its Development Control Plan.

June Forbes lives in Tern Close and is adjacent to the development. She says every one in Tern Close is very upset about it.

"Council seems to be pushing for two-storey townhouses and it doesn't suit the area," Ms Forbes said.

The latest amendments to the block close to Merimbula's Top Lake.

The latest amendments to the block close to Merimbula's Top Lake.

Jan Handberg is opposite the development on the other side of Lakewood Drive and worries about having another intersection in the road down to the lake but most of all she is concerned about the environmental effects.

"When we first moved here we talked to council about fire hazards and they told up you have to leave fallen trees for native birds but now they're prepared to clear all those trees," Ms Handberg said.

Penelope Murphy, another Tern Close resident agrees.

"A lot of people are concerned on environmental grounds. There are 53 per cent of the lots that are under 1000sqm, which is the minimum lot size under the 2013 LEP," Ms Murphy said.

Residents claim the DA was submitted just weeks before the 2013 LEP came into force with its minimum lot size of 1000sqm.

But that is an argument that may lose its sting as council is planning to remove lot size restrictions on R3 and B4 zones with an agenda item listed for the meeting on Wednesday, June 16.

In the past oyster farmers have been vocal about concerns of run-off particularly with acidic soils in the area and a representative for the oyster farmers has been contacted for a comment on the amendment to Mr Miller's DA.

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