The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) asked councillors to reconsider their decision to refuse the application, first brought to the council last November.
The applicant removed a helipad and made other modifications through mediations with council officers after the plan came before the tribunal.
Shire of Mundaring councillors turned out in force to consider revisions prepared by the applicant’s representative, Wembley Downs-based Proekt Architects.
The approved application went through with 21 conditions, including limited hours and a 100-patron maximum in the restaurant-reception centre.
Shire President Cr David Lavell exercised his right to cast a second vote to see the application go ahead.
Hobby farmer Joan Quinn said the Alison Street development next to her home was bad news for the community.
“The Shire has ignored its own rules and regulations to approve a major commercial resort in a rural area.
“The development does not fall within the Shire’s town planning scheme because it is not a home-based and part-time small business.
“The helicopter landing may be gone, but the number of spa chalets has increased from six to eight,” she said.
A petition signed by almost 500 residents listed concerns about noise, bushfire risk, loss of amenity and the impact on wildlife habitat.
During the mediations, SAT representatives noted the applicant had made changes to address the council’s reasons for refusal.
If the Shire rejected the resort a second time, the applicant would have the right for the SAT to make the final decision. Tribunal members noted most of the residents’ objections related to the helipad, restaurant-reception centre, dam location and loss of rural land.
According to the SAT, the revisions ensured the chalets would be “reconfigured and clustered into an area of poor vegetation”.
Shire officers advised councillors of the council’s community plan for “balanced development” to maintain the village lifestyle in the Hills.
They also referred to local planning strategy that stated the Shire “should particularly encourage the development of various forms of holiday accommodation near tourist attractions”.
The development is less than 3km from the recreation destination of Lake Leschenaultia.
The Department of Water did not support the original proposal, but approved the latest revision to move the pond-dam to the south of the property.
Tourism WA supported the eco resort if the development met environmental, bushfire and planning approvals.