Developer furious with the council

Unhappy: Ramy Youssef is not happy with Campbelltown Council. Picture: Simon bennett
Unhappy: Ramy Youssef is not happy with Campbelltown Council. Picture: Simon bennett

A local developer has hit out at Campbelltown Council for wasting ratepayer’s money and refusing a development that “ticked all the boxes”.

In August 2015, the majority of Campbelltown councillors voted to reject Ramy Youssef’s nine-dwelling proposal in Lyndia Street, Ingleburn. Mr Youseff appealed the decision in the Land and Environment Court. Following amendments, the application was eventually approved by the court.

The council confirmed the total court costs incurred was about $70,000 – minus $8000 in costs that were recovered from Mr Youssef due to changes to the application during the court process.

“It all came out of taxpayers pockets,” Mr Youssef said.

The application fell under the state-government’s State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 policy.

Several councillors had repeatedly expressed their concerns with the SEPP given it overrode council’s own planning policies

At the August 2015 council meeting, mayor at the time Cr Paul Lake, said the development “ticked all the boxes” in relation to the SEPP but council didn’t believe it was appropriate for the area.

The majority of councillors said the development would have a “significant adverse impact on the amenity and quality of life” of neighbours.

Council received 58 submissions from occupants of nearby properties and a 102-signature petition against the proposal.

Mr Youssef said the development exceeded minimum SEPP requirements – including parking spaces and the percentage of allocated affordable housing dwellings.

He was disappointed councillors didn’t raise their concerns before the meeting.

“I sat down with the planning department and if the councillors had any issues, they could have gone back to the planners,” he said.

“This type of development was permissible … it ticked all the boxes.”

He said other developers were also frustrated with the council.

“I’m not the only one. I know a lot of developers having the same problems. The council is dragging its feet and not giving answers – it’s not right,” he said.