A MUSLIM cemetery at Marulan could still be a reality if Sydney Islamic group the Al Mabarrat Society has its way.
The Society submitted a development application to council in 2013 which raised concerns for many Marulan residents. The application was subsequently rejected by Council’s Planning Department.
However, a revised Statement of Environmental Effects (SEE) and development application were resubmitted to Council by the Society last week.
The Statement was drawn up by Sydney planning firm Smyth Planning.
Smyth Planning’s Chief Town Planning Consultant Richard Smyth told the Post that there were some key differences between the updated SEE and the previous statement they submitted in 2013.
“The previous application was carried out on the basis of gaining access to the site from 15213 Hume Highway,” Mr Smyth said.
“That proposal was rejected by the Roads and Maritime Services after a lengthy analysis was carried out.
“The access point has since been revised to an entry at 247 Highland Way, a property containing a dwelling and a shed which the Al Mabarrat Society has purchased. There were also full geotechnical and landscape plans submitted this time around, which were not included in the previous submission.
“Detailed groundwater testing was also carried out by engineering consultants Martens and a landscape plan carried out by Taylor Brammer Landscape Architects.”
GTK Consulting were also commissioned to undertake a traffic and car parking assessment, and found that the maximum traffic would be between 28 and 33 vehicles per hour prior to and after each funeral service.
The proposed development would also contain a car park with 63 marked spaces, including two spaces for disability parking and an area big enough to accommodate three minibuses or one large bus.
There would also be overflow parking for at least 15 cars.
According to the SEE, the cemetery itself will cover an area of 3.45 hectares, with capacity for up to 3500 bodies.
It is estimated that only 10-12 burial plots would be filled per year.
There is also a prayer hall proposed on the site estimated to cover an area of 677 square metres containing two separate prayer halls (one for men and one for women), a meeting room, a room for the washing of bodies prior to burial, restrooms, a reception room, an office, storage room, kitchen, plus separate change rooms and bathrooms.
“The majority of the plots would return to grass with a headstone, an estimated 5 percent of the total burial plot,” it states.
“It is estimated that 60pc of the area (or 2.07 ha) would be used as graves, and 40pc would remain as grassed access lanes.”
The site is zoned as both RU2-Rural Landscape and E3-Environmental Management under the Goulburn Local Environment Plan (LEP) 2009.
Mr Smyth also told the Post that the cemetery itself would not be visible from the highway.
“The proposed development will be located approximately 300 metres from the Hume Highway,” he said.
“Vehicles will be travelling at the normal 110km/h speed on a relatively straight section of the highway, and so drivers will not be able to see the burial ground. There are also no significant impacts on surrounding rural land uses as a result of the proposed development.”