Did you know (you probably are aware as the amount of people I have discussed this with who have been screwed by local council is unbelievable) that a garage is classed as an ‘uninhabitable building’. This means that as long as you can justify the proximity of it to your neighbour’s yard, the size, shape and height of the building without disrupting too much of your neighbour’s life then no one within its perimeter need be notified. Too bad if the truth has been stretched; Private certifiers are sought by home owners as they grant building approvals easily by knowing how to swerve the red tape of councils. I have learnt “no impact on surrounding neighbours' privacy” actually means “watch us eat dinner”.
I discovered this construction after returning home late one evening from a study trip in Melbourne. Upon waking, I opened my bedroom shutters to discover a large slab and the framework for a new building. This had replaced my previous outlook of dry schlerophyll forest descending down to a view of Lake Macquarie. I ferociously followed up with an entourage of emails and phone-calls which surprisingly amused the local council planning department. I stupidly failed to recognise there is no accountability for council.
Did you know council is not accountable for anything? Of course I am being sarcastic here; I mean if you have a spare couple of million, a great lawyer and the drive I am sure it could be different (I am still angry so part of me wants to really MAKE THEM CRY!). But the truth is the governing bodies who are in situ to regulate these decisions have minimal ability to overrule them once building has commenced. In fact there is more concern for the threat of being sued by the development applicant than the neighbor who loses their privacy. I simply do not matter!
And this is what really bugs me because “I do matter”. I pay my council rates and, as a result, I expect council planning departments as part of their decision making to be better than lazy black and white thinking; I expect them to be able to reason. An application might satisfy policy requirements but that doesn’t mean, upon inspection, it is ok for surveyors to settle for mediocrity. Settling for mediocrity is a sign of not caring. Imagine the impact if I as a health professional did not care for you? I would be de registered. Where is the justice?