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Development next to PPOR ... what should I watch out for ?

Discussion in 'Development' started by Drizzt Do'urden, 29th Feb, 2016.

  1. Drizzt Do'urden

    Drizzt Do'urden Member

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    The property next door to my PPOR was bought by an investor whose intent was to develop it at some point, so periodically I would check the council online facility to see if any development applications have been lodged, more out of curiosity than anything else. The other day I found that he has in fact lodged an application.

    Some quick facts :-
    - The block slopes away from the street. From the front of the block to the back is roughly a 1.5 metre drop. Currently, colorbond fence just follows the natural ground level.
    - In the proposed plan the site next door will be filled in to level it off to street level, presumably for storm water run off, as the alternative would mean some sort of pump system.
    - In the proposed plan, in order to fill in the site, there is provision for what looks like a retaining wall of roughly 35 metres in length. The height of the retaining wall increases as it's going along the length of the block. The top of the retaining wall looks like it's meant to be in line with street level.

    I'm a bit concerned about this as I've never had to deal with anything like this before, and just thought I'd ask some of the experienced people here at propertychat if I should be doing anything now rather than waiting until it's too late.

    So, my question(s) to the propertychat community are (in no particular order) :-
    - Should I be worried or concerned about this ?
    - Does my neighbour need to get my approval ?
    - If he does, could I object and insist he doesn't fill in the site ?
    - Is my assumption that he's filling in the site just for stormwater runoff incorrect ? Could there be other valid reasons for filling in the site ?
    - If in fact a retaining wall does need to be built, what about on-going maintenance in the future ?
    - The existing colorbond fence is in fairly good condition. I assume it would have to be knocked down and replaced. Can I insist he puts another colorbond fence in it's place ?

    Anything else I need to consider that I haven't thought of ?

    I've attached a pic of what the development will look like looking at it from my PPOR.
     

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  2. QbiK Evolution

    QbiK Evolution Well-Known Member

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    You can definitely oppose this, for you it means you would have a fence of 3.3m on one side of your house.
    It's all personal preference if you think this will impact you or it will not.
    As you have seen on a thread here people object for all sorts of reasons. You at least have a legitimate concern I believe.
     
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  3. albanga

    albanga Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Drizzt Do'urden,

    I'll answer as best as I can from my iPhone here as there is a lot you have asked.

    Should I be worried? All depends really. Where does your PPOR sit on your slope? The things you may experience are loss of light, particularly from such a high retaining wall if your PPOR is near the back of the block. Privacy issues (check the Windows), increased traffic, noise.etc that comes along with additional neigbors.

    Does he need your approval? Not specifically but you will have an opportunity to protest. Soon enough you will see an advertising sign go up on the fence which is your opportunity to give reasons for not wanting to go ahead. Council will take into consideration your reasons but if your a lonely voice don't expect too much to change.

    Reasons for filling? Stormwater would be one, I'm having a hard time seeing how many are being built but council would likely require a pump and pit for each individual unit which is $$$. Also cheaper to build on flat as opposed to slope so again a cost thing.

    Retaining wall maintenance? How much maintenance would a retaining wall need? Do you mean if they build it from timber and it rotted? Either way I personally wouldn't be worried about this.

    Fence - That's fair enough. Council may have a specific fence requirement in the permit though
     
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  4. Drizzt Do'urden

    Drizzt Do'urden Member

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    Thanks for your responses Qbik and albanga.

    My PPOR is at the front of the block. As for the development, it will be 5 townhouses on a block ~1000 m2. I should add that the development itself seems quite nice and other than the retaining wall and having a great big fence I really have no objection. Privacy, noise and the like I can't (and won't) object to. It's a fairly busy street anyway and it's close to commercial zoning so if you wanted really quiet you shouldn't be there in the first place.

    What I am concerned about is this retaining wall looking ugly. It might sound like I'm nitpicking but I shouldn't have to look it and have less shade just because he wants to avoid the costs of having a pump system for the stormwater. I wonder what the cost of having the pumps is vs filling in ?

    I'll have a chat to the neighbour two doors down and see what he thinks ...
     
  5. WestOz

    WestOz Well-Known Member

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    Not wanting to rob the thread but I'm kinda wondering similar myself at the moment, however it's all flat ground.

    Went past IP the other day and the vacant larger block next door (corner) has been cleared up, temp fencing run around it. No application sign, or anything in the mail to myself as the adjoining neighbour/owner.

