Council fee row sees $30M Bay development plan scrapped

THE futuristic lifestyle resort development was to include computerised veggie gardens in each home, a modern layout as well as restaurants and cafes.

Doing his own sums and discovering a different figure, Mr Chen asked the council to explain how it calculated development fees.

He argues his development should be code assessable rather than impact assessable, lowering his applications costs.

"We are very concerned that it has taken council's planning assessment team three months to handle this fee issue," he said.

"We will review the matter again after consultation with the landowner and maybe with the new team of councillors.

"We are still keen to do the Lifestyle Village Resort development - but we will need some reassurance from council that the processing time can be made be a bit faster than what we have experienced in the last three months."

Developers are required to pay a fee when lodging an application before the council begins assessment.

The base fee for Mr Chen's development was about $109,000.

Fraser Coast Regional Council chief executive officer Lisa Desmond said the council applied a 40% discount for Mr Chen, bringing the cost of lodging the whole application down to about $65,000.

She said Mr Chen was provided with the "full fee calculation for his development".

"This type of incentive is consistent with what is provided to other developers in similar circumstances," she said.

"All developers are required to pay a development assessment fee and this developer was offered generous reductions in fees to facilitate investment."

Mr Chen said his development would have also provided $2 million in infrastructure upgrades.

"There is no need to be so hostile towards developers."

Ms Desmond disagreed.

"I refute that council is hostile towards developers," she said.

"As a council we have a responsibility not only to encourage investment and development but to also to ensure that undue burden is not placed on ratepayers for the costs of development."

UDIA Fraser Coast chairman Glen Winney said this situation could set a precedent for all future application fees.

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