A proposal to subdivide a "substantial" sized block in Warrnambool has won the support of councillors despite concerns it would set a precedent.
In spite of officers recommending the two-lot subdivision in Manuka Drive be approved, Cr Richard Ziegeler initially proposed an alternate motion to reject the permit. But that was defeated in a 4-2 vote of council before the plan was approved in a split 4-2 vote.
Cr Ziegeler said the proposal was inconsistent with the established character of the existing neighbourhood, and it failed to meet the preferred outcome of a minimum 2000 square-metre lot size.
He said the application was hanging on the semantics in the plan which stated the development "should" remain the same rather than "must".
"To do this allows a precedent which will change the nature of that particular neighbourhood."
But Cr Ben Blain said approving the permit would not set a precedent because every block owner that wanted to do the same thing would have to go through the same planning process.
"If there are enough objectors, it will come to council again so I wouldn't say this actually creates a precedent," he said.
Cr Blain said there were other blocks around the estate that were less than 2000 square-metres.
"Of all the subdivisions and all the blocks, I think this is probably one of the better ones we've seen. It's a large area," he said.
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He said he didn't believe it would have a "totally detrimental" effect on the neighbourhood because both blocks were behind each other, not side-by-side.
One block will be 1897 square-metres, and the other 1714 square-metres.
"I suppose the question would be, if this council doesn't want to approve this subdivisions with such large blocks, are we really open for business?" Cr Blain said.
"Do we really want to encourage more housing and provide for more individuals in our city or do we want to continue to struggle with our housing issues?"
Cr Angie Paspaliaris said she was not sure she was completely on board with the "open for business" sentiment.
While Cr Paspaliaris acknowledged the existing amenity and neighbourhood character that objectors had "passionately noted", there were 11 properties in the area that were less than 2000 square-metres.
She said the subdivision lots would still be large and low-density. Had it been a side-by-side proposal, the story might have been different, Cr Paspaliaris said.
Cr Max Taylor said the proposal would not devalue houses in Manuka Estate.
Mayor Debbie Arnott said it was quite an emotive argument, but the blocks would still be substantially sized when subdivided.
"With further gardening and tree planting it will be hardly visible from the road," she said.
The proposal attracted seven objections.
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