The Catholic Church has “spared no expense” in a residential subdivision on Taralga Road, which won deferred approval at the council’s meeting on Tuesday.
But the 112-lot project surrounding Saint Joseph’s House of Prayer faced a major challenge, its consultant Justin Kell said.
Proposed new council infrastructure charges could add almost $10,000 to the cost of developing a block, equating to $1.2 million for the total subdivision.
“These contributions have come out of the blue and they will have a significant impact on the financial feasibility of this project,” Mr Kell said.
The Landteam director was referring to proposed charges in the council’s ‘Development Servicing Plan for Water Supply, Sewerage and Stormwater.’ It plans to substantially increase charges for services in Goulburn, Marys Mount and Marulan. The document is on public exhibition until August 24.
Mr Kell asked for a “transitional clause” whereby development applications already lodged, such as the church’s, were not affected by the change.
“The pricing of the lots is very reasonable. The Catholic Church is not in this to make a massive profit but to contribute to the community,” he told councillors.
Council general manager Warwick Bennett said the new fees would likely be adopted in October/November but suggested the developer could apply for councillors’ consideration when they lodged their Section 305 (infrastructure) certificate.
Mr Kell was buoyed by this but said it was “untested waters.”
“Others are in the same boat..It is stretching the truth to say this subdivision won’t be viable (but)...it could impact on the roll-out of lots,” he told The Post.
“The church is certainly looking to market them at very reasonable prices but if they’re up for another $10,000 per lot, they would have to reflect that. Ultimately it comes back on the consumer.”
The subdivision, to be known as ‘Joseph’s Gate,’ comes after years of planning. Mr Kell described it as “the most considered and detailed” proposal in which he had been involved.
“It’s an old area of Goulburn (that) will be revitalised,” he said.
Consultant town planner Tony Carey revamped a council-approved 2008 subdivision plan for the site.
The land is separately owned to the House of Prayer.
Mr Kell said the building owners, Maggie and Patterson, were a “fantastic asset” to Goulburn who had the financial resources to restore the structure to its “former glory.”
The six-stage project involves a voluntary planning agreement with the council. Under this, the church will undertake $500,000 to $1 million in work to offset developer charges. They include the dedication of a riverside and northern reserve to the council, its maintenance over two years, construction of a long pathway through them to the old Kenmore Boathouse, an elevated path and a culvert crossing. A community playground, valued at $70,000, bench seating and directional signage are also part of the agreement.
The idea is to open the area up to the community and connect to the Wollondilly Walking Trail. Mr Bennett has lauded it as a “superb community outcome.”
Mr Kell is also pleased with the result but remains concerned about any further infrastructure costs.
The church hopes to start construction on stage one, comprising 31 lots, this year, with their roll-out in 2018. The blocks range from 700 to 900 square metres, with two residue lots set aside for future development.
A new access from Taralga Road has also been created and dead pine trees felled from the original driveway entry .
The Archdiocese has gifted the Pattersons 1600sqm surrounding the 1907 House of Prayer as a 50-metre front curtilage to conserve its heritage. However one of the prayer halls on site will be demolished.
Mr Patterson said he and his wife were excited by the development.
“They have a vision for a community that is built around us and it very much resonates with our vision for what we do here,” he said.
“We see this as a connection and gathering place. We’ll have neighbourhood dinners for people in the subdivision and create a hub for events.”
Since purchasing the former girls’ orphanage, the Pattersons have gradually restored the EC Manfred designed building. They have also hosted events aimed at raising awareness of social issues as well as reunions for former orphanage residents.