At VCAT everyone was given a fair hearing and we need to accept the decision of that independent body.Cr Mike Neoh
Warrnambool City Council is expected to face a hefty legal bill for The Lookout planning permit hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Councillors deferred making a decision on a planning permit for the residential rehabilitation centre in December last year.
That decision resulted in the proponents, Western Region Alcohol and Other Drug Centre, taking the decision straight to VCAT to rule on the planning application.
The expected cost to ratepayers for legal bills for the six day hearing is at least tens of thousands of dollars.
VCAT asked the council to state its position on the facility in April.
An officer's recommendation before the permit was deferred in December was to approve the planning permit.
At the April council meeting Cr Mike Neoh put forward a motion that the Atkinsons Lane site was inappropriate, did not provide an orderly planning outcome and would result in adverse social and amenity impacts.
The motion was supported 4-2, with Crs Peter Hulin, David Owen and Tony Herbert in favour and Crs Kylie Gaston and Rob Anderson against.
Cr Sue Cassidy declared a conflict of interest as she is on The Lookout steering committee.
Cr Neoh said it wasn't about the cost, it was about listening to what the community wanted.
"With the planning application its about the principal of planning," he said.
"At VCAT everyone was given a fair hearing and we need to accept the decision of that independent body."
Dennington Community Association president John Harris said the news The Lookout had been approved was disappointing.
However, he said VCAT had included a number of conditions in its ruling, which may allay some of the fears of objectors.
"The community association will work with WRAD and the council to make sure the recommendations are adhered to," Mr Harris said.
He said community members were not opposed to the facility, but had reservations about whether it was the best location.
Fellow association member David Kelson said he feared some of the neighbouring residents would consider moving.
Geoff Soma said the next step for WRAD was to have discussions with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Warrnambool City Council was contacted for comment but did not respond.