IN A bizarre war over words, the Supreme Court has voted for plain speech in the case of a North Warrandyte couple, who complained about a proposed home that involved felling 800 trees, going up next door to them.
The court ruled Kim Cope’s intent in his email to Nillumbik Council outlining his fears that the proposed development would become an “eyesore,” amounted to a written objection — which could be heard by VCAT.
The battle of words started when Mr Cope wrote to the council about his concerns last November over the proposed three-bedroom house next door to his Menzies Rd property.
Council greenlighted the project back in March, despite receiving Mr Cope’s email and the officers’ report recommending it be knocked back.
But when VCAT had a directions hearing and decided to hear Mr Cope’s appeal in January, the applicant Phillip Mannerheim took the matter to the Supreme Court, claiming Mr Cope’s submission was not an objection at all.
Mr Mannerheim insisted the wording of the email didn’t contain an explicit objection to his plans.
Mr Cope’s wife Robyn Dahl said she they were rapt.
“I thought it was good that a decision went in favour of the little person,” she said.
The VCAT appeal will be held in January.
Warrandyte Community Association and Environmental Justice Australia took Mr Cope’s side in arguing his letter should be read as an objection to the proposal.
Warrandyte Community Association spokesman Jonathan Upson said the court’s decision confirmed everyday people could object to inappropriate developments without their objections “needing to pass specific legalistic hurdles.”.
He looks forward to arguing that chopping 740 trees ot build one house on a ridge line so it could have nice views contradicted the Nillumbik and State Government planning schemes and requirements.”
By Andrew Rogers
Published by the Manningham Leader and Herald Sun on 10 November 2017