Here are our notes on last Fridays VCAT Practice Day Hearing. This VCAT session is primarily for VCAT to understand the scope and magnitude of the developer’s application, and schedule future hearing days and time required for them.
Attending were the applicant (developers solicitor), Hobsons Bay Councils solicitor, and a representatives for the numerous objectors.
Observations of hearing (unofficial).
VCAT Practice Day Hearing 10th February 2012 at 11am
VCAT Reference Number: P27/2012
Regarding: 6 Paine Street Newport VIC 3015
Adeline Lane (Maddocks solicitors representing Hobsons Bay Council).
Sarah Don (Best Hooper solicitors representing the developer Peter Cahill).
Melissa Gojak (representing objecting residnets).
Mark Tenner (Hobsons Bay Council Planner).
Darren Williams (representing residents).
Observers notes of hearing:
- VCAT confirmed receipt of all of the objections, en excess of 220 of them. Due to the large number of objectors: VCAT will write to all of the residents who lodged a Statement of Grounds advising them that unless specifically requested by the individual resident, VCAT, the Council and the Applicant will only be writing to the nominated resident representatives. These representatives will communicate with the residents.
- The Applicant stated it was willing to undertake Mediation, the Council, residents and VCAT did not see much could be achieved the scheduled Mediation session. VCAT decided to vacate the Mediation date and we will proceed to Hearing commencing on 11 April 2012, not 10 April 2012 as originally advised by VCAT.
- The Applicant is intending to call 5 witnesses and expects to take 1-2 days. The Council is only intending to call 1 witness (an Architect) and expects to take 1 day. Residents estimated ½ a day and there will be a site visit – therefore the Hearing is expected to take a total of 4 Hearing days plus the Member’s site inspection.
- Resident’s representative raised the issue of the discrepancy between the value of the development in the application to Council and that in the application to VCAT. In the application to Council the development was estimated at $9.5M. The VCAT Major Case List is for applications over $10M. In the application to VCAT Major Case List the estimate had inexplicably risen to over $12M. The VCAT Member has ordered that the developer provide an explanation and supporting figures within 7 days.
All parties are to prepare their cases for the hearing.
Residents will soon be contacted about the case being developed on their behalf.