DROUIN // BAW BAW Shire staff have reported back to councillors on why public notice of the application to build a McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Drouin was unable to occur.
Above: The Drouin McDonald's building is quickly taking shape.
First published in the 11 December 2015 print edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. All dates relative to then.
Construction of the new fast food venue came as a surprise to many in the community, some of whom objected to the business setting up in the town while others celebrated.
Councillors called for a report into the process to be made at a meeting last month. That report was accepted by councillors on Wednesday.
The report confirmed remediation works at the site had taken place and said both planning permits covering the site were exempt from public notice requirements.
A permit for “works associated with environmental site remediation” was granted by the council on 19 February and, according to the council, “a Remedial Action Plan was endorsed under [the permit] and no information was required to be submitted to council for further approval.”
A permit for land development “with a convenience restaurant and waiver of shower facilities” was approved on 21 July with a condition the site remediation works be completed before construction commenced.
“The application was exempt from the notice requirements and review rights of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and was therefore not able to be advertised,” the council officer said.
“The application was listed in the Baw Baw Shire online planning application register, which provides a list of all current and recently determined planning permit applications.
Concerns raised by community members that the restaurant will see an increase in litter around the site, which borders the skate park and Civic Park, were also addressed in the report.
“Conditions on the planning permit and the endorsement of a Waste Management Plan the [planning permit] will ensure that the potential for negative community impacts such as littering are reduced.”
The council expects 16 jobs will be created during the construction of the development, and McDonald’s has claimed 100 full and part time positions will be created once the restaurant opens its doors.
Speaking on the report on Wednesday, Drouin ward councillor Terry Williamson noted how quickly the planning permit was approved.
“Most of us go through quite a drama with planning permits and [here] we see a big company get it in record time,” he said.
“But when you analyse it, it ticked every box you could think of. It’s a very big block, it satisfied parking requirements, it would’ve satisfied health requirements.
“Whether you think we did the wrong thing or not, I don’t think we did because we would’ve lost [an appeal] anyway.”
Councillors never had a say on the planning approval, as is the case for most developments with no formal objections.
“Once beautificaiton works are carried out I think it will add to Drouin’s commercial district,” Cr Williamson added.
“I wish every planning permit was [issued] that quick.”
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