Showdown looms over controversial Port Fairy building proposal

A SHOWDOWN is looming between Port Fairy residents and a Melbourne developer when Moyne Shire meets to decide on a controversial building permit tonight. 

Locals angry at plans to build a home on a floodplain next to the river bridge are expected to pack into the council chambers for the crucial vote, which comes a month after the council voted to delay a decision. 

Moyne Shire has received about 35 public objections after councillors met with a 100-strong crowd at the site earlier in the month. 

Developer John Mugavin insists he is just trying to build a family home.

But the council’s planning officers will tonight urge councillors to deny a permit, arguing it will be “detrimental” to the area. 

“The bulk of the land is part of the Moyne River floodplain ... the dwelling will encroach into the coastal saltmarsh impacting on the significance of this native vegetation,” the report reads. 

The officers are also concerned over heritage implications and say the two-storey house — to be built on pylons to avoid floodwater — doesn’t comply with planning rules. 

The block of land is also listed as a farming zone. 

Mr Mugavin was controversially awarded the land for free under an adverse possession claim last year. 

The move caused anger among residents who use the river frontage as a fishing spot. 

Mr Mugavin has promised to gift the riverfront part of the block if the council approves the home, but will scrap the offer if the matter ends up before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). 

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