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Decision on Eumundi supermarket application pushed back until at least March

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A hinterland’s town wait for a much-anticipated supermarket is set to continue, with the legal process around deciding on two separate development applications continuing to unfold.

One application is for the 1.95-hectare former butter factory site in the northern part of Eumundi by JLJL Pty Ltd, to be known as Our Village Eumundi.

A development application for a 1521sqm supermarket and four specialty retail stores was submitted in October, after the Our Village Eumundi development was given preliminary approval in 2019.

The second application, by Altum Constructions for the planned Eumundi Village, was submitted in February 2022.

It would consist of a 1200sqm supermarket, specialty stores and car parks on a 9915sqm site in the southern part of the town. The site also includes an already-approved service station development.

An appeal was lodged by Altum-affiliated Eumundi Holdings with the Planning and Environment Court in August against Sunshine Coast Council’s “deemed refusal” for a development permit, and the matter was debated in a confidential session of council in October.

“On November 16 last year, Sunshine Coast Council communicated its support for the approval of the development application, which marked a crucial milestone in the ongoing proceedings,” Eumundi Holdings development director Alex Rigby said.

Alex Rigby.

He said that, pursuant to court orders issued on September 29 and December 8, all involved parties, excluding Eumundi Holdings, were mandated to declare their stance on the approval of the development application.

“However, the landscape shifted on December 15, as both Stockwell and Lewis Formosa formally declared their opposition to the approval of the development application,” Mr Rigby said.

Lewis Formosa is part of the group behind Our Village Eumundi, while Stockwell is the developer of Noosa Civic. They are both elected co-respondents to the Planning and Environment Court matter.

The appeal was reviewed on Friday, February 2, and is now set down for another review on Friday, March 8.

“In light of Stockwell and Formosa’s resistance to the application, the matter is set to proceed to a contested hearing, with the court tasked to adjudicate and decide the dispute,” Mr Rigby said.

A court document filed by Eumundi Holdings in December outlines its reasons why its application should be approved.

It states “the proposed development will maintain the predominantly rural town character of Eumundi” and acknowledges that some aspects of the application “does not comply with some of the relevant assessment benchmarks”.

However, it states “non-compliance does not sound in any material town planning consequences given there is an overwhelming need for the development; the proposed development will measurably increase choice, convenience, and competition in the locality … (and) will not adversely impact upon the activity centre network identified in the planning scheme”.

In January, lawyers for Sunshine Coast Council also submitted a document detailing why it supported approval of the Eumundi Holdings application.

It states that, despite the acknowledged non-compliances with planning codes, “there is a sufficient level of economic, community and planning need” for the supermarket and it would address the “current lack of a supermarket in Eumundi, such current absence being at a cost to the local community in terms of accessibility, choice and convenience”.

An artist impression, by Jared Poole Design, of the proposed Our Village Eumundi development, in the northern part of the town.

A court document filed in December on behalf of Mr Formosa states reasons supporting refusal of the Eumundi Holdings application.

“Urban development in the local plan area is limited to land within the urban growth management boundary so as to protect and reinforce the character and identity of Eumundi. The proposed development is inconsistent with this provision,” it states.

Related story: One town, two proposals: supermarket plans lodged

“The proposed development does not enhance the visual appeal, rural village character or sense of arrival into the town.”

Stockwell’s court submission in December stated the Eumundi Village application created adverse impacts to existing, approved and planned shopping centres, including Noosa Civic, by “undermining reasonable planning expectations and confidence in the planning scheme” and created “financial impacts by way of reduced patronage”.

Mr Rigby said the Eumundi Holdings application had received “tremendous support” from the community.

“During the public notification period which was undertaken as part of the development application, 160 submissions were received, with over 150 supportive of our application,” he said.

Related story: ‘Excitement’ builds over hinterland supermarket

“We remain committed to working within the legal framework and engaging in a fair and transparent process and in keeping with our commitment to open communication. We will provide updates on the development as the situation evolves.”

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson said the timeframe for any approval of a supermarket in Eumundi was unclear.

“This application is currently in appeal. As per standard business practice, council is unable to provide comment at this stage,” they said.

“With regard to timeframes and processes relating to development applications, council needs to ensure that the legislative steps under the Planning Act 2016 are carried out.

“Each application is assessed based on its individual merits taking into consideration the applicable assessment provisions of the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014, site context and community feedback. On this basis, timeframes and processes can vary.”

Sunshine Coast News attempted to contact a spokesperson for JLJL Pty Ltd and Mr Formosa but did not receive a response. Stockwell declined to comment.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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