    Just did a search on the address, can't find anything on councils website, however this came up
    http://www.realestate.com.au/property-apartment-wa-mandurah-121151594

    Not overly worried as it will tidy the area up, should increase val, main thought I suppose is overlooking windows, balconies etc. Is it standard I'd receive no consult?
     
  6. Skilled_Migrant

    Skilled_Migrant Well-Known Member

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    • Concerned-yes. Worried - No
    • No the neighbor does not need your approval. He just needs to follow the council planning guidelines.
    • Yes, you can object. The weight of your objection will depend on the developer's compliance with the council requirements. Some of your objections will be accepted, some rejected. Please be courteous in your correspondence as the objections are publicly available.
    • Ask the council why is he leveling. He could be leveling because of many reasons:
      • It is easier to build on a level surface, rather than a slope.
      • Drainage. Cost wise It does not appear that pumping is cheaper than leveling.
      • To avoid body corporate issues of owning and maintaining the pumps.
      • Maybe local council does not permit the use of pump.
    • The person who alters (lowers or raises) the natural surface level, retains it. So ongoing maintenance of retaining wall is the developers responsibility.
    • No you cannot insist because you are not paying for it. But if you request the council and the developer, they might agree to it as it is not a big issue.
     
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  7. albanga

    albanga Well-Known Member

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    You and the neigbor 2 houses down are going to be most affected and as such it is in the developers best interest to be as courteous as possible towards the two of you.

    If the look of the wall is your biggest concern then perhaps give him/her a call and see exactly what they had in mind, do they have comparables for you to view? If it looks awful would they be willing to plant a large creeper?

    Regarding the fill anyone doing 5 townhouses is in commercial development and as such I would say has a fair idea what they are doing and aware of every cost.
    A 5 pump system @bob shovel would be best guided to instruct but I would imagine 50k+ minimum. Then ofcourse is maintenance of that system as @Skilled_Migrant ppinted out.
    They can then ofcourse build on a slab.
     
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  8. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    There is some reading to catch up on here.

    5pump system unlikely, not 1per house. It would likely be 2 pumps still similar to your setup @albanga it would just need bigger pumps. It would all need to be engineered etc

    Are you looking at the retaining wall in the drawing you provided @Drizzt Do'urden
    I think you should/would be notified as part of the da process should cover impact to neighbours -visual, shadows, height etc

    You may also have some say in the materials used for the retain wall as you'll be looking at it! Within reason of course, perhaps colours
     
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  9. albanga

    albanga Well-Known Member

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    Hey @bob shovel
    When I had an early discussion with council regarding my development they said to me, because the existing dwelling is remaining, they have no authority to change the drainage. Obviously when I build this will become an issue, hence I will hope to have it run into my pit.
    They said if I was developing 2 units then each would require there own separate system, totally independent of the other. They pointed me in the direction of the development a few houses down and said they were required to do 2. So that is where I got needing 1 for each.
     
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  10. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah I guess it depends on the site. It would be more efficient for multiple dwellings to one pit eg 4units x15k vs 1bigger pit and pumps @30k. The strata could take care of the maintenance costs
     
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  11. Drizzt Do'urden

    Drizzt Do'urden Member

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    Thanks for all the opinions everyone. Just curious ... how reliable are these pumps ? Would the developer be avoiding the use of pumps purely on dollar terms or do they have some sort of track record with not working ?

    I imagine filling in the site wouldn't be cheap either. I wonder what the cost difference would be ...
     
  12. Skilled_Migrant

    Skilled_Migrant Well-Known Member

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    The pumps are very reliable:
    • As they have to be certified to Australian standards.
    • The plumber will not issue the certificate of completion unless the pumps are certified.
    • The usage of the pumps is dependent on the rain hence intermittent.
    • If the pump fails the residents will bear the immediate consequences as the slope of the pits will ensure that the area around the pits gets flooded first. The residents will push the body corporate to repair or replace the pumps,
    But having said that gravity is more reliable :).
     
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  13. albanga

    albanga Well-Known Member

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    I would say it would be considerably cheaper to retain and fill than pumps and building on something like brick piers.
     
  14. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    If the neighbours are excavating for retaining walls - I would watch out for this. Note that the adjoining excavation is not deep but is below the footings of the adjoining building and through its sphere of influence changing the way that the loading of the building passes to the ground.

    How do you mitigate this? Have someone review the builder's insurance (public liablity, CAR - not motor vehicle). Have you noted as an interested party, get the plans reviewed by an independent engineer (at your cost).