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Townsville developers launch legal action against Townsville Council

Townsville developers court appeal

Townsville developers are frustrated with the development application and approval decisions being made at the Townsville City Council, as three separate developers have reportedly launched legal action against the local authority.

Juniper Property Holdings and Garbutt Developments lodged legal proceedings in an effort for the court to overturn the Council’s decision to decline an extension to their approval permits.

Townsville developers delaying progress

Mayor Jenny Hill commented that the court action is “frustrating the community” because it is prohibiting development in the City. The challenges by developers against the Council has increased in 2019 since eight appeals were lodged in 2018.

The Council approves many developments. Anyone opposed, be it residents or developers against the development, can use the Planning and Environment Court to overturn the decision.

Commenting to the Townsville Bulletin, Ms Hill said “More and more people are accessing the courts.”

“We need the right sort of development that is acceptable to the community and to a certain extent we are also trying to ensure we don’t allow the planning scheme to be bastardised because there are people out there who have invested (in Townsville) because of our planning scheme,” Ms Hill stated.

Land banking by developers is occurring where investors obtain approval permits and instead of proceeding with the development plans, they on sell the land at a profit.

“In many ways they are land banking because they are never ever going to do the work themselves. “We’ve got no powers to compel people to commence work,” Ms Hill is quoted.

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Developers are using the courts for strategic leverage to delay rival projects or cause the abandonment of projects altogether, such that occurred to the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital expansion.

High legal costs prohibited the Magnetic Island Koala Hospital applicants from challenging the rival developer in the court in this instance.

Back in 2015, a rival residential land developer to Wingate Properties, proposing a $2 billion satellite city project near Ross River Dam, was challenged in the Courts.

EJ Cooper and Son said the project had flood mitigation risks. Wingate said their rival made a frivolous claim for “selfish commercial reasons”.

Townsville developers bring on the law

Responding to a News Corp. reporter, the Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said, “Sometimes people lodge objections out of frustration because they think that the development is going to affect their property values or things like parking and the amenity of the area.”

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“However, sometimes we see these things being used as a delaying tactic but it’s a very expensive thing to do,” Mr Potts said.

The types of material change of use applications submitted to Council in 2019 include multiple residential dwellings, service stations, solar farm, hotel, education facilities, motor sport facility, transport depots, shopping centres, food outlets, place of worship, concrete manufacturing and funeral parlours.

This year to June, the Townsville City Council has decided upon 53 “material change of use” applications compared to 83 in 2018.

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Aaron M, Editior
Aaron is the founder and editor of TREN eMagazine with 15 years experience in the real estate industry investing and helping investors seek value, leverage value and capitalise on value, developing professional and technical skills and capabilities that have enabled his success in business from startups, adoption, asset growth, management and community leadership projects. Aaron also loves travelling, sports, his partner Jodie and helping people discover their "why" and find their few "what's" in life that realise the "wows. The " www" in is one of his why, what and wow's that strive to add valuable content and analysis for readers to participate and win.

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