APPLYING for a planning permit from the Alpine Shire has left owners of a Bright Motel seriously questioning the council's planning department's methods.
Bright Colonial Inn Motel proprietors, Barry and Glenice Brown, first applied for a planning permit for a four lot subdivision in June, 2010, and it took council almost a year to issue the permit.
According to the couple, during the permit process, an objection was placed to council's planning department regarding the Browns' planning permit proposal.
When the Browns were finally issued with the planning permit on June 9, 2011, a condition stipulated the couple had to erect a 1.8 metre high colorbond fence at no cost to the neighbor, which left them in disbelief.
"We told council's planning department before the planning permit was issued with condition three, we were more than happy to pay half of whatever sort of fence our neighbors wanted, but they still issued an illegal condition," Mr Brown said.
The Browns requested the condition be removed from their planning permit, and were issued with a letter from then-senior town planner Francois Theron, which stated the Browns were required to pay to have this done.
"How does us paying $502 to remove the condition from the permit solve the objector's problem? Having it there in the first place was meant to keep the objector happy; it seems to be all about monetary gain for the shire," Mr Brown said.
The Browns took the matter to the Victorian Civil Administrations Tribunal (VCAT) and due to an Alpine Shire representative not attending the VCAT hearing in November 2011, the case was adjourned until March 7, 2012.
At this time, VCAT ordered council to remove the condition from the permit.
"Because the Alpine Shire refused to correct their mistake, it has taken me almost two years to get this planning permit," Mr Brown said.
"Someone needs to be accountable for the mistakes that were made - this whole process cost us a lot of money.
"We are still waiting for the boundary fence to be erected, I have given three fencing notices to the neighbors and still no fence; our neighbors can't have wanted a fence that much."
Alpine Shire chief executive officer (CEO), Dave Barry, met with the Browns in an attempt to find some sort of resolution.
"After starting as CEO on November 11, I became aware of the developers' concerns and met with them on November 22," Mr Barry said.
To see the full story, see printed edition of this paper (subscribe today)