By Kate Taylor
A chicken farm owner and a service station developer were embroiled in a debate over buffer zones at a council meeting.
The February Development Assessment Committee (DAC) meeting heard the application to develop a service station to refuel up to 16 cars and four trucks at once, with 41 car parks and four truck parking bays, on a 2.5Ha parcel of land within a Farming Zone in Maddingley.
The Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road property sits between Woolpack Road and Parwan-Exford Road and currently has shipping containers and car bodies on it.
Six objections to the application were lodged, however no public consultation meeting was held because “the applicant did not wish to consult with objectors” according to a council planning officer.
The objections were largely about noise, lights, traffic and litter, as well as environmental concerns.
The application also included a service lane to be built for access to the site, as well as a 24/7 café, which was originally planned as a drive-through fast-food restaurant, but council officers stated that it would not be allowed in the Farming Zone.
A council planning officer recommended granting the permit, but with conditions.
“movements and associated noise are not expected to increase significantly, and the truck parking bay to be located towards the rear of the site would accommodate only four trucks,” read the report, tabled on the night.
“It is also noted that the nearest dwelling to the proposed development is approximately 190m to the south-east and the broiler farm approximately 190m to the north-east. Nonetheless, it is recommended that a condition of approval require that most site deliveries and all refuelling be confined to the hours of 7am-10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 9am-10pm, Sundays and public holidays.
“Furthermore, it is recommended that the proposed plant equipment area be completely enclosed within a building to minimise noise.”
Speaker Lisa Gervasoni addressed the meeting on behalf of objector Val Zdero, noting that the site is of agricultural significance.
‘It is an area recognised by the state as well as by the Moorabool Planning Scheme as important to agriculture,” she said.
Councillors noted the objector is the owner of the broiler farm adjacent to the service station site.
“If the lights from the trucks go into the sheds, the chooks will not lay,” Val Zdero told the meeting.
“It only takes one driver to do a wrong U-turn at the moment and the lights go in the shed and disturb the chooks.”
There is a 400m buffer zone from the broiler farm, however it is only in the broiler farm Code of Conduct and only applies to nearby ‘sensitive uses’ and the service station is not considered to be a sensitive use.
Councillors voted to approve the proposal with a condition requiring a thickly landscaped buffer strip to be planted along the outer borders of the north, northeast and southeast accessways to provide screening from vehicle headlights when trucks and cars are circulating through the site.
Twenty-four hour operation in this location, in consideration of the separation distances and recommended conditions, was also considered to be “acceptable.”
The distance of the nearest chicken shed to the service station site boundary is approximately 110m.
A roundabout is being currently constructed at the Parwan-Exford Road intersection, with council confirming it is part of the Geelong-Bacchus Marsh Road safety improvement project, being undertaken by the State Government and has nothing to do with the service station.