A MOOROODUC land owner living in green wedge zoning is calling for stronger enforcement of protections following the allegedly illegal development of a neighbouring property.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council acknowledged it is looking into the alleged non-compliance of use and development of the land at a property in Males Road, but was unable to comment because the investigation is underway.
Moorooduc resident Susan Bell accused the council of being a “toothless tiger” after being told by the council it was “working with” the neighbouring land owner and it could take 12 months to resolve.
Bell said she believed the land owner, who purchased a green wedge zoned, one-acre block in 2017, had built or redeveloped sheds on the property without the required permission. On Sunday (15 October) he allegedly started using a spray booth in a shed on the block, venting paint fumes and potentially fine particles over her land and a natural spring less than 100 metres away.
“It started on Sunday and released a horrible pungent, chemical smell – we believe the spray is contaminating the spring and the soil on our property,” she said.
“We are on 10 acres that was set aside for conservation in 1962 and we want to continue to protect it and encourage wildlife, we have a lot of native vegetation and grass woodlands – all that could be under threat,” she said.
Bell said she believed the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council was considering granting a retrospective permit to the land owner, which she said would make a joke of green wedge protections.
“We purchased here because of the stringent regulations…but it now seems the system allows for a [potential] VCAT decision to override historical decisions,” she said.
“This is green wedge; I thought the council was supposed to protect it.”
Green Wedges Coalition coordinator Rosemary West OAM said the issue of inappropriate development on green wedge land was a huge problem across all councils, which don’t have the resources to go up against the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
“This is happening everywhere because of the costs of opposing it and fighting for councils, when VCAT often approves it anyway,” she said.
West said the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council had the ability to step in and halt any further development of the subject land and any allegedly illegal activity until the approval matter was finalised.
“But it doesn’t sound like this type of activity is compatible with green wedge regulations anyway,” she said.