Court rules against Callala developer

THE Land and Environment Court has dismissed the appeal against Shoalhaven City Council’s deemed refusal of a controversial proposal for a two-storey house amongst bush reserve in Griffin Street, Callala Beach.

Charlie Elachi from Hurstville bought the three blocks of waterfront land between Griffin Street at Benton Sands Estate and the beach, at auction in 2010 for a little over $6000 each.

Council forced the auction of the land to recover unpaid rates.

Residents and council staff at the time of sale were under the impression the land could not be built on because it was zoned 7 (f3), which offers considerable environmental protection.

However, dwellings were permissible with consent, which included meeting a number of conditions specific to that site.

Mr Elachi submitted a development application to council in May 2013 to build a two-storey house and later lodged an appeal in the Land and Environment Court against Shoalhaven City Council’s deemed refusal of the application, once council had taken more than 40 days to process the DA.

In handing down the judgment, Judge Judy Fakes was not satisfied the proposed development was compliant with planning objectives laid out in the Draft SLEP, SEPP 1985, NSW Coastal Policy and the Rural Fires Act.

Judge Fakes also expressed concern at the ecological sensitivity of the Bangalay sand forest which made up the majority of the site along with the size and scale of the proposed development.

Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash welcomed the decision, saying she was confident the local community would be pleased with the final outcome.

The mayor made a commitment to Callala Beach residents to review council’s policy regarding the sale of land for unpaid rates during a public meeting in August 2013.


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