The owners of a local health hub will take their project to the next stage, with the clearing of protracted planning hurdles.
Goulburn Health Hub at Bradfordville has secured rezoning approval for 12.5 hectares behind their Ross Street premises.
Councillors signed off on the planning proposal and an amended development control plan at their meeting on Tuesday. It allows the site to be rezoned from industrial to B6 enterprise on the Ross Street aspect, general residential behind and a public recreation area at the very rear.
The hub had already secured planning approval for a day surgery next to the existing facility. However the rezoning paves the way for other health-related structures in the B6 area, retirement housing in the residential area, surrounded by surrounding parkland.
"The rezoning process has taken seven years and now that we have a resolution we thank the (state) planning department and the council for their help," company director, Sophie Ashton said.
"We've had a lot of challenges along the way but I think in the end we've reached a solution to progress the project for the people of Goulburn."
The medical facility, approved in 2013, has been running for five years. It employs 50 general practitioners and specialist doctors, 20 allied health professionals and includes pathology, pharmacy, hydrotherapy pool and cafe.
But plans to also develop an aged care facility and hospital hit hurdles after 2017. The Office of Environment and Heritage and the SES raised concerns about these facilities being located near a Probable Maximum Flood (PRF) area.
They argued evacuation of vulnerable residents would be difficult in a six-hour timeframe. However, the developers challenged this, saying the PRF only affected a small section of land that wouldn't be built on and which was a public recreation reserve.
Nevertheless, it prompted a revision of the planning proposal, removing the industrial zoning and inserting the B6 and residential zones and a larger public recreation area. They occupy roughly one-third of the site each.
On Tuesday, councillors also endorsed an amended development control plan for the site. It was aimed at addressing state agency and community concerns raised during its public exhibition.
The document outlines flood, heritage and noise controls. It also calls for landscaping and privacy arrangements if the Goulburn to Crookwell rail trail is developed in future.
Environment and planning director Scott Martin said the DCP provided a broad framework.
"It's something the applicant can work to and we're hopeful it will make the development application process much more efficient and timely," he said.
Ms Ashton told The Post the company would concentrate on the day surgery first. Located next to the medical centre, it would house three theatres, opthalmology, diagnostic scoping, ear, nose and throat surgery and minor orthopaedic procedures. Construction is expected to start later this year for an end of 2022 completion.
She said there were no firm plans for the rest of the B6 zone at this stage but it could house mental health and rehabilitation services. It would have a 13-metre height limit and restrict retail development to preserve the CBD's primacy.
The developer is examining options for the residential zone.
"While aged care is not permitted, we are looking at retirement housing for people who want to live independently and have support," Ms Ashton said.
"It will be quite unique to have so much public recreation space around it. We intend to make it a park-like setting with a pond and walking tracks. Our high-level vision is to have very accessible areas."
Under the planning proposal, the lots will have a minimum 700 square metres. However this phase could be some years off unless a funding partner came forward earlier.
Ms Ashton said as housing progressed and the total development took shape, Brewer Street, which was currently a 'paper road' in part of the site, would be extended through to Ross Street. This would effectively create a second access.
In response to some public submissions, she said this wouldn't disrupt Taralga Road residents.
Planners' report described the revised zoning as the "highest and best" use of the site as it supported a range of residential and commercial uses that would have otherwise been used for industrial purposes next to an established housing area on Taralga Road.
"The developer has been patient in this and it's important to acknowledge that because it goes to show that when you're willing to work to an outcome and be realistic with it, we can get a resolution in the end," Mr Martin said.
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