A CONTROVERSIAL block of units on Wagga's Kincaid Street will be built despite strong opposition from neighbouring residents and some of the city's elected representatives.
Newly re-elected mayor Rod Kendall used his casting vote to approve the eight-unit development - subject to a number of conditions - after the vote was locked at 5-5 during Monday night's council meeting.
Councillors Alan Brown, Paul Funnell, Garry Hiscock, Kevin Poynter and new deputy mayor Dallas Tout indicated their opposition during the show of hands.
Councillors Kendall, Yvonne Braid, Greg Conkey, Andrew Negline and Kerry Pascoe voted in favour, with Councillor Julian McLaren absent for the count.
The decision comes after lengthy debate at council's policy and strategy committee meeting two weeks ago, when moves by the organisation to loosen zoning laws were slammed by a number of people who live nearby.
The parcel of land in question, 190 Kincaid Street, is zoned R1 - general residential - and residents say eight units exceeds the allowed density, of about six, on the site.
The need to alter density conditions above the allowed 10 per cent variation and 15 public submissions meant the matter was required to come before council.
Cr Conkey asked if an application for six units had been lodged, and no objections received, could it have been approved under delegated authority?
Acting director of planning Colby Farmer told the meeting it could have, with the allowed variation.
Cr Conkey also questioned if there was a height restriction for developments along Kincaid Street; the answer, no.
"Approving this development will not set a precedent," Cr Conkey said.
"It falls within the low to medium density range, which is acceptable in the R1 zone."
In voicing opposition, Cr Funnell questioned "why do we even bother" with land zoning and Cr Tout said there was a "major disconnect" in council's development control plan (DCP).
"I'm worried this could happen increasingly in our R1 zones in the city ... where do you stop?" Cr Tout said.
"To me, it is setting a precedent ... on the basis we've let this through, why don't we do more and more?
"Zoning is in place to give you an amenity ... you have a fair expectation that should continue."
Cr Hiscock slammed council's approach to planning, saying the "precedent on this type of development started a long time ago".
"We've let the cat out of the bag in years gone by, why are we doing it again?" Cr Hiscock said.
His comments were met with applause from the public gallery.
SPOKESMAN for concerned residents around the Kincaid Street development site Ashley Tidd has expressed his disappointment Wagga City Councillors couldn't see the errors in the proposal.
"That was unbelievable," Ashley Tidd said of Monday night's decision to approve the approve the eight-unit development, subject to a number of conditions, using a mayoral vote.
Mr Tidd addressed council's policy and strategy committee meeting on September 15, where he said 10 homes in the street were classified as "special character".
"Allowing such high density development would destroy the special character of the area," Mr Tidd told the meeting.
"Residents expect council's planning instruments to provide some certainty that the character and amenity of Central Wagga won't be destroyed by ad-hoc planning decisions."
On Tuesday, Mr Tidd told The Daily Advertiser he was "very, very disappointed" about the approval.
"We really wonder now the precedent has been set," he said.
Mr Tidd also questioned what motivated councillors to approve the development, which he said was a 30 per cent increase and therefore much higher than the allowed 10 per cent density variation.
"It's not allowed and they still went ahead with it," he said.
Mr Tidd indicated a legal challenge could be mounted, provided someone had the thousands of dollars required to make it happen.
As one "last roll of the dice", concerned residents have scheduled an appointment with member for Wagga Daryl Maguire.
It is hoped Mr Maguire will make representations to NSW minister for planning Pru Goward.
'You're not supposed to pass this sort of development," Mr Tidd said.