Development sparks fury in Alexandria’s Golden Triangle

Residents of Renwick Street were alarmed by the potential eclipse of their homes, arguing that the shadow diagrams underlying the consent were “grossly inaccurate”.

Neighbors’ fears subsided at the end of 2016 when nothing had materialized. Development approvals expire after five years, unless work is physically started.

Residents were therefore astonished when Mr Boyce issued a building certificate in 2017 authorizing the start of work, which indicated the date of approval of the development as the previous year – instead of 2011.

When residents complained to council, Boyce blamed a “typo.”

He insisted that the approval had not expired because the tree pruning took place in 2016, providing an invoice for $ 5,500 from the tree pruning company, MA Civil Pty Ltd. , which the board accepted.

Neighbors got the freedom of information bill and were furious to find out that MA Civil Pty Ltd did not exist when it was issued.

They also alerted the council to images from Google Maps showing unchanged tree cover on the site after the tree was supposed to be pruned.

“The alleged criminal activities of a fraudulent business are outside the powers or investigative procedures of the council,” replied a staff member of the council.

Residents said regulators also told them that certifiers like Mr. Boyce were not required to verify whether an invoice submitted by a developer was genuine if, as in this case, it appears to be.

The employee said satellite imagery showed a shrub was removed from the property in 2016 and accepted Mr Boyce’s evidence that a surveyor fixed the site in 2013, which also precluded approval to expire.

“We have no evidence that there was no blocking of the site,” council executive director Monica Barone wrote to residents, although she admitted “problems” with the bill. ‘tree pruning.

A spokeswoman for the City of Sydney reiterated to the Herald he was satisfied that the approval had not expired due to the deletion, but did not answer questions about the potentially false invoice.

A development under construction in Renwick Street, Alexandria. Credit:Oscar Colman

The NSW Ombudsman’s guidelines state that if council receives “false or misleading information, prosecution may be appropriate even if the violation was minor”.

Residents also complained of inconsistencies between the building certificate and the planning permission, including unauthorized bathrooms inserted above garages and increased roof height.

The certificate incorrectly referred to three-storey townhouses instead of two.

A board member acknowledged the inconsistencies and said normal practice would be to report Mr Boyce to regulators, but this was not necessary as he had already been banned.

The staff member noted that the board had “relaxed its approach” to the app during the pandemic (a comment he then recanted and apologized for) and dealt with each non-compliance as per the pandemic. its merits.

Another staff member told residents that building certificates “take precedence” over development permits.

The City of Sydney spokeswoman said the building certificates should not conflict with DA’s plans and said she raised the inconsistencies with the certifier.

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“The plans of the construction certificate have been modified to bring them into line with the approved plans of the DA,” she said.

The spokesperson also noted that “inaccurate” phantom diagrams had been updated and reviewed by council staff, who concluded that the level of shading was acceptable.

The board spokeswoman said the conduct of the certifier fell to the state government regulator, NSW Fair Trading.

Mr Boyce said he was cleared by the regulator.

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“The industry regulator and council have reviewed the approval and found the building certificate to be in order,” he said.

Fair Trading cleared Mr. Boyce in 2019 following a complaint that he issued the construction certificate after the development approval expired.

However, the regulator confirmed that it had not investigated the council’s allegations that the building certificate contained inconsistencies and was “inappropriately issued”.

“NSW Fair Trading has not received any complaints regarding the issues raised by The Sydney Morning Herald“said a spokesperson.

Mr. Boyce is no longer the certifier of the project after Fair Trading revoked his accreditation for unrelated matters.

Ms Knight said residents were not averse to dense living, but wanted town planning rules to be consistently enforced.

“It would appear that there are significant loopholes in this whole process,” she said.

The developer declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

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