Wagga councillors have locked in ground rules for one of Wagga's most contentious planning matters in recent times.
At Monday night's council meeting, majority of the city's councillors voted in favour of the new controls for the Morgan, Murray and Forsyth streets block that has been eyed-off for a $180 million overhaul.
The Damasa development group has been waiting for Wagga council to lay down rules for the site before it finalised its plans, which currently propose 180 residential apartments, 13 three-storey townhouses and new retail and office spaces.
A total of 224 submissions were submitted to council during the public consultation phase - both in support and against the planning matter - where concerns such as green spaces, traffic and parking issues and height were among the topics raised.
Deputy mayor Dallas Tout said it would be remiss not to approve this planning proposal if the city is going to become "the preeminent regional city" in the state - if not the country.
"This to me is a piece of the jigsaw. This is another part in a thriving city ready for the future," he said.
"There are people who wish to live in a normal, residential three bed out in Estella and someone who likes living out in a village, but there is an increasing number of people looking for residential options that this offers."
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Although Cr Paul Funnell said it was an "outstanding development" of an old, worn out site in need of rejuvenation, he could not support the planning proposal.
He said there was too much uncertainty in the concerns of traffic flow, green space, parking and the possibilities of the site being sold or developed in stages.
"There are a lot of ifs and that's the problem," he said.
"This is about getting the rules in place. That said, rules are put in place to cater for a specific site ... but our conditions and rules in place are to cater for this specific design.
"To me that is the cart before the horse."
However, Cr Vanessa Keenan said she was confident that the majority of the issues raised by residents had been addressed by the proposed controls.
The next stage will be for a development application to be submitted to the council, which Cr Keenan said the developer could "bet their bottom dollar" it will be widely scrutinised.
"There is an expectation from the community that it will happen and the council still requires a number of various details in the next stage," she said.
Cr Rod Kendall said this is a resolution of a historic issue, that being "an inappropriate industrial site" in the middle of a residential area.
"Now that wasn't always in the middle of the city. It was on the western edge of the city that continued to grow away, but as the city continues to grow we need to address those issues," he said.
Cr Kendall said this stage is about setting specific rules to address the concerns raised to the council, not detailed designs for matters such as traffic and drainage, which will come later.
Cr Dan Hayes said this is a process that is "slow, considered and in the public eye" and the number of concerns raised by the public will be addressed and dealt with.
Cr Tim Koschel said his main concern was the height of 32 metres for the site, however he believed the development will rejuvenate the whole area and add value.
The planning proposal was supported by Crs Greg Conkey, Tout, Hayes, Koschel, Keenan and Kendall while Cr Funnell voted against.
Cr Yvonne Braid abstained from voting. Cr Kerry Pascoe declared a conflict of interest.