Council destroyed their dream
A HONEYMOONING couple who fell in love with the Fraser Coast and bought an old house on a prime waterside block of land in Hervey Bay wish they had never heard of us.
More than $260,000 in costs and seven years later Sam and Christina Kokkinis say they are broke and have to sell off the family home in NSW.
“I’ve watched over the past seven years a greedy and incompetent council rip the heart out of a once tranquil town,” an emotional Mr Kokkinis said yesterday.
The Kokkinises bought the medium density-zoned block in a waterside Scarness street in November 2002. Their plans were to build five townhouses and live in one of them.
“None of the council or government searches when purchasing showed any issues. In 1980 the council approved five townhouses next door, with what they would later tell me was a non-existent road, clearly signposted.
“We were told we had to survey the whole of the Hervey Bay foreshore just to make that 5m stretch of road our legal access.
“The fee was over $10,000.”
The Kokkinises spent 2004-2005 arguing with the council, dealing with six government departments, lawyers and engineers and meeting with then-deputy mayor Mick Kruger.
In 2005 they got the go-ahead for their plans but by then they were outdated and needed revamping.
A litany of delays, fees and the recent refusal to grant an extension of time plunged the couple into penury.
Council infrastructure fees went from $8910 in 2003 to $37,135 in 2005 to $105,768 today.
THE COUNCIL'S RESPONSE
THERE are two aspects that need clarification, the council’s director of development services, David King, says.
1: Mr Kokkinis had an approval under the previous Hervey Bay town plan for a development on his land in Scarness.
Aswith all developments, approvals have an expiry or lapsing date. MrKokkinis was obviously aware of this and sought advice from hisconsultant about an extension. Unfortunately it appears he did not getcorrect advice in relation to the extension.
He did apply for anextension; however under the Integrated Planning Act, when the councilreceives a request for an extension it must assess the developmentagainst the current planning scheme (not the previous scheme) – hisconsultant would have been aware of this.
The development did not comply with the current planning scheme, therefore the extension could not be approved.
2:In relation to infrastructure charges the council tried to help theapplicant to amend the conditions of his approval to make it consistentwith the current policy on infrastructure charges, however noapplication was ever received.
The council believes some form ofdevelopment can be undertaken on the land and looks forward toreceiving an application in the future.
As usual the council hasfacilitated this development by providing access to the block,approving the development application and the operational works,however it seems this project is a victim of the global financialcrisis.