Residents received copies of the plan four days earlier but councillors felt the former needed more time.
The site, bounded by Apollo Place and Old Coast Road to the east, short-stay accommodation units to the north, a canal to the west and vacant residential lots to the south, contains three historic buildings.
The council recommended the State Planning Commission should approve the structure plan with modifications.
Eighty-eight submissions were received citing two-storey apartments not being in keeping with the heritage buildings, the destruction of olive trees listed on Mandurah’s Significant Tree Register and the unique 11-room homestead being within a couple of metres of a residence.
Owners of the Quest Apartments on the northern boundary of the site and Apollo Place to the south claimed they bought properties on the understanding a 1.4ha heritage conservation area would preserve the existing farm buildings.
Another said the proposed development was not in keeping with the heritage value of the site and grossly misrepresented the council’s earlier agreed recommendation to focus on the tourism aspect of the buildings. Others suggested Mandurah Community Museum could shift to the site and include a small cafe.
They said the site was used for parking for major events and wedding ceremonies. It was one of the most popular venues for wedding photographs.
Proposed development could also add to problems for northbound traffic.
Cr Caroline Knight said if the council recommendation was approved, the council would have no control over the State Planning Commission’s final decision.
“If we reject it, we might not get any say at all,” she said.
Fred Reibeling described the site as “much loved but privately owned land”.
He said he understood people’s concerns but the best way to deal with the proposal was through the council’s recommendation.