A HENLEY Brook resident has argued for the need for setbacks on rural properties in the Swan Valley after the City of Swan council passed a development without a setback on a shared fence line last week.
Mathew Stevens spoke in the council meeting last week, asking for councillors to defer a motion for a wedding venue on West Swan Road, where a cafe, eight chalets, an open wedding/reception area and toilet block would be built, which he said would affect the amenity and value of his property.
Mr Stevens’ motion failed; instead, it was passed as per officers’ recommendation to approve it.
He said the reception area and toilet block with windows overlooked his backyard and were less than 60m from his home on his six-hectare (15-acre) property.
Mr Stevens said the reception area had a direct impact on his amenity and almost every weekend for the past six months he had wedding guests wandering onto his property and even using the toilets on his property.
“There are so many things wrong with this application. This project is planning at its worst. It’s not the best solution for the site, its neighbours or the area,” he said.
Mr Stevens said the development was great for his neighbour but could create huge financial loss for him.
He said he felt uncomfortable being in his own backyard, knowing wedding guests could see him and the loud music kept him awake almost every weekend.
“If there was some setback or a wall to try and make it more private then it would have been better, but I’ve lost all my privacy,” he said.
“I’ve lost my rights as a land owner to enjoy my own property.
“The property is 15 acres, so I don’t understand why there could not be a setback so direct neighbours weren’t impacted as much.
“I’m not against development, I just wish there was consideration for me and my property.”
Mr Stevens said he emailed all councillors and the Mayor before the council meeting, asking them to see the development from his side of the property and how it would affect him, but only one councillor responded to the email and declined.
“The planning department at the City and the councillors are supposed to look at what the best possible outcome is for everyone and that hasn’t happened,” he said.
“I’m going to have toilets, with windows looking directly into my home and backyard.”
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said there were no prescribed setbacks for the Swan Valley Rural zone in the City’s Local Planning Scheme No.17.
“Setbacks are determined at the discretion of council and this can include consideration of a nil setback,” he said.
“After visiting the site, City staff determined that the proposed nil setback for the toilet block would not adversely impact the amenity of adjoining neighbour.
“They took into account the size of the proposed buildings, its distance from the neighbour’s house and other factors.
“City staff recommended a raft of tight controls around the operation of the sound system for events on the property in order to meet the noise regulations.”
Councillor Peter Lyndon-James declared an impartiality interest in the development because he had accepted a number of grape vines from the proponent’s property, which he said had no value.
The proponent of the development was contacted for comment but did not get back to The Advocate before deadline.