A new service station been proposed for the Pacific Highway near Rose Avenue. Picture: iStock
A new service station been proposed for the Pacific Highway near Rose Avenue. Picture: iStock

Council, developer at odds over $1.5m servo plan

Coffs Harbour City Council has been at odds with the developer of a proposed $1.5m service station on the Pacific Highway.

The 24-hour Mobil service station is earmarked for 178-280 Pacific Hwy, opposite the Rose Avenue Veterinary Hospital.

The plans lodged in May last year by Central Coast development firm RCI Group proved controversial with some Advocate readers due to its proximity to a number of existing service stations.

It would be the 6th service station in the vicinity, joining the likes of Bailey Centre Liberty, Shell, United Petroleum, BP and Caltex.

 

The site of the proposed service station.
The site of the proposed service station.

 

Some also questioned why another station was needed when the bypass will eventually divert traffic out of the city.

"How many does one town need? Because the others are too far, a minute or two down the highway," reader Bel Wait said.

Public submissions closed in September, and the council have since conducted a preliminary review advising the developer that it was not satisfied the development was permissible in the B6 zone, nor compatible with surrounding land uses.

The council listed a number of reasons it was not satisfied, including traffic and noise related issues, but it was particularly concerned the retail aspect of the plans would potentially detract activity from the CBD.

In a bid to revitalise the CBD, council has been encouraging development that activates the city centre as part of its 2031 masterplan.

Council suggested the proposal appeared to be a highway service centre rather than service station.

 

 

Elevation drawing of the proposed service centre on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour.
Elevation drawing of the proposed service centre on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour.

 

Acting on behalf of RCI Group, Wilson Planning refuted council's comments stating it would be contradictory for council to refuse the development when it had approved others in the vicinity.

It said the convenience store would not compete with the retail uses such as grocery stores available in the CBD and Park Beach Plaza.

In a letter, Wilson Planning's Senior Town Planner Dean Wooding said they had not been as heavily scrutinised by other councils in relation to the service station DAs they had lodged in the last three years.

"We have never been questioned in every one of the many services stations we have had previously approved across NSW and QLD," he said.

Other concerns raised in council's preliminary review include it being out of character, particularly as it would have a direct "interface" with nearby residences.

Wilson Planning however argued that the area has no clearly defined character, but is a "varied range of older and new buildings with different heights, scales, bulks and purposes."

They also questioned why council approved the Shell service station located about 400m north along the highway in 2014.

A determination is yet to be made on the plans, which would involve the demolition of two single-storey fibro buildings on the site.