LAKE Macquarie councillors gave the green light last night to a medium-density development at Marks Point, overruling council staff who had recommended refusal because of sea level rise concerns.
Councillors made the decision, despite staff concerns that the buildings may become unliveable.
The plan includes increasing dwellings on the Marks Point Road site from three to 22.
The developer proposed to raise the floor level to 2.36metres above sea level, but council staff insisted the floor level should be 2.85 metres above sea level.
Cr Barry Johnston said the plan should be allowed because the dwellings could be raised further in future to adapt to sea level rise.
Cr Johnston said the dwellings would be built ‘‘as relocatable dwellings that could be taken away on a semitrailer if required’’.
A council staff report said the site was ‘‘in a flood hazard area that will be subject to increased flooding from sea level rise’’.
The report said planned dwellings ‘‘may become uninhabitable during their normal life-cycle, requiring residents to relocate’’. It said sea level rise may cause ‘‘the loss of the properties’’.
‘‘There is also a safety risk to future occupants,’’ it said.
The report said the plan was not in the public interest.
The Newcastle Herald reported last Saturday that a new flood study led the council to plan to reduce the number of properties with controversial sea level rise notations from 10,000 to 4450.
Cr Johnston said yesterday the change was not a backdown but a reassessment.
The council placed the controversial notations on section 149 property certificates in 2009 as part of its sea level rise policy, but it faces legal and political challenges over concerns the policy reduces property values and restricts development.