Judge allows Central Qld woman to conduct 'home' business

A CENTRAL Queensland woman can continue to supply and store building materials to her Emerald property after a Brisbane judge found the activity would not establish an "undesirable precedent".

Kim Maree Edwards had been "unlawfully" using a 378sqm shed on 4061sqm of land on Campbell Ford Drive for commercial purposes until she faced enforcement proceedings from the Central Highlands Regional Council.

She unsuccessfully lodged an application for material change of use from rural residential land to allow building materials, relating to her family business, to be bulk stored there.

The council argued the development would set an undesirable precedent, encouraging industrial activities on rural residential land, which would negatively impact the rural amenity and character of the area.

The council also refused the application on the grounds the proposal was an "overdevelopment of the site" and the council had approved several industrial subdivisions serviced with water and sewer trunk infrastructure to meet market demand.

Judge Richard Jones, in a written judgment delivered in Brisbane Planning and Environment Court on Tuesday, said he could not agree with the argument it was a home-based business when Mrs Edwards and her husband did not live in the house on the property.

But he said when he took into the account the unique characteristics of the site, it would not set an undesirable precedent.

Judge Jones said there was already a lot of commercial traffic associated with Emerald's rural and mining activities in the area, water tankers filling up at the end of the road and the land was opposite an unofficial miner pick-up and drop-off point.

He said the noise associated with trucks delivering and taking building supplies, and the beepers on forklifts, nor visual impacts, were sufficient to warrant appeal refusal.

Judge Jones said Mrs Edwards' behaviour in conducting her business unlawfully on the land "ought to be condemned" but he said there was no evidence of any complaint history and there was no genuine conflict with the planning scheme.

"I am satisfied the proposed use is one contemplated within the rural residential precinct provided the amenity of residential and rural residential residents are not compromised beyond an unacceptable level," he said.

